snakes

Thoughts were snakes shooting through high grasses. Now you see them, now you don’t. As you walk in the high grasses, you must take a stick and beat the ground. Scare up the snakes, pursue them to the edge of the field into the open and see them, exorcise them. You must perform this ritual now. In the middle of the night, alone with pen and paper, you sound out the snakey thoughts. You write one of those letters that’s never meant to be sent, isn’t addressed to anyone. No one’s eyes are meant to see this. This is a private ritual. The writer, the reader are trying to get as close together as possible. They are coming together, sealed in a word on a page where you’re trying to make the shooting thoughts come out in the pen. Shoot them down your arm, through your fingers, and out the end of your pen. Make them visible. You know it’s primitive: filling up a page so you can empty your mind. But you’re doing what you must: trying to let go. You’re starting by addressing yourself:”

-Constance DeJong
Modern Love

ink

‘… Your mother will be coming any moment now, and she’ll teach you many things.’ Eleseus is eager to learn and asks, ‘When you write on paper, what does it feel like?’—’It feels like almost nothing,’ the father answers, ‘just like being empty-handed.’—’But doesn’t he slip, like on the ice?’—’Who?’—’The pen you write with?’—’Uh-huh. Well you have to learn to steer him.'”

-Knut Hamsun
Growth of the Soil

asdfg

Producing language, we wank, we eat, we regurgitate, we research, we demonstrate, we expel; with what has been expelled we repaper our bodily walls, and this wallpaper is intricate, befouled, and potentially asemic—nonsignifying scratches without a linguistic system backing them up, scratches we nominate as words by agreeing together that this scratch means wank, that scratch means cang, this scratch means diatomaceous, that scratch means masks… Literature—the respite of the fallen—is the process of making do with mask and task, diverting ourselves with tasks that mask our disenfranchisement. We are disenfranchised, regardless of our station, because we belong to an earth that will continue to bear our presence only if we remain adequate custodians of this material envelope, fragile, in which we dwell, an envelope consisting of just a small interval of habitable temperatures. To unmask the systems that will destroy our possibility of inhabiting the earth is the task of a language that operates through masks and the avoidance of tasks.”

-Wayne Koestenbaum
The Writer’s Obligation

+/

Everything he spoke sounded like regurgitations heard before. Isn’t every word? Doesn’t all expression come from someoranother? Can it be tapped straight from an unfiltered prime/pineal source? May translate through combinations of rule, encoded through, but it can. It can it can and it might feel mad but let it.

Question

Is speaking/(writing) subjectively an inherently selfish act? Is it possible to speak for others in speaking for self? Or speak for those who came before (especially those silenced) by speaking now? Do women get challenged more for speaking subjectively than men?

needy for beauty

I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence. It’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating, and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is. I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place! … Some of it’s natural, some of it’s man-made. Some of it is a mere glance. It’s an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it any more than we can do without dreams or oxygen.”

-Toni Morrison on beauty in The Paris Review 

&

She had all the attributes of a great character. She was capable of madness, like the affair with her land, but she also possessed a great lucidity. She embodied those contradictions that make for great characters, like when she nearly died upon learning that I enrolled in the Communist Party. But she is not the main hero of my body of work, nor the most permanent. No, I am the most permanent. Writing is to write for oneself… We separate ourselves from people by writing.”

-Marguerite Duras on her mother in
Me & Other Writing

confronted

Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty and the ability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty… He is not, after all, merely a number of a Society or a Group or a deploration conundrum to be explained by Science. He is—and how old-fashioned the words sound!—something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity—which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves—we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves… Our passion for categorization, life neatly fitted into pegs, has led to an unforeseen, paradoxical distress: confusion, a breakdown of meaning.”

-James Baldwin
Everybody’s Protest Novel