Potent Selections from Vacation Reading

“I wondered what indeed it meant about me that I was so set against the notion of convention that I should attack it.  So, I replaced the dream with the novel, stripping the stories of my dreams of any real meaning, but causing the form of them to mean everything.”

“…the gap between the subject of enunciation and the subject of enunciating not only failed to appear to me as a place of entry, but also failed to register as something I might elide.  For me, there was no gap, as there is no gap for anyone.”

P Everett 1

“…generally, people are only inclined to speak of the past with those they believe will somehow not only share some commonality, but who will also be disposed to exhibiting sympathy.”

“Is a photograph always present tense?  I described them so…better, let the question be, is what is in the photograph always in the present, without a before, without an after?  Of course, it is.  And isn’t that actually you in the picture?”

ennuyeux

“On Ludwig Boltzman’s tombstone is carved: S=k. LogW.  S is the entropy of a system, k represents Boltzman’s Constant, and W is a measure of the chaos of a system, essentially the extent to which energy is dispersed in the world.  This equation meant little to me as I read of it the first time, but as I considered it I grew excited.  The space between S and W is the space between the living thing in front of me and stuff hidden inside beyond my observation and comprehension.  It raises the question:  How many ways can the parts of a thing be rearranged before I can see a difference?  How many ways can the atoms and molecules of my hand move and recombine before I realize that something is wrong?  Thinking about it scared me.  Certainly, I understood that natural events symbolize collapse into chaos and that events are motivated by dissolution, but the idea of such subversive and invisible change moved me.  I likened it to observing the minds of others.”

P Everett 2

ootheca

“Ezra Pound said, ‘Every word must be charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.’  Let it be the case then.  But words need no help from anyone.  Bet thew ords kneeknow hellip freeum heinywon.  Context, story, time, place – don’t these work like Bekins men, packing the words like so many trunks?  But finally, words are not cases to be packed at all, but solid bricks (and, of course, like a brick, even a word’s atoms are not motionless).”

“We do not give the creature reality enough credit, choosing to see it sitting out there as either a construct of ours or an infinitely regressing cause for the trickery of our senses.  But I claim here that the most important thing I have learned is that reality has a soul, reality is conscious of itself and of us, and further is not impressed by us or our attempts to see it.  In fact, we see it all the time and don’t know it, perhaps can’t.  It is like love in that way.”

-all quotes by Percival Everett

from his novel, Glyph

Glyph - Everett

Significant?

Toying with significance, practicing writing by hand.

                 Cause of which:  online graduate school (hybrid) perhaps.  Blackboard (not a blackboard + a hand moving chalk), wikis, MS Word, blogosphere…

                  Writing is a different word than typing (“keyboarding,” “texting,” “thumbing,” “fingering?”)

                  Handwriting – is there another?

Writings is different from typing.

not only pacing.

Significance - Handwriting

Significance

“People exist

to attach importance”

(Rae Armantrout)

Exercise.

Once I had the most beautiful pen-man-ship.  Admired, envied, revered.

My hand now working by jolts and shirts (“stammering”)

Wife says I jerk in the night, in my sleep.  As if the wires were hot and crossed.  “Traumatic,” she says.

Like my father.

Who has elegant penmanship – consistent, beautiful, and flowing.

What I aspired to.

And achieved.

Now interruptive.  Herky.  Stuttering.  Multi-controlled.  Cross-wired.

Muscles, nerves, vision, brain + its fabricating memory and prediction: out of sync.

     I exercise a few moments in which I don’t feel particularly pressured and am thinking about significance.

“I listened with great interest and desire to have it be of no significance.

But you know how it goes.  Significance abounded.”

(Percival Everett)

Now my thoughts arrive sturdier through a machine.  Body – extension – return.  The pen was extension.  The ink.  Dependent on the body.  Embodied, enminded.  Transductive.

“‘transductive’ (a relationship whose elements are constituted such that one cannot exist without the other – where the elements are co-constituents)”

(Gilbert Simondon)

Tools.  Media.

Humanity — technology.

Me : keyboard : thought : language.

Me : pen/paper : thought : language.

Transductive.  Co-constituent.  Interdependent.

Significant?

Dreaming of – imagining – my recovered penmanship.

Therefore, exercise.

Communication.

Transductive.

