Struggling to maintain an equilibrium lately. Every mindset is a temporary thing – and I hang on to that thought when days are bleak. Be kind to one another.
” Anyway, these ideas or feelings or ramblings had their satisfactions. They turned the pain of others into memories of one’s own. They turned pain, which is natural, enduring and eternally triumphant, into personal memory, which is human, brief, and eternally elusive. They turned a brutal story of injustice and abuse , an incoherent howl with no beginning or end, into a neatly structured story in which suicide was always held out as a possibility. They turned flight into freedom, even if freedom meant no more than the perpetuation of flight. They turned chaos into order, even if it was at the cost of what is commonly known as sanity”
It has taken me to page 189 to find a passage that sings. This is a trial of a book, and I am channelling my resilience in order to discover nuggets such as this.
I have found one more so far – and one that is amusing me . The link to my own life dilemna is that of finding an engagement present which has more meaning to the recipients than a token of splendid hope for a future of wedded bliss. I have found my ideal gift in a tableau written by Bolano in which his character re-enacts one of the ready made artworks by Marchel Duchamp. He hangs up a geommetry book on a clothesline in the garden “letting the wind go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and turn out the pages” Marcel gave this instruction to his sister in law as his wedding gift and in turn she made a painting of it, calling it ‘Marcel’s Unhappy Readymade. Duchamp said it amused him to bring the idea of happy and unhappy into readymades and include the actions and consequences of the elements. So Bolano is referencing the ideas of a surrealist artist , one who said
“What is the solution? There is no solution because there is no problem. Problem is the invention of man – it is nonsensical” .
And yet it is possible the book Duchamp chose for his readymade artwork was Euclid’s Elements, in whose time it was believed not distinction existed between physical and and geometrical space. Euclid’s definition of a point is “that which hath not parts, or which hath no magnitude”. This surreal artist has attempted bravely to surmount the inexpressibly bleak meaningless of existence by purporting to draw attention to it, and in doing so produces opportunity for reportage and creative endeavour. So that book of geometry that is reduced to nothing by the wind and the rain is now an idea in an artists brain, it has been made into a painting, and subsequently into a further exploration yet by a later artist John Banting in his surreal picture, and later still , finds its way into Bolano’s artistic creation. An author who plays with the notion of novel and fiction and reality. Margins between what is real and what is imagined are blurred, but the interest for me in his writing is how he mirrors the simultaneous mundanity of life with the danger and inherent grotesque realities that invade our lives, as horrors of brutal terrorism and inhumanity are played out daily in all of our lives across the internet and the screen.
Do I dare to to imitate art and give my nephew and his intended an instruction to hang a book of geometry from their washing line, and name it as a gift. My husband says not.
I think it is the best gift they will ever receive.
The book I am reading is Roberto Bolano’s 2666 and the image is John Bantings ‘Ruin And Clothes line’ 1937, an artist who met Duchamp . Courtesy of http://www.lissfineart.com
Like This is a poem by Rumi, with a backdrop of a digital painting by Anne Corr
If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.
When someone asks what it means
to “die for love,” point
If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?
How did Jacob’s sight return?
A little wind cleans the eyes.
“Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.” ― David Foster Wallace
We all suffer alone in the real world. True empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with their own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.”― David Foster Wallace
Don’t forget to dance.
‘To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.’
I was walking alongside the overgrown paddock this morning, which has developed into a sea of buttercups, grasses and purple clover. It is a thing of beauty. Each buttercup is a miracle in itself – a dizzyingly shiny yellow miracle, and yet , when it is no longer shining brightly alone, but hid amongst a host of fellow buttercups, it still retains its wonder. And when my eye wanders along that wave of brilliant primary and is distracted by the long grasses swaying sensuously in the wind, the host of buttercups is not diminished in its loveliness. It’s loveliness is enhanced with the collision from the purple of the clover, augmented by the movement of the grasses within. The whole is wholly magnificent in its diversity and in the spectacle of the collusion from its individual parts.
Lucky us, to be here.
A digital watercolour of the lovely ladies I spend some time with each morning in Essex, and they always seem prepared to converse and mend the world with me. This piece of Eliot’s poem East Coker goes some way to prepare me for another week. Strange how I revisit his poem on a regular basis. I shall have to share it with these belles.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
— William Butler YeatsWoods at Purleigh Essex. Photo my own.