“...in every profession followed not for money but for love there comes a moment when the advancing years seem to lead to a void.”
Robert Musil in The man Without Qualities

july 6 2000

Like some stream once swollen with huge overflows from some mysterious source but now subdued, this thing just keeps meandering forth, never quite reaching the sea. Entering another horse latitudes perhaps.

The issue of time still circles endlessly over my head, sometimes obscured by the daily clouds but always there, some slight vibrations, tremors at the edge of the clearing.
My desire to live iintensely in the personal via this journal does seem to have the somewhat paradoxical effect of evacuating some of the personal—not a bad thing all in all. I'm beginnning to have some doubts whether there IS such a thing as the 'personal' on the web. There are certainly things that masquerade as such. But the reception of them by you unknown folks..well, that can hardly be very personal now can it?

Things, events have a way of becoming opaque once you move a slight distance from them. But which also says that 'opacity' must ave a certain sort of 'knowledge' built into it.

july 10

Evidence. It is not exactly true that anything can become evidence. Or rather: anything can become evidence under the proper conditions. But evidence can never be an isolated thing, it can never be the hard nugget of epistemological currency that some science would wish it to be.

My mother is continually finding evidence of my father's presence. Not lost trinkets that show up under a long unmoved magazine, