Keith Waldrop: Tuning

Herr Stimmung—purblind—moves in corporeal time.
 
    Think how many, by now, have escape the world’s memory.
 
    Think, how all his wandering is only thought. Having once tried to
live in the quasi-stupor of sensation, now he picks his way through
areas of spilth, seeking the least among infinite evils.
 
    His hope: intermittent.
 
    To a person so little conscious, what would it mean to die? Though
he feels, true enough, death’s wither-clench. Thinking always of
something permanent, watching the while how everything goes on
changing.
 
    He has seen where Speed is buried. Eyes exorbitant.
 
    He has the tension of male and female: active, divided. Anger and
lust. What he eats tastes exactly like real food.
 
    He would search out interphenomena, if he could decipher the
interstices. The broken line. Immediate havoc. Circular heaven.
Square earth. He cries world world, and there is no world.
 
    He claims superiority over the other animals, being the only one
who can talk, the only one to have doubts.
 
    Herr Stimmung knows a whale is big. Its skeleton might shelter a
dozen men.
 
    Not existing, not subsisting—insisting. Not object, not subject—
eject. (He works within opposed systems, every one of them opposed
to system.)
 
    “Fillette”—in confusion he addresses himself—”n’allez pas au bois
seulette.”
 
    He knows who is allowed to wear what kinds of beads. He knows
how fruit trees are inherited. All his self-objects lie in the inoperative
past.
 
    Herr Stimmung springs from a long undocumented ancestry.
 
    He has a special attitude towards terror.

 

Keith Waldrop, “Tuning” from The House Seen from Nowhere. Copyright © 2002 by Keith Waldrop. 

Transcendentalism: Thoreau on Writing

“Nothing goes by luck in composition. . . . The best you can write will be the best you are. Every sentence is the result of a long probation. The author’s character is read from title page to end” (Thoreau, 2009:159)

I’m writing about Transcendentalism tonight and its enduring relativity embedded in modern American individualism.  Hence, the quotes and poems by Transcendentalist founders.  While we indeed have deep roots within Puritanism as a nation, we are equally influenced by the individualism espoused by this quasi-religion.  In reflecting upon the condition of American society today, it seems clear that the divisions that separate these two distinct ideologies, their seeds planted during the time of our foundation, still frame the divisions we face as a collective people today.

Self or Denial of Self?  That is the question…

“Writing, Instinct, and Passion”

Jean Rhys

“Without the instinct, the passion might so easily be either sentimental or sensational; without the passion, the instinct might lead to only formal beauty; together, they result in original art, at the same time exquisite and deeply disturbing.” Francis Wyndham: An Introduction to the Writing of Jean Rhys, “Wide Saragasso Sea” – A Norton Critical Edition

Anais Nin: On Writing

anaisnin

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
Anais Nin
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/writing.html#GiVsMDy18MJvfzmu.99

Anaïs Nin (Spanish: [anaˈiz ˈnin]; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an American author born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She published journals (which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays,short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.

She was transformed by her therapy with Otto Rank, who broke with Freud over Freud’s failure to appreciate the power of women’s sexuality, the value of art, and the meaning of the mother-child relationship. On her second visit to Rank, Nin reflects on her desire to be “re-born,” feelingly, as a woman and artist. Rank, she observes, helped her move back and forth between what she could verbalize in her journals and what remained unarticulated. She discovered the quality and depth of her feelings in the wordless transitions between what she could say and what she could not say. “As he talked, I thought of my difficulties with writing, my struggles to articulate feelings not easily expressed. Of my struggles to find a language for intuition, feeling, instincts which are, in themselves, elusive, subtle, and wordless”.[6]