Wednesday, July 6, 2011
yes, I’m having fun
Throughout the long weekend, the air outside was cool and breezy, a little warm at times, but not hot. Going into the days, I’d planned to dwell with some books that I’d anticipated for months might become central to The Perpetual Project. Had I the chance to do whatever with you, I’d have gladly given up the plan. But I looked forward to enjoying the plan I had: getting whatever free associative writing that would happen by way of the inhabitations, wandering the hills, staying awake as late as I choose (for more than a couple of nights), sleeping as late as I choose.
I adore waking up in the morning after plenty of sleep, sitting with Peet’s french roast and my keyboard in solitude, doing whatever I feel like doing. It’s OK that you’re nearby—all the better. I wouldn’t wish otherwise….
The slow dawning of my freedom to stop the job anytime I choose is having a persistent effect. By the end of the holiday period, I was feeling a sense of closure on years of desperation to crystallize the skeleton of years of future writing that The Perpetual Project has been. I felt that it’s done, and I’ve really begun, the past year or so, to have the background structure “at last” clear enough, such that all manner of narrative play won’t lose touch with the pathway that I sought.
I’ve never felt before, as I do now, a sense of letting go of what I securely have. There’s no risk anymore that I won’t have the chance to do what I really want to do (save for the accident of that bus you “fail” to pull me back from—just as well, perhaps, that you’re not on the street with me: I’ve never almost been hit by a bus except when walking with you).
Now I feel I don’t have to press the philosophical project, because I can’t lose it anymore. Let there be silliness about a Greg or a Charlotte—or an exclusive Emma.
And I will have patience about rarely finding those times when I can truly say your name—not to be sentimental, but to avow (without italics, with wholehearted trust in words’ simplicity) what’s most highly true to your appeal. It will seem that I’ve forgotten you, yet I will not ever forget you.
That will not be about holding on to some depth of you that you recognize but won’t admit; nor my claiming some depth of you that you can’t yet find. It would be holding on to an appeal of some depth that’s still mysterious to me in the resonance of differences between you and myself, you and “you,” inter- to intra-psychally, expressible in the letter which dissolves its difference from Most Secret Diary (or even clinical confession) and its difference from Most Audacious Inquiry (the writer’s ever-receding muse), yet now—to come—through others’ words entwining me.
Including yours. Indeed, you let me know your gentle beauty only briefly, now only available through what you write. So, I go my own way doing what I can with what’s available to me.
O, how much I lived through before recovering my Inner Teen wise guy (a very unnaïve innocence) who feels as if he’s (a narrative figure because…) back from a war (like an odyssey) that won him an authenticity of openness, an As If which is the origin of discovery that actual teens may not yet imagine in their longing to inherit a legacy they make their own, rather than risk much of the unknown actually (a dark forest, a long road, a difficult climb).
I think that good aging more and more loses possibilities of happening across actual kindreds, due to so much individuality. A virtue of long-time friendships is that, after loss, time makes such a treasure more and more difficult to have similarly with others, if only because we grow to have less and less free time. Loss and death are relatively easy for the young to overcome. But for the aging, one’s kindreds are more and more rarely available—except through writing. One’s kin may be unborn, so writing casts a hope for influence.
For actual youth, writing found may be an obscure appeal of a mind by whom to be possessed, as if becoming a Rilke is rehearsal for becoming a voice of one’s own time.
Likely, one achieves only modest exemplarity. Yet, being genuinely of one’s own time is part of the heart of literary writing.
So, what is it to be a child of the ’80s and ’90s?—a millennial entrance into older youth? (I won’t say—but mention—“entrance into adulthood,” because good aging never loses a cohering of time in Self, including the actual youth, earning—making explicit—one’s implicit claim to lifespanal cohering). I’m an older youth of an era you relish as retro novelty. I’m an older youth of “The Sixties,“ then remaking myself in “The New Wave.” (like David Bowie or David Byrne). I never really belonged to any Time. Being a chameleon is most entertaining.
My departmental days are, at best, occasion for a hidden distance among lovely people who’d likely stop speaking to me were they to read what I love to write.
Yes, I’m having fun!
Those books I alluded to above, part of the long weekend, were long intended for an ASAP that was displaced and displaced until I got disgusted with myself. I will deal with them early July!
Then, last week, near-term interests caused me to check out from the library—well, let me insert some context first:
Already checked out of the library, over the past couple of months, was a slowly-growing pile of 5 I despair of doing something with, before they have to be returned (i.e., get recalled by other weirdos).
Earlier, I quoted briefly from To Follow. That’s one of the 5. No one that I know would play with me anymore if they knew I also check out such books as The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology, The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (not that I have a fetish for Oxford Handbooks, just coincidence), The Moral Psychology Handbook and (what I really want to become) The Poetics of Singularity (which I mentioned in that posting linked above, misleading a reader with “one of these days.”
The handbook fetish arises from desire to grasp supplementary subject area interests well enough to feel confident about the areas without tarrying too long there, for the sake of The Project (which makes claims about biology, interdisciplinary inquiry, and moral psychology). My intent with such books of synoptic essays is to locate what especially pertains to what I’m doing, then copy those chapters.
But there they sit on the table behind my desk. I spent the long weekend with the long-intended things of my own, not yet including 4 books I impulsively checked out of the library last Thursday (which didn’t include Erotic Faith; I bought that a couple of weeks ago). The Thursday Four are:  The Perfect Sister: what draws us together, what drives us apart;  Incest and Influence: the private life of bourgeois England, which is about concerting life among concerted estates, so appealing for literary folklore.  Family Likeness: sex, marriage, and incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf. And lastly:  Sibling Love and Incest in Jane Austen’s Fiction.
I confess, my interest in the incest taboo goes back decades, probably to my First Love, while still in high school (which was not incestuous; but we got very enmeshed, all the way through college, then into our mid-20s, before Katherine decided to go lesbian with a close friend of mine). Consequently, I can very easily let myself get carried away now writing about matters of sisterly longing—but I don’t have the luxury tonight.
The practical point, I guess, is that I very easily stretch myself thin, having a rather incredible (impracticable) span of literary interest (including an expansive sense of “Literary”).
But my incestuous fascinations don’t pertain to The Perpetual Project; rather to The Story, mentioned last Monday week here, associating to Whitby Abbey (at a confessional), which has been important to my writing interests since the late1990s.
So, whatever enchants my writing time in coming months and years, I do have plenty to keep me busy until I die, even if I live to 110.
[See how a change of thought, warranting a new paragraph, can come to be so compacted that a paragraph lasts less than a line, and the result approaches free-form verse?
I break for you.]
In any case, I’m regularly stilled and sobered by the common fact that, while good stories have a proper ending, real lives usually are in the flow of a day when life suddenly ends—without a chance for italics or closure.
-- gary e. davis -- 12:34 PM