Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One of these ostensibly contemplative souls keeps watch across the river, sees Kia in the daytime equivalent of dreams involving a bell tower that doesn’t exist on the grounds. Richard strays as often as he can from the confines of the monastery, looking for the place where his daytime visions might manifest themselves in tangible form and runs across the establishment quite late in his tenure, at that point in anybody’s life where what we have devoted ourselves to becomes a burden, becomes that which we would escape no matter what the cost. We write sentences longhand on the back of whatever happens to be handy – envelopes or bits of leather – each sentence building on the last into a crescendo of grief or ennui and, at some point, when we are feeling confident or reckless, we endeavor to share them with those in the vicinity. But we realize, frequently too late, that our scribbling, our incessant talking to ourselves and staring away into empty space, has run off whatever family had not to that point already abandoned us to go searching for something crucial missing in their own lives. The cycle bears witness to an odd fact of human psychology, but no one can agree on precisely what that fact consists of. Certain factions, active in the northeast and lumped together under a shorthand moniker referring obliquely to their collective habit of asking too many questions of a very personal nature in inappropriate settings, holds that what we have discovered about ourselves has yet to reach a mass sufficient to fill up a thimble and they have taken to carrying this archaic sewing implement around with them in their pockets so that they can produce it during conversation, thus creating (in their eyes, at any rate) a dramatic gesture that relieves them of the necessity of continuing in words, which are, of course, weak and hopelessly redundant. Another faction, consisting mostly, as near as I can tell, of two individuals cohabiting together somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, pushes things in the opposite direction and comes to the rather startling conclusion that everything that can be known has already been discovered and worked through by hacks and professionals alike so that nothing further needs to be done. We have no more need of attending symposia and writing books and discussing ontology (in an informal manner) with someone standing beside us in line at the market when we are purchasing a gallon of milk. And all these activities would, logically, cease to exist but for the fact that we like to hear ourselves say things even if those things prove, in the end, to be entirely unnecessary. And so, paradoxically, this faction advocates a return to the epic use of words, a pouring forth akin to that which must have occurred when our first stooped and miserable ancestors discovered they could forge words with a felicity rivaling that with which they forged even sharp stones or fire.            

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