On a Saturday full of engines, reading Michel Serres.

Je ne puis, d’une part, sentir le lisier des porcs, pourtant biodégradable, frémir de nausée à l’orée des papeteries, souffrir d’asthme au voisinage des autoroutes, ouïr aussi, et d’autre part, les bruits d’un avion ou d’une moto sans que mon corps, animalement, comprenne que les émetteurs correspondants prennent, par ces odeurs, ces souillures et ces sons, possession de l’espace qu’ils habitent ou traversent. Des volumes qu’ils envahissent ainsi de leurs issues expansées, dures, matérielles, ou douces comme des abois ou des signes, ils excluent ma présence, mon existence, ma santé, ma respiration, ma tranquillité, bref, mon habitat. Comme tigres et lions, ils menacent ma vie, mes poumons et ma santé… quand ils entrent dans ma niche ou l’espace public; comme coqs ou moustiques, ils sonnent leur victoire sur l’étendue qu’ils occupent. Lesdits émetteurs envahissent; bref, ils s’approprient le monde.

Michel Serres, Le Mal Propre. Polluer pour s’approprier? pp. 42-43

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Sudden and Two-Dimensional

Everything makes sense yet is beyond reason. He once remarked to an interviewer:

The dream is pure drama. In a dream, one is always in mid-situation … I think that the dream is a lucid thought, more lucid than any one has when awake, a thought expressed in images, and that at the same time its form is always dramatic.

At his best, Ionesco has been true to his dreams. He almost never creates characters of any depth or substance, the people in his plays are sudden and two-dimensional, like the figures in a dream. And, as in a dream, the complexity is all in their immediate situation. He has put his nightmares on stage, unadulterated and with an uncanny sense of what works in that tight space framed by the proscenium arch. The result is pure nihilism. After all, what can survive when the placid façade of middle-class life splits open and the submerged fantasies come pulsing through?

A. Alvarez, Beckett, p. 14

Said about A.  Brings to mind B.

 

Quadrat 1 and 2 (Beckett)

Another old favourite, rediscovered this morning.

[“Description: Cloaked, cowled figures wander in patterns to rhythm instruments.” *as well as the rhythmic shuffling of their own feet*]

This piece, more pared down, dare I say, than most of Beckett’s other stage work, opens up [in my mind] an enormous amount of space for reflection on a) choreography b) rhythm c) geometry d) the progressive disappearance of those others we connect to [co-trot with] – and as they one by one walk off stage are we then condemned to persist in our patterns as if the others were still with us rubbing the stage floor with their feet?

[Then, I think about beehives, and about six corners instead of four.]

Be all that as it may. Aside from the existential, it is mainly choreography this piece has made me think about, and I’m someone rapidly made to feel at odds with the unspoken choreography of busy public spaces.

Twenty-Four

The Maggie Nelson worship continues.

Simply put, in the meantime, I had become a brokenheart. As winter moved into spring, then into summer, I found myself losing the man I loved. I was falling, or had fallen, out of a story, the story of a love I wanted very much. Too much, probably. And the pain of the loss had deranged me.

Falling out of a story hurts. But it’s nothing compared to the loss of an actual person, the loss of all the bright details that make up that person. All the flashing, radiant fragments that constitute an affair, or a love. If there has been a betrayal, you may find yourself holding each of these fragments up to a new light and rotating them there, watching each one grow an unwanted shadow. I found myself there.

Maggie Nelson, The Red Parts. Autobiography of a Trial. p. 82

Twenty-one

During this research I began to suffer from an affliction I came to call “murder mind.” I could work all day on my project with a certain distance, blithely looking up “bullet” or “skull” in my rhyming dictionary. But in bed at night I found a smattering of sickening images of violent acts ready and waiting for me. Reprisals of the violence done unto Jane, unto the other Michigan Murder girls, unto my loved ones, unto myself, and sometimes, most horribly, done by me. These images coursed through my mind at random intervals, but always with the slapping, prehensile force of the return of the repressed.

I persevered, mostly because I had been given an end-point: the publication date of Jane, on my thirty-second birthday, in March 2005. As soon as I held the book in my hand, I would be released. I would move on to projects that had nothing to do with murder. I would never look back.

Maggie Nelson on writing Jane. A Murder. in The Red Parts. Autobiography of a Trial.

Over the past year and a half, Maggie Nelson has gone from being a writer I only really knew as a poet (Something Bright, Then Holes) to one of my favourite people in writing; I love her for her honesty, the way she doesn’t seem to write in order to put herself or her subject on a pedestal but out of a compulsion to write out the many dimensions of her experiences. She writes and admits to being scared of what it means to write, and she does so with vulnerability and strength, in a way that makes me feel less alone in this odd world of storytelling.

Nine

Peter Sloterdijk on Rousseau’s fifth Rêverie and idleness:

Inmitten des weltweit herrschenden unglücklichen Bewußtseins (das Stoikern, Buddhisten, Juden, Christen, Muslims, Sozialisten, Entwicklern, Therapeuten und Konsultanten Arbeit gibt) entdeckt Rousseau – obschon episodisch doch exemplarisch – einen zeitgenössischen Zugang zu einem glücklichen Bewußtsein. In diesem Moment nimmt der Begriff Freiheit unwillkürlich eine neue Bedeutung an […] Er bezeichnet einen Zustand erlesener Unbrauchbarkeit in dem der einzelne ganz bei sich ist, und zugleich weitgehend losgelöst von seiner alltäglichen Identität. In der Freiheit der rêverie ist der einzelne von der “Gesellschaft” weit abgerückt, doch auch losgelöst von der eigenen, ins soziale Gewebe verstrickte Person. Er läßt beides hinter sich, die Welt der kollektiven Sorgenthemen und sich selbst als Teil von dieser. Frei ist demnach, wem die Eroberung der Sorglosigkeit gelang. Freiheit im aktuellsten Sinn erfährt, wer eine sublime Arbeitslosigkeit in seinem Inneren entdeckt – ohne sich gleich bei einer Vermittlungsagentur zu melden.

Peter Sloterdjik – Streß und Freiheit. Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin. 2011.