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“Early in life, I learned to fear my birthday. Later, Christmas would follow close behind in the measured amount of my dislike. Finally, every holiday, even the Fourth of July, my former favorite, would fill me with apprehension. But it was the onset of my birthday which made my palms sweat.” (ibid., p. 604).
This is a day for me where (when?) I am off; like: milk off, like: not turned on. This is the day I should need to quote from the best piece of prose I ever read. Luckily I am off: it spares me the frustration of not being able to do justice to what has to be quoted, so allowing me to cover my disability with inability. Read it, few friends, and weep because it is all that is wrong about the world and it also has the essence of what is good about this world. Charity as in hypocritical keeping up appearances and the Gricean principle of charity trying, even if flat-out failing, to understand.
This is not it but it is something which is neither false nor falsch:
[Continued from here.]
Dysfunctional, disaster, disabled, dyslexic, whether in its Greek or more modern version the sound ‘dis’ is a disturbing omen of what we don’t want. Except in one case: the case of being discovered. Some of us want that despite it being an omen all the same.
“Governali spent the fifties as a part of the chorus, but when that silly book of his – Character Crucified on the Cross of the Historical Chronicle – came out, and received raves from the reactionaries who wanted history turned back into biography, and biography backed into moralized little Aesopian fables of fate, fortune, and foolishness, edifying all git out, uplifting as a bra, rosy as the nipples in it, when the Times interviewed him, and public radio did a report; when his promotion came through without a hitch (we didn’t dare vote against it, revealing the envy we felt, the disappointment with our own vacant and weedy lot); Continue reading
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I had sex this morning. Quite sure I was not the only one to have it. I can tell because of the noises I heard. Distant noises – coming from nearby, you know. Tongue in cheek, all that.
“So I hit upon honesty as the best revenge. I purchased a ladder to put up high principles.” (ibid. p. 361)
Get on with it, is what it means. Get on with it to get it over with. Get over it to get on with it. I like the it-bit. Add ‘t’ and all is fair for a while there is only that. I have just about the time to write crooked sentences and look down on them as if they are the material humanity is made of. I hate straight like I hate being taken for a ride. “It’s sincerely merrily hopeless”, Li said as if enjoying the rhythm of the sentences when somebody would quote him. Otherwise, Li was not a name to enjoy.
“Loss in life: that’s what I mourn for; that’s what we all mourn for, all of us who have been touched by the fascism of the heart. It’s not having held what was in our hands to hold; not having felt the feelings we were promised by our parents, friends, and lovers, not having got the simple goods we were assured we had honestly earned and rightfully had coming.” (ibid. p. 366)
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I spent a week in Gotham. After a couple of days I found myself tuning into subway conversations of the young Gothamites. It sounded vaguely like English and it made me feel like the old bastard I am. It made me feel good; an old bastard I am.
“Why should another’s body be so beautiful its absence is as painful as the presence of your own?” (ibid., p. 297)
That’s it: people who like taking pictures are The Threat. They feel the pain when things get out of their frame. They feel old then. They want to conserve. They put salt and sour in every new wound – and make their hurt the principle focus of a world in which they no longer want to belong. The pictures, nice or not, will go stale, mate, but any draw is better than their loss.
“A book, I wrote, is like a deck of windows: each page is made of mind, and it is that same mind that perceives the world outside, and it is that same mind that stands translucently between perception and reflection, uniting and dividing, double dealing. Continue reading
Hardly original, as is ‘hardly original’. So forth. Fuck it. As it fucks me.
“Our inertia is so immense it causes causes to collect like dammed-up water; we must amass motives like money before we make our move; we recruit a regiment of reasons; then let them, like a firing squad, fire obediently into the helpless body of their effect.” (ibid., p. 175)
Here I am, wanting to disagree with the vengeance cultivated by generations unfairly treated by others descending from the mythical slayer of their most famous forefather (who slays foremothers? – it isn’t even a word so how can it have reference). Here I am, able to only say: so true! I want to kill my effect: if my looks could kill the first thing I’d do is look for a mirror (all credits to jessica bailey whomever she is).
Fair is such an unfair word. Where it turns up it puts down. Fair as in fairytale. Un-fairytale would be fairly synonymous with reality.
