Sunday, March 29, 2009

Appropriate Yourself

Memes. Where would we be without them? Wrangling improper pronouns? Trying to rebrand cosines? The mind boggles.

I know that Olena Kalytiak Davis didn’t mean to start one, but I thought I’d just jack it anyway. Because sometimes you get tired of gossip, and want to get linguistically solipsistic. Frankly, I never met an axiom I didn’t just love, if for nothing but its hinge.

Here is the substrate, followed by my elaborations:

1. what exactly does joel brouwer mean by: "the knowledge that dooms a marriage is the knowledge prerequisite to marriage"?

This is somewhat like Douglas Adam’s instruction to learn to fly by trying to hit the ground and miss. Conditionality and intent. In order to take a largely irreversible action, you must be aware of how easily reversible it can be, so that you are cognizant of the commitment and the impressiveness of same. Put more bluntly, you cannot gamble without being an expert on loss.

2. what exactly does seneca mean by: "this is the difference between us and the etruscans ... since they attribute everything to divine agency, they are of the opinion that things do not reveal the future because they have occurred, but that they occur because they are meant to reveal the future"?

I think it means that the present is either proof of the future, or evidence left behind by the future. The former requires the participation of the audience. The latter disdains it. many poets could you actually sue for the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress?

To quote Janet Burroway, “Anecdote is anguish recollected in tranquility.” Craft requires deliberate emotional negligence (for all parties: author, character, reader) in order to achieve the proper distance, and catharsis is distress (since dismay is required as a catalyst). Plot is necessarily abusive.

4. giving readings like giving head. right? you can do it even if you haven't written anything new. right?

Giving readings can be promiscuous recollections of being moved. If you’re a pro. Otherwise, they’re just stylized breath with overlong interruptions.

5. why have i not read most of these? i could never leave my house again and actually get an education.

An intellectual career is performativity. In the way an actor imagines the way something would feel, authors often triangulate the way they think ideas in a book will feel. I would be very surprised to meet another writer who had read all the books he or she had a throw-away line about.

6. i should never leave my house again. and get an education.

Calling a writer a shut-in is redundant. Nurturing one’s aesthetic (even a barren, non-productive one) involves a type of cerebral dysfunction that would summon the cognitive equivalent of DSS if bodied forth. I often think the perfect vacation would be a coma.

7. "i i i never told anyone about the time i slept with two guys at once never happened." i misquote myself, but, low and behold, we actually do mature and evolve. one of them was/is a girl!

Misquoting oneself is pleasurably transgressive. And essential to mass-producing a sense of neural strangers. Without them, we cannot believe in the possibility of a virtuous audience. Like Tiresias, characters become transgendered the instant someone talks for them. As with water, ambiguity finds its own level.

8. does EVERYTHING feel literal to the creator?

The purpose of art is make attitude into nouns, which (if you’re doing it right) hate each other. Once it becomes literal, you become wistfully irrelevant. This is the difference between poetry and rhetoric.

9. jesus! weston cutter's birthday! i was so gonna do an entry in his honor on OCTOBER 31-- day of birth of most emotionally something individuals (keats, too!) (but, shit! was running boxes and african dwarf frogs out of my old house (quick! into the garage) and missing and then catching a plane to meet my lovers). weston! i so need to send you a birthday shirt and some music! (do you have the new dylan bootleg?) mostly, two very corny beautiful songs: the feliz brothers' "radio song" ("don't you ever die, you ever die, you ever die, move me all of my life, all of my life, all of my life") ( yes, i Llove tripetition) and birdmonster's: "my love for you" (my love my love for you will never something it's something than the things i do, my love, my love for you will never stray it's stronger than the things i say")

[Here, the meme breaks down. Tweed clowns are called in. A calla lily is expected to perform. Someone sells jumper cables in the audience, promising large quantities of pneuma to the best student of cellular respiration.]

10. i am in the "surfwise" school of you must change your life rather than the "man on wire" school of you must change your life. (but you gotta love the french. don't you?)

I haven’t seen any either of these. Much in the same way I have not actually read of the Camera Lucida. But I’ll discuss them anyway (see No. 5). C.S. Lewis said (or did he?): “Prayer doesn’t change anything. It changes me.” French intellectuals don’t feel guilty about talking about process. It’s a lifestyle choice. Americans are agonistic or pugnacious about it. New money.

11. speaking of movies: the cool school: that is my dream: a LARGE group of guy painters and sculptors who are as competitive as they are creative. and me.

Writers being competitive is a lot like rats and hamsters trash-talking one another. Same maze, unique cheeses.

10. look! i have built in book shelves!

I once rented a basement room sight unseen for $200 because it had built-in bookshelves. I couldn’t keep the windows open because of the spiders, and the metaphor of the Blair Witch Project hit home the next morning in the stone shower. But it was worth it (as I’m sure your bookshelves are).

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