His near stammering. With disconcerting promptness one word hid behind another. -- Maurice Blanchot, Le Dernier Homme Contact me: red3ad (at) yahoo (dot) com


useful employment / of chance 


(Do I edit here?-- Do I delete yesterday's abysmal post, or do I let it sit as an example of a certain state? There are a few useful things in it, I hope)....

Cooler today. Residue of heaviness. Still, a pervading sense of loss, or grasping. This morning, lightly troubled (that's the word I will use, troubled, but I'll qualify it with "lightly," and it will do well enough) -- I reached for Blanchot. The Step Not Beyond. A few pages brought some thoughts regarding the subject-state of writing into right focus. And later, book-ending the morning, as it were (as did Bronk and Bresson last week), my hand drifts over to Bataille's Guilty. The Introduction seems foreign to me, although I've read it before, and in the first paragraph, my eye seizes upon K., and a sense of what I wrote yesterday:

"relating to an impression I had [...] -- that I lived in the world like a stranger. (In a way this didn't surprise me -- more often than we suspect, Kafka's dreams in their various guises express the realities of things...)
...from my point of view... my way of thinking diverges from others'. Especially from the thinking of philosophers. Mostly it diverges on account of my own ineptitude."

"Today I'd like to propose the reason why my thinking diverged so strongly from the thinking of others: I'm afraid."

"Will I let my thought slowly and slyly (cheating as little as possible) devolve into silence? [Bataille concludes his introduction in a footnote]: "No. Not yet! [...] I'm getting to a foregone conclusion. Is systematic thought forever beyond us (as it was in one way or another for Hegel, who in a sense died drowning...)?"

Fear. And gambling. Chance, waiting.


useful employment

What I was getting at, or around, yesterday, was this notion [feeling] of slippage: what happens to the sense of self or writing-self in, for example, the repetition of the word "intractable" or "slowly"?-- The two seated on a bench, taken for one when viewed from either extreme of distance, this I, not-I?
Dream, reverie, or floating space, the space of slippage. Not to float mindlessly in a sea of negation but, rather, to [swim] in an employable negativity.



eh. You get the idea. Edit more later.



intractability. Speak it. Write the word; write it ten, eleven times. One thousand times and yet again. I write from the position of a person sitting on a bench; half the time it isn't me, it isn't my point of view. Slowly. Write the word, "slowly." Intractable; pulling the words forth from this mute not-I, starting from the point of Robert Ashley's line, "I am sitting on a bench, next to myself, whatever that means." That line from what's possibly my favorite album ever; Ashley's voice like water, and there, in the park, on the bench, the sound of water, rushing, sursurring. Evaporating.


Reading Danielle Collobert's Notebooks: 1956-1978. This, from September 1961:

tonight calm at last -- window open -- a little wind -- gentle -- feeling my bathrobe -- music below -- I just picked up K.'s journal -- always the way to get back to work when it's not happening -- Kafka or Beckett -- to start up again --
nothing is finished -- the problem hasn't been resolved -- but I'm at the end of my rope -- still struggling with it -- because it would be easier to keep going with them than pick up my life where it left off --
these months speak years -- many new things -- to be completely current with present events -- living the news as it happens -- with no time lag -- now it's difficult to become nothing but a spectator again --
what counted was the immediate -- objective justification was impossible -- for what I was doing -- theoretical questions useless -- when I make theory for others -- I end up not believing it -- immediate action justified immediately in its entirety -- uncomfortable position but real --
for months no writing -- impossible to reconcile the two --
walk paying attention -- I've lost sensation -- closeness of the outside world around me -- I'm not connecting with things any more -- could be irreparable loss -- trying now to recover sensations -- objects for instance -- the table's smoothness -- its color -- my hand on the paper --
it's raining -- that helps me -- I feel better -- more differentiated from things -- from the outside --
blur already


There's a run-on immediacy to this writing; so fleeting yet so material: sense of markings. About all I can stand now -- four days of temps c. 95 degrees, and the terrible news from Gaza and Lebanon, and the world's silence. "Theoretical questions useless" -- no solid thoughts. Mention of the news and I'm derailed entirely.

In the heat, I pick up a book. Collobert, Duras [dusk; half-dreaming of Indochina]... it slips from my hand. Generally speaking, I can always find respite in Beckett; Kafka's diaries, on the other hand, sometimes problematic: they can inspire but they can be daunting. And the letters! Utter inability to bear the Letters to Felice; they generate a feeling almost of embarassment. Secret fear that I haven't dared to dream hard enough. Real fear that there are terrible things happening that [...]

