9 Notebooks

In an act of rebellion and a kind of self-serving exorcism or slate-clearing (what blog is NOT an attempt at an entity’s expression, communication?), and facing the duress of weeks burdened with commitments and inescapable responsibilities…[in other words]…I intuit I am encountering a “time” (weeks / months / foreseeable futures?) that I deduce as laden – somehow preordained – for preoccupations of employment, previously established obligations – freighted with encumberances complexly negotiated…[under pressure I compose]…and so I search for a project [as is my way] that is FOR ME[?] (something autotrophic, self-cannibalizing and nourishing at once, individually comprised and contained) an insurrection and defiance honoring self [so I surmise] facing compulsion…

…and I unearth these 9 Notebooks…all aborted undertakings from the past 12 months…via which I propose to mount mutiny by posting all that seems potentially warranted in them [upon re-reading as if the first time, long forgotten]…toward little other purpose than for purging, opening, erasing – a clearinghouse of efforts – that might evolve toward some novel substitution, unforeseen modification, development, emergence…

“this is what directs him to learning – where he may encounter fragments of his own existence,

fragments that are still within the context…”

– Walter Benjamin on Franz Kafka – 

9 Notebooks

There will be stories, concepts, poems, characters, reflections, essays…and ephemeral scraps like these…

  • think feel – attune to meaning – reflect and refract
  • befriend your body, take care with your mind
  • be gentle, be open.  move fluidly, breathe
  • go alert to your dreams
  • wish more than hope, walk don’t run, run sometimes
  • be careful of rules, they’re always changing, it’s the nature of the rule, the measure, the standard
  • keep your eyes and ears open, along with heart and mind – only let things close into pleasure and pain – and that more of a wince
  • don’t be afraid of your story – write and rewrite it, edit and revise, revise, revise, and write it again

We Make Art

We Make Art: A Query toward Perceptive Extension

paper snowflakes by Holly & children
paper snowflakes by Holly & children

Waking reminded –

I’ve been working over things in my sleep.  Parenting issues, marriage.  Vocation deadlines, assignments.  Logistics and payments and scheduling.  Improbable care of the self.

– that overwhelm is inevitable, inherent.

Everything we know (or surmise) about anything indicates vast beyonds unknown and ignored.  In order to see, to breathe, to speak, to hear, to feel, to think, to live.  We filter and avoid.  Press the vast majority of the world’s availability into a void.  So of course we can’t manage our world, or comprehend, even minimally control.  We can barely deal with even a relatively microscopic set of variables, and those only enough to survive.

Reminded, awake then, that overwhelm is constant and inevitable.  Inherent to the systems of which we are and are a part.  Living is processing vastness.  Essentially unscalable.  And we thought bacteria were small!

            So it comes as no surprise that at times we feel oppressed, drowned, immersed – helpless, confused and at loss.  Pretend for a moment that we have to-dos that seem important + unforeseen and substantial grief + illness + snow days (which = a house full of ecstatic children, active and noisy and eager to be entertained) + inclement weather shuffling schedules and doctors, activities and possibilities around + limitations of time, energy and internal resources + anxiety or mood ‘disorders’ + love and high hopes + responsibilities and intentions + fears and deep hurts + a body (bodies) mind (minds) to feed and nourish +…

Too Much Information, a saturated context for the human organism.  The black box crashes.  The connections run slow.  The screen jerky and fuzzy.  Head aches, breath thickens or shallows, noise is incommensurate – the signals scramble…

At first breach, first sign of imperturb…we check in, acknowledge – perhaps argue or fight or make love (i.e. signify our overwhelm and our intensity), sit still, register what we can…

and wake up, reminded:


            Once ground is touched, we go in (or out) – “seventh direction perception” – we begin to consciously process/perceive.



The query that sprouted is as follows: might the activity of art-a creative dialogic relation of index-sign-symbol, signifier-signifiant-and interpreter, i.e. “becoming-forth” – expand our perceptive capacities/processing?

In other words, in enacting the relationship of making, creatively, holistically, might we draw on more of the world’s availability – perceived and “dismissed” – a fuller context of experience less limited by intentional activities of categorical aims and constraints, thereby opening more of us to more of it in an open reciprocal dynamic interrelation, thereby sort of processing in “lump sums” – a gulping digestion of overwhelm?

We set aside prescribed roles, beliefs and opinions and work out, work into, an arbitrary generalized conventional (safe) medium…we fog our normalized paradigms and strictures of interpretive alertness – mores, values, expectations and censorship – we reach out gathering in.  Interact.  It seems something larger is carried, is moved – more than the medium, more than ourselves, more of a context, a world.

Does art extend our perceptive capacities?  Our scope of perception – to process, to be?  A kind of open-boundaried passage of experiencing between organism and world?

works in progress by Holly Suzanne
works in progress by Holly Suzanne


A quick response to this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, a quirky, multi-faceted, and wonderfully open collective of writers from all over the globe riffing their words to an image – a weekly task I am thankful for, and company I admire.  So, from the midst of this holiday week in N. America, something:

And Yet

Mom is right.  It is hard to deny that something points a clear direction, unambiguously, and difficult to argue.  But for reasons I’m at pains to reveal or explain, I am uneasy.  Seriously, I couldn’t ask for a more definite sign – but is clarity everything?  I mean, what about signals from below?  Like how I feel?  Or that strange uninterpretable “intuitive” stuff?   Something isn’t right.  As if I were standing at an intersection without a crossroad, a highway with no exits, opened out before me, shining bright.  And yet.  I have misgivings, doubts.  Troubling the obvious. Are all exceptions exhausted?  Every option foreclosed?  Pressure is on, expectations real – I’ll be a laughing idiot to choose otherwise.  And yet.  And yet.  I have the feeling it will end in a horrible guffaw.

N Filbert 2012