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


"THERE IS NO NEW WORK. It is the old work rotting and I can't recognise it anymore. It is the old world rotting and I see it for what it is. For the first time maybe. It is departing slowly from me. Waving gently and nodding as though it will all be OK in the end, that it's just nature, just the way of things. The things that made me are in themselves becoming unmade. What appeared permanent and solid and outside of time is coming apart and falling behind itself.

Memory becomes as unreliable as forgetting. Reality lacks the poetry of melting into air. The familiar falls beyond use and lies in the way. I carry within myself an older man. His illness slows me, his dried mouth robs me of speech, his amnesia forces me to live in the today. But after all this I still cannot come to terms with the simple fact that life slips away and time is called everywhere everyday. What some may call a subject or an idea or an answer to the question what is your work about? is only an act of holding on." -- George Shaw, via wood s lot
In what he writes, there are two texts. Text I is reactive, moved by indignations, fears, unspoken rejoinders, minor paranoias, defenses, scenes. Text II is active, moved by pleasure. But as it is written, corrected, accommodated to the fiction of Style, Text I becomes active too, whereupon it loses its reactive skin, which subsists only in patches (mere parentheses).
-- Roland Barthes


I'm writing in two identical Chinese notebooks, cheap, hardbound, essentially disposable. A strip of blue tape on the spine of one distinguishes it from the other; they're internally differentiated by the use of either blue or black ink. One is desk-bound, the other I sometimes carry with me. Tending to work mornings in one, nights in the other but this is hardly a rule, just a tendency. The story, as such, is happening between them -- a writing that dictates its own terms, a story that is neither here nor there. At a certain point, the scissors may come out and a third text will show itself, or, having failed that, something may be fashioned from the remains. Or the books, having served their purpose, will be discarded, & something may follow this duration of writing: a shade of faulty memories, Chinese whispers. As I note this I realize I'm writing what it's not, that it's somewhere behind me, left on a park bench, it remains to be seen, neither here nor there. Parallax: one looks at an object too closely and it cleaves into two. Cleave, a word that's a blade with two sides: cleave to, cleave from.


"Not to be forgotten: the adjective is a commodity."
-- Roland Barthes, The Neutral


"Barthes himself had dreams of writing a novel, but was brought up short by the first obstacle he encountered -- namely, the difficulty of inventing proper names for all his characters and then believing in them." -- Nancy Huston, Losing North


You're going to say I'm straying off topic, that I shouldn't digress, but it reminds me of something at the Sorbonne, Aragon giving a lecture on Petrarch.
To digress, everyone despises Aragon. I love him. End of digression.
So, Louis Aragon lectures on Petrarch. He starts off with terrific tribute to Matisse. He goes on for at least 45 minutes. Finally, a student in the back shouts, "Get back to the subject!" And Aragon, magnificent, after finishing the phrase which had been interrupted, said, "The originality of Petrarch lies precisely in the art of digression."
I'm the same. I'm not straying from the subject, and if I do, that's my real subject, exactly like a car that strays from its usual path because a flood forces it to drive across fields to reach the road to Paris.

-- Jean-Luc Godard / Francois Truffaut, Une Histoire d'Eau

This is the 501st post at Red Threads (the count may include posts left behind or relegated as drafts, wch I never review). So what am I to say - that this beautiful excerpt, arbitrarily numbered, marks a new beginning? --Only as far as each post is a new beginning. If I had not encountered the Blanchot quote that remains as this blog's motto, this notebook might not exist. So today, on the cusp of the solstice, I repeat:

"I have never found the phrase. I elaborate with many erasures." -- Virginia Woolf

"The search says more than the discovery." -- St. Augustine


Tir-aux-pigeons has what I find to be an invigorating & inspiring approach to publishing: their impeccably designed chapbooks are available for free download as PDFs, but if you want the physical, actual paper object in your hand, they can be ordered. I particularly enjoyed Drew Kunz’s Terminals; it limns a space between poetry and fiction. Condensed, but lyrical. Lyrical? I rarely use the word. But it reminds me that Webern wrote songs. Contra Euclid, these are points that have a part.

There are a few blogs that make me glad for internet access. This Space is one. It’s a rare occasion I see something in the review press that raises questions, makes a claim, is devoted not to a market, but writing -- not selling a personality or a product, but to the work. In a post last month, Steve writes a little about blogging and recaps a few years of posts. His review of The Kindly Ones was the most perceptive one I’ve read. Perhaps more from me later; Littell’s book was the most striking read of my spring, but I’m sitting here with a new home computer after scrambling for a few months between staying late at work and using public computers with their attendant distractions and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Technology. Damn. Excuses. Damn again.


S. wants to make things other than what they are; H. wants things exactly -- precisely -- as they are. S. dreams of the depths and shadows of a subject; H. dreams of the hardness and clarity of objects. Sometimes it is enough that they both dream, that they engage on some plane, and in these engagement they interrelate. But there is a tension, a separation between them: they stand back to back, spines a centimeter apart, seeing other landscapes, and while they sense each other, nothing can narrow the chasm that separates them.

a point. to clarify:
S. is based on someone I know and some others I knew, with a few characteristics & events of other friends thrown in. It’s a shorthand way of writing about something and not writing about something at the same time; no one can say “I didn’t say that” because they didn’t. Unless they did. H., wch is silent in French, the letter itself pronounced as ash, features principally in a long prose work I’ve been adding to and deleting from for a few years now. Some, not much, of it appearing in translation here. So when I write about a relationship, I’m writing about writing. And when I’m writing about writing, I’m writing.


What happened to that hunger?-- To laugh over sushi, breath deeply of the scent of night? -- To walk for hours, to talk until the light changed? To walk alone, all the time taking notes, or stopping, simply to be. To pick up a book in the afternoon and read against the fading light, telling oneself “just one more page, then I will get up and turn on the light.” And then, that sweet stiffness as one stands, recovering their height and their body. A cigarette would be good, a walk around the block...

I bought a book today. There was a time when I couldn’t wait -- I’d dash off to the nearest coffee shop or park and delve into it. Tonight it seems enough that I managed to get it out of my bag. But I did have sushi, and I will go and have that cigarette.


A new computer, finally. It’s so 21st century, shiny. An alien object, it repulses the clutter & dust of my apartment. Paper generates dust; this polycarbonate and metal shell, mercurial screen-- it comes from a world without dust. It smells like a gleaming future world. But it changes nothing. It’s like desire; it quickens the heart, promises something, but it’s really just grabbing at ether / or an ethernet connection.

Tuesday, I got the the internet connection turned on and the modem connected. Wednesday, I bought new fountain pen ink went to a movie.

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