"You must know where you stop and the world begins." -- Jenny Holzer, Truisms.

I was sitting on a bench, in the park. There was the sound of water. Children's laughter. Planes overhead. And now, "the table's smoothness -- its color -- my hand on the paper --"

"blur already"


en attendant, hasard 

Finished Bresson's (that is, I watched in its entirety -- I can’t imagine stopping any of his films and resuming them later; it’s pretty much all or nothing) -- Au hasard, Balthazar last night. It’s difficult for me to imagine a film with a greater range of human cruelty, meanness, pride, ignorance, and occasional tenderness and mercy. In short, human life. (Plus it stars Anne Wiazemsky, who later married and worked with Godard, and a donkey. There’s a part played by Pierre Klossowski as well). Bresson’s much-discussed Catholicism seems to me agnostic and austere. It’s there, the spiritual laid bare; one waits for some kind of transcendence, some greater meaning. One may not find it.
Oddly enough, I began the day re-reading William Bronk’s Life Supports, where I read:


She wants me to say something pretty to her because
we both know the unabettable
bleak of the world. Make believe, she says,
what harm? It may be so. I can’t. I don’t.

Curious book-ends to a day. I won’t proffer too great a connection between the two; they share, I think, a feel for the unsayable, the spiritual. They doubt. They work, and continue to doubt. Bronk rarely, if ever, gives you an image. There's a stripping down, presnting only what is essential. There are intensely memorable scenes, moments, gestures in Bresson, but he never settles on merely delivering an image; the sense is that the juxtaposition of two, the transition, the auditory component is where meaning resides. In the between-ness. If only fleetingly.
One must come back to Bresson. Donald Richie makes an interesting point when he remarks that as Bresson used actors (calling them “models”) as material, he works without concern for his viewer; his style is an almost studied lack of style, or of recognizable style; that “Bresson’s technique holds off the spectator.”
Elsewhere, Richie notes “I’m always impressed by the quality of waiting.” The burden of work is up to you, and each of his movies affects each viewer in a different way. There’s a certain space that’s called up. A discrete moment in the work of the whole. We may have to wait for it.

Bronk again:

Anselm believed in order to understand.
He knew the method: -- science, common sense,
for him, theology -- beliefs invent
exclusions, take things piece by piece, regret
they don’t add back again. Someday they will.

How should I turn my head away to look
at anything other than that I am ignorant of,
it being all; or make belief invent
a world or a life besides, it being there?




More of interest here.


Do I want something dreamy or do I want something real? To watch Claire Denis’s L’Intrus or something by Robert Bresson? Dreamy, real -- anything sufficiently real has a dreamlike quality about it (the fragment); both are made things. Created things, things that started out as something else and were broken or somehow moved, pieces changed or cut so that they took on a different form.
[And, as far as what the phrase "sufficiently real" means, that is the subject for a yet-to-be-left-unwritten post].

Editing a piece, a piece that just seemingly stopped of its own accord, over the past few days. If I were to hand my life to someone else to edit, what would they make of it? What would they think of my park, my little waterfall, reflecting pool; my morning cup of coffee; an arrangement of books, a series of half-finished letters...?

Some time ago, retained in memory, a letter from V. beginning, “Dear Shadow, I wrote this slowly...”

And so, now, summer. I have been more or less engaged (besides with the cinema [ see this and associated articles]), a certain long book by a dead Frenchman. It's a casual realtionship, filled with long pauses, and a patience I have all too rarely heretofore felt.


A problem w/ DVDs; they are perhaps too available. I can rent, or buy, certain DVDs now: I will not have the memory of, the ability to say (as I did in regard to Bresson's Mouchette) “yes, it was the spring of 2005 -- no, 2006; there was something else and I had to make a choice and I went to the movie alone. I walked out in silence, hoping that I wouldn’t encounter anyone I knew. I just wanted the particular melancholy of cinema to stay with me, unexplainable,
unexplained, unadulterated.

That inexpressible quality. Exactly, sufficiently, real.


Thank you, x., for noting my absence here. I often have the feeling I could up and move and it would take a couple of months for anyone outside of work to note my absence. I mean, I may have actually moved, or moved on, by the time any former locals read this. Wouldn't that be a kick.
As for the rest of you, there's been a certain awkward engagement with a dead Frenchman. That could well be my excuse (as well as cinema) for the absence. Long, but not uncomfortable, pauses.

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