Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I’m not Sartre’s son.

Before I saw you Sunday, a rainy night, I’d been at the bookstore—a long time. I won’t list all the ones I wanted to buy—too many. I have little time for even a few soon. It’s always like that! I can’t stand it. 24, I wanted for my library. I bought 6. Even 6 is too much. Maybe they’ll be inhabited within the year—after others, bought long ago, are read, having been carefully selected from many times more than those, bought way back. Or maybe the new 6 points in my pointillism of textual affairs shifts the whole sequence. (Spread them all on a floor, so the reading sequence becomes a broken line from book to book to book, maybe forming a pattern, as if a path itself is a message.)

And weekends keep arriving, of course: more books to desire (though I don’t usually see much in one visit that I want).

Walking home, the rain had stopped, but the streetlights reflected off everything, like ice on twigs, everyone walking on mirrors. The metal tip of your closed umbrella clicking on the wet pavement far away got my attention: thin silhouette walking so smartly. Your disheveled hair, made wavy by the mist, black against backlight, made you look like the Bride of Frankenstein (sorry).

Like a blind man, my hands trace your body, as if knowing all surfaces would imply your inner nature, Self evinced and cohering through all tangibility—like literal reading that gradually evinces a topography, vicarious travel, joy, loss—like all romances: wanting to totally merge all feeling, earlier loves, life Projects (Sartre was big on this), durable happiness, memorable creativity—that we might embody some high humanity, self-begetting genesis, exemplifying what’s best in some art of living by elated embodiment, a singularity of indwelling some endless story, reconciled to the black cosmos, because we still are—because...because you weren’t a fiction, alas.

, imagine growing up with Jean-Paul and Simone as part of your family. When writer John Gerassi was a kid, his parents were “very close friends” with Sartre and de Beauvoir, such that “the couple became for him like surrogate parents. Authorized by Sartre to write his biography, Gerassi conducted a long series of interviews between 1970 and 1974, which he has recently [2009—decades later?] edited to produce this revelatory and breathtaking portrait...,” so it’s claimed. Titled Talking with Sartre, Gerassi read and talked recently here, Berkeley, at University Press Books.

And Derrida was married to a psychoanalyst; I can’t stand it. (So, repeating
the fact becomes symptomatic—right, Janna?). I didn’t grow up in an intellectual household, so sad. Sometimes I think I’m wondering Earth looking for my primordial sister—mirrored Anima, Aletheia, you.

It’s been authoritatively said that many of the great ideas for which Jean-Paul is credited came from Simone.