I have made a copy of Baudelaire’s suicide note. I keep a collection. “The fatigue of going to sleep and the fatigue of waking up have become insupportable.” (ibid., p. 186)
Justice as fairness is limited to the right to die, to call it quits, to Continue reading
This just to inform you that in the midst of organized immorality and innovative organicity I am still here. I have found the dot com named scrabblefinder and scrabblefinder dot com found me the Hoodoo to go with my Hoodlums.
Further this to inform you of my intention to finish the year with starting with new year’s resolutions. The first of which will be a book club on yet another unreadable book: The Tunnel by William H. Gass.
I believe that reading this unreadable book will provide me the background for successfully reading the most unreadable book of unreadable books (the reader may guess its title and author).
I should live long enough to complete the plan of reading that book before I decide my time here has been served (at which time my children will have their children, or so I hope).
But well before starting to finish that plan (and myself), I need to finish what I announce here and what got a prologue there (the word ‘what’ being abused a lot by Germans).
It was 1 AM. A typical hour to wake up and take a leak, for a man my age. It was one flight of stairs down to get to the toilet. One flight more to the downstairs where we kept our bicycles. I peaked down and saw his bicycle standing there with those of the others. Then I remembered his tire was flat and that he went out on foot. So I went downstairs to check for another sign of him having come back.
His shoes were there, at the bottom of the stairs. I stared at them, the tips pointing to each other. So very much my son. Their laces still done. I felt more at ease, ready for my leak. It only took half a flight of stairs to have lost the confidence I had just gained. The shoes being there didn’t mean he was there. Actually it could just as well mean he wasn’t there but he just wanted me to feel comfortable. So very much my son.
Let me make this about me. I am, after all, too tired to make it about anything else. And I do want to write, if only to give me the comfort of at least thinking I am trying to stick to my plan. These three sentences kind of sum me up, I guess. That – and the fact that I will nonetheless write more sentences.
I have three kids whom I love dearly and one wife who loves me dearly. In fact all of the loving dearly is reciprocal which is making us into something like a living pentagram – moderation in a divine proportion. We are such a closely knit family unit that most of us feel suffocated most of the time. My wife and I sometimes wonder whether any of us will ever be able to escape the close knitting which is a good thing as far as I and my wife are concerned but not such a good thing as far as the kids are concerned. We think, and then we try to chase them out of the house once in a while, and then we realize both of us are trying, and constantly failing, at being control freaks
I don’t have a lot of friends and, as far as I know, no real enemies. People just don’t like to be around me for a long time. Continue reading
“The difference between the social and individual theories of the development of mind, self, and the social process of experience or behavior is analogous to the difference between the evolutionary and contract theories of the state as held in the past by both rationalists and empiricists. The latter theory takes individuals and individual experiencing – individual minds and selves – as logically prior to the social process in which they are involved, and explains the existence of that social process in terms of them; whereas the former takes the social process of experience or behavior as logically prior to the individuals and their individual experiencing which are involved in it, and explains their existence in terms of that social process. But the latter type of theory cannot explain that which is taken as logically prior at all, cannot explain the existence of minds and selves; whereas the former type of theory can explain that which it takes as logically prior, namely, the existence of the social process of behavior, in terms of such fundamental biological or physiological relations & interactions as reproduction, co-operation of individuals for mutual protection or for the securing of food.”
George Herbert Mead, On Social Psychology, The University of Chicago Press, 1977, p. 242.
I wanted to edit and shorten this but I didn’t. In fact, I needed to battle the urge to go on quoting the next page. It is what it needs to be: the sober discovery of an inescapable truth we could not but evolve to discover. Nevertheless, evolution works in mysterious ways; after half a century the fact is that the traditional (and false) position still prevails. Whatever. Continue reading
Her hands were still trembling. She had already forgotten why she panicked. She looked into the comforting eyes of an older woman who had held her hand and now dropped it, being met by her mechanical stare. She knew she knew that woman but had no idea who it was. “It’s all right, Ida.”, the older woman said and so she knew she was Ida and the lady speaking to her a person she must have known well.
“Don’t you recognize me?”, the woman asked, smiling at Ida in the way you smile at a child that, for good reason, pretends to be ill. “I’m Elsa.”, said Elsa patiently. Ida recognized the sentences more than she recognized Elsa. Continue reading