“It’s incredible that a sentence is ever understood.  Mere sounds strung together by some agent attempting to mean some thing, but the meaning need not and does not confine itself to that intention.  Those sounds, strung as they are in their peculiar and particular order, never change, but do nothing but change.  Even if grammatical recognitions are crude, meaning is present.  Even if the words are utterly confusing, there is meaning.  Even if the semantic relationships are only general or categorical.  Even if the language is unknown.  Meaning is internal, external, orbital, but still there is no such thing as propositional content.  Language never really effaces its own presence, but creates the illusion that it does in cases where meaning presumes a first priority.”

(Percival Everett)

“A metaphor cannot be paraphrased”

 

Borrowed Mask 1.

The only rule,

the only law

of genius, of imagination, of abandonment, of truth,

is change.

.

Not reworking, but change.

.

What is this borrowed mask?

The same old song once more?

Will Apollinaire defend us

this time?

As he did Renoir,

                       his Arcadia, his nudes.

Who will bring back

the soul of art?

Who will bring it back

from the Underworld?

                      Picasso having played

                      Orpheus this go round.

2.

Never rework,

the influence being imaginary

at best, but isn’t that

enough?

.

Always new again,

though there is no new

                    matter.

No new paint.

Only rearrangement.

No change.

Nothing to be changed.

No looking back.

No back upon which

                               to look.

-Percival Everett-

Accompanying me home

“For my father, the road had to wind uphill both ways and be as difficult as possible.  Sadly, this was the sensibility he instilled in me when I set myself to the task of writing fiction.  It wasn’t until I brought him a story that was purposely confusing and obfuscating that he seemed at all impressed and pleased.  He said, smiling, “You made me work, son.”  He once said to me in a museum, when I complained about an illegible signature on a painting, “You don’t sign it because you want people to know you painted it, but because you love it.”  He was all wrong of course, but the sentiment was so beautiful that I wish to believe it now.  What he might have been trying to say, I suppose, thought he never would have even thought about it in these terms, was that art finds its form and that it is never a mere manifestation of life.”

-Percival Everett-

compliments of:

The Heart and its Branches

“I do not want to know about the human heart.  I do not desire to speak at all about those indwelling, intimate reaches of the heart in which anguish is an undiminishing personal interrogation, much less to analytically enfetter those reaches.

I have the sense, the good sense, the decency, to have nothing to say.”

“Sick of all the you be’s?  Well, what do you say, you be you and I’ll be me?  What do you say?  We can fall asleep in a room full of the snoring dead.  We can sleep while an old woman twangs away on a bad piano while rain keeps time in the empty street.  We can listen to and count the closings of a child’s fist as he tries to catch a fruit fly.  We can listen to the whistling of the bombs.  We can listen to each other.

I do not want to know about the human heart.”

“I am not a man of science.  I am not proficient in any branch of nature study.  I do not know the difference between an amphibian and a reptile.  I have no yearning for hard knowledge about the hard world.  And yet I have no affinity for anything spiritual.  In fact, I have a pronounced, conspicuous, and striking absence of an affinity for anything spiritual.

I know but one hard thing about the hard world and it is this:  from the sum of all theories, as arranged in accordance with ascertained facts, we make a few assumptions, that we have actually ascertained facts, that we are actually here to ascertain them, and that there is actually a here.”

-Percival Everett-

Dialogue

“You and I exchange lines of dialogue.  Each line is a trap, a misuse, and each misuse is justified by some standard upon which we  have previously agreed, if tacitly.  Thereby appears the nature of meaning.  It is a force that hazards to subjugate other forces, other meanings, other languages.  We understand this all too well and yet, and yet – well, it is like the infirmity, the defect at the base of a dam.  It will hold and it will hold and then it will give up, the dam will give up.  As do we all…

“Believe what you like.  Or, better, believe what you believe; it’s always easier, if you ask me.  You would have me imagine that in some cases language really is just a simple transmission of rather functional, if not banal, messages between speakers.  Not only is that not true, but it is necessarily untrue, even in the most functional of exchanges, say between two firemen or a pilot and her navigator or a surgeon and his operating-room nurse and here between you and me as you attend to me, where I use she and where I use he and even why I might have put she before he, or did not phrase the question as he following she.”

-Percival Everett-

A Complexity of Signs

“I had another friend who was so certain that the only way he could identify himself was through language and further by losing himself as object within language that he lost his mind, possibly within language as well, but I never knew what the hell he was talking about.”

– Percival Everett by Virgil Russell-

and highly recommended