Processing Change

‘How could human behavior be described? Surely only by sketching the actions of a variety of humans, as they are all mixed up together. What determines our judgment, our concepts and reactions, is not what one man is doing now, an individual action, but the whole hurly-burly of human actions, the background against which we see any action’

– Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel

“CERTAIN NOVELS NOT ONLY cry out for critical interpretations but actually try to direct them . This is probably analogous to a piece of music that both demands and defines the listener’s movements , say like a waltz. Frequently, too, those novels that direct their own critical reading concern themselves thematically with what we might consider high brow or intellectual issues — stuff proper to art, engineering, antique lit., philosophy, etc. These novels carve out for themselves an interstice between flat-out fiction and a sort of weird cerebral roman à clef. When they fail, as my own first long thing did, they’re pretty dreadful. But when they succeed, as I claim David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress does , they serve the vital & vanishing function of reminding us of fiction’s limitless possibilities for reach & grasp, for making heads throb heartlike , & for sanctifying the marriages of cerebration & emotion, abstraction & lived life , transcendent truth -seeking & daily schlepping, marriages that in our happy epoch of technical occlusion & entertainment-marketing seem increasing consummatable only in the imagination”

-David Foster Wallace, The Empty Plenum-


more soon….

PRESS ON – Thank You

PRESS ON – Thank You.

For some reason this old post was on my stats page today…I opened it and browsed through and it says things again that I continue to experience:

thank you persistent workers and players of WordPress!

(click on image or title for past post)

Gallery of Linguistic/Semiotic Hero(in)es

How many do you know?  How many do you “love”?

“…We know we can never be anything but parallel

And proximate in our relations, but we are linked up

Anyway in the sun’s equation, the house from which

It steals forth on occasion, pretending, isn’t

It funny, to pass unnoticed, until the deeply shelving

Darker pastures project their own reflection

And are caught in history,


Transfixed, like caves against the sky

Or rotting spars sketched in phosphorous, for what we did.”

-John Ashbery, from The Sun-

Straightforward: Words from the Book of the Living

Curtis White, in response to the question “What do you think is the hardest thing about being a creative in this culture?” (North America, 2012):

Curtis White
from, Architectures of Possibility by Lance Olsen

and to “What’s the best advice you might offer a beginning writer?” (I just ‘slipped’ and typed “writher”!), he replied:

“So my best advice is to read Nietzsche until you understand him and go from there”

thank you Curtis White 🙂

Aspect of Architecture

“A well-crafted sentence overturns the notion that thought is distinct from thinking.  A well-crafted sentence enacts the sense it makes rather than representing it.  The result of writing well-crafted sentences is that your reader will have the most vivid sense that something is happening to him or her and with the irresistible urgency of their own dreams.”

“Dedicate yourselves to reading most energetically that which you don’t immediately understand.  Read with a special attention to the prospect that what doesn’t appear to make sense matters most because of the possibilities of sense-making that are portended in it.”

author Alan Singer

taken from:

New Categories? Paradigms? Readerly Ontology?

Charles S Peirce stuff

“To understand how language works, what pitfalls it conceals, what its possibilities are is to understand a central aspect of the complicated business of living the life of a human being”

S. I. Hayakawa

“Thinking is a truceless act. / How it holds the injured yets and thens inside it, so many layers of barter /

and resist.  You who are all swerve, / Distance and blindfold when I try to find you – “

Laurie Sheck

“The world of art and culture is a vast commons, one that is salted through with zones of utter commerce yet remains splendidly immune to any overall commodification.  The closest resemblance is to the commons of a language: altered by every contributor, expanded by even the most passive user.  That a language is a commons doesn’t mean that the community owns it; rather it belongs between people, possessed by no one, not even by society as a whole”

Jonathan Lethem


Identity & Flipping Numbers like Coins

What exactly is it about the arbitrary changing of numbers, parceling of time, divisions and subdivisions of existent moments, that prompts and wriggles us to consider change – feel obligated or massaged toward it – dream of it?  I can say that in all my dizzying thoughts about it – how society and culture (Petrie-dish like) inundate and stimulate individuated personal alterations – I cannot figure out why crossword-puzzle-like taxonomies and designations of life-fragments labeled by stick-systems of reference, mathematical calculations and so forth stimulate (simulate?) desires, wishes, regrets, metamorphic movements in the human gang…

Be that as it may, today is the first day of the first month of the year containing 0-1-2-3 (my wife comments what a delightful play that  must be for numerologists), and while my beloved is out signing up at the Y and beginning self-care with new devotion, I am denuding my desk, dusting and polishing its surface, taking revised stock of the pounds of books that weight its surface, reorganizing, selecting, making hard choices about what is necessary for me TODAY with some forward thinking.  The numbers have changed.  The game must be different, no?

In the process, I open a drawer I apparently haven’t for a very long time, coming across a miniature moleskine notebook, first entry dated January 2003!  A decade ago, how interesting!  I leaf through…and here are some of the things that capture my attention:

  • a quote from my son Aidan (he would have been 5 at the time) on being unable to remember something:  “it’s in my brain, I just can’t find the right aisle.”
  • and Steinbeck: “its inhabitants, as the man once said, ‘whore, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,’ by which he meant everybody.  Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said ‘saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,’ and he would have meant the same thing.”
  • Cixous: “it is this hunger for flesh and for tears, our appetite for living, that, at the tip of forsaken fingers, makes a pencil grow.”
  • Handke:  “in any case, I experienced moments of extreme speechlessness and needed to formulate them – the motive that has led men to write from time immemorial.”
  • “Books should not flatter our sense of self.  They should investigate it.  I read another person in order to get better at interrogating my own unexamined narrative” – Richard Powers

The last entry reads like this…”We used to always pick models or icons we wanted to be like: have what they had, whole persona and possessions – WHO would I want to be?  … When does it hit you that you only want to be you with some other life?”

Wonder where I was…a kind of number-flipping query…

further to go….2013