Monday, December 08, 2008

28 Questions

Will the future resemble the past? Will we ever close the hermeneutic circle? Does reading generally take us "further in" or "farther out"? What is the ground of being? Where is my horizon right now? Where is home? Is home a place? What is it to do something you couldn't have done before? What (taking it further) is "could have done" at all? What is necessity? What is the relation of necessity to how we ought to be? Does imagination overstep its bounds? Are there bounds to imagination? What are the vaguenesses imagination produces? Is the flickering of words self-enhancing? Does poetry really have a purgative function? When I speak simply, do I speak more closely or more broadly? Are dialectics reinstantiated in every generation? Will we ever wake up from the nightmare of history? How about the nightmare of economics? Or the nightmare of want and care? Can art help? but what is art? Is art simply something done well, as in "the art of living", or "the medical arts"? If art can help, how does it help? Is there something to Plato's warning, that artistically-induced affect manipulates what is irrational in us? Should we rather go with Aristotle? Or should we make our own system (as Blake did)? What about friendship? What is salvation? Is salvation salvation? (28)

Consider: "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down."

Monday, December 01, 2008


I've resorted to long trains of Wikipedia's random article clicking, I suppose to give myself the semblance of curiosity. Truth is, I am so tired sometimes that the demands I place on myself culminate in colossal failure.

Today I was trying to give shape to a flash of inspiration in lean, hard prose. The attempt failed, and with it, my evaluation of my own abilities. I have bneen thinking all day that what I need now is craft, not any kind of inspiration. Inspiration bubbles under the veil of daytime consciousness in larger or smaller irruptions. What I need is the sustained attention to follow up on it.

Then again, I could always fake it. That is an option, like the Wikipedia idea. Take 6 random articles (not the shitty ones about Craw Gulch, Oklahoma (pop. 34)) and fashion a vignette. Use your projection.

So what's the problem? It feels inauthentic. And with that proclamation I have another conceptual struggle. The world (for the most part) cares nothing for my feelings. The craft of writing consists of defeating the feeling-side in favour of some instrumental control. This has to happen. The hope is that after that process is complete, there is something left to produce the child-like joy. I hope that's true in my case, because I'm going under. Going to dedicate this week to craft. Apollo, not Dionysus will govern my behaviour. (Now naturally, that means I'm just emphasizing one over the other; we all include both within the normal scope of human activity.)

Consider: "After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own."