Monday, May 6, 2013

The string technique arose in response to mandates against narrative set down by sovereigns with little or no patience for any entity that was not themselves. They frequently railed at the shooting stars and shook their fists in the direction of the walking sticks that livened up (barely) the arbor, but these sovereigns are long since passed into something like history now except that nothing of that time has actually been recorded and everything we say about them is based solely on speculation or analogy. Or just an overwhelming desire to string trite phrases together so that whatever silence exists in the vicinity and is tempted to drop down on us like a filthy bird of carrion realizes that its particular wishes, like all wishes, will not be granted without a little push back, without some difficulty attached, and even what we would call mortal danger if we were speaking of living beings, beings with detectable heartbeats and flesh covering the less easily verifiable parts of them, such as the spirit or the thing that replaces the spirit when it is no longer capable of fulfilling its many responsibilities. The procedure is as follows: You wrap the string (or the twine if you have it; even the flat end of cattails will do) around each of the fingers on your left hand, one at a time, all the while reciting any tale that appears before your eyes or on your tongue as a result, I suppose, of the change in circulation of the blood, no matter how miniscule. Or perhaps the trance the introductory ceremony has placed you under because you are unusually susceptible to trances. When you are on your own, for instance, walking in the street, you keep your head down, eyes on the pavement so that no one passing by with a pocket watch left intentionally dangling and spinning out where the whole world can see it will be able to place you under his control and demand that you perform actions that, no doubt, your closest friends and associates would consider demeaning or obscene should they find out about them later. Should they read about them in your diary, say, while snooping through the upper shelves in your walk-in closet with the assistance of a stepladder. Or should they be in that initial audience that forms spontaneously in the street, that circles up and therefore obscures the view of anyone who might have been able to bring this catastrophe to a halt, just as soon as they realize something out of the ordinary is going to happen. Your every precaution results only in your own ultimate isolation, though, and -- when the weather is foul and the market nearly unreachable by foot -- a certain malnutrition that makes you look a little like a hand-painted sign. And then, when you find yourself under someone else’s control anyway, find yourself a marionette prancing about on stage with your feet only occasionally touching the ground, who will come to your rescue then with a bottle of schnapps, will slice the air with his invisible scissors and wrap a blanket around your shoulders? Who will lead you to safety in the unfinished basement of his home?      

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