Friday, December 31, 2021

avoiding autobiography

Years ago on New Year’s Eve, I wrote to an old friend a letter which has extractable paragraphs about my aversion to autobiographical writing, which
I want to overcome during 2022:
One reason I resisted autobiography was that I was so oriented to new experiences, new learning, always trekking on, as if looking back was infidelity to a glorious horizon.

And who would care to read the story? Everybody’s got a story...
Stories are usually for some market, which I could never care to entertain. My life, any life, is really nobody else’s concern. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

in honor of letters

Today is the 75th anniversary of the day, 1946, when jean sent his questions to martin which resulted in the letter on humanism, some weeks later (the same period in which martin was preparing “What are poets for?”).

I recall this like an encounter between friends because humanism is at home informally. Also, I’ve wanted to write relative to martin’s letter as part of developing my sense of “person-al” humanism, which understands our humanity (“being” sacredly “human”) relative to being a person fully. I hope to do that before the middle of December.

I lament techumanity’s waning of letters, slow writing. I wrote by lovely fountain pen, decades ago.

I wrote a long thing yesterday (not by pen), but prudently decided not to send it
to you. But here’s its ending:

Sunday, October 24, 2021

What is there to a muse?

Before I leave my bibliophilic museum for more timely amusements about our political life—and presuming I’ll have lost my current inspiration when I return, some weeks ahead—I want to express fascination with the notion of “the” muse which writers sometimes cite to explain their aspiration.

Standardly, fables of personified creative capability flow from the posited muse into one’s own voice. It’s a Janus-faced venture of speaking in light of earlier listening, as if a “spirit” is channeled.

Here,“you” are more than witness. You are addressed through the voicing in a triadic mediation(2) of enspiration(1) to you(3). The music(1) fills(2) “me,” which is heralded(3).

Yet, one may posture their audience as the muse itself, e.g., writing to Orpheus. Here, one lets another listen in to “my” addressing enspiration—a triadic venture of “you” now witnessing an interplay.

Both ventures may echo each other—or merge, one fused (if not confused) with the other. A present person may be personified as a muse, which is common for creativity, respecting the difference (the other person trusts); and playing with appreciated liminality.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

tell us more

The home page of feminist performance artist Suzy Kellems Dominik has two buttons at the bottom: “Learn more” and “Stay in touch.” Though those are functional, I read them also as autonomous texts, in the spirit of Jenny Holzer: Yes, learning never ends. Yes, stay engaged.

Her site’s “contact” feature includes the request “Tell us more.” I wondered who “us” is. I wrote a dialogue in the message box, also quoting from her short biographical statement (two quotations below within one of my fanciful quote marked responses by me as character with characterization of her):

Friday, August 20, 2021

Adam of Eve’s immaculate self-conceiving

Mid-2007, I met a man in Peet’s Coffee, Walnut Square (Berkeley), which I’d forgotten these days until this week due to an amazing occurrence I’ll mention later here.

We had our first conversation when I saw him reading a book on Ingmar Bergman. The Dutch man, named Gerrit, called himself Geri, pronounced “Gary,” which I guess ruins my credibility here about my recounting. But there are coincidences in life.

He was an art historian getting more deeply interested in film history, visiting from Amsterdam as a UCB resident scholar. We crossed paths numerous Saturdays because I had the habit of hanging out there before doing my weekly grocery run.

Early 2009, I began to tell him about my relationship to Terese (a very long story) which was frustrating because I wanted to see her not commit to a marriage that she seemed to not really want (which would be felt by her future children, which she also seemed to not want, but her future husband did; so, she was acquiescent—actually, depressive; a bad omen). Since I had enough challenge finding time away from our department for what I loved, I couldn’t accept that a talented woman would reject the appeal of creative independence (especially since she entered college wanting creative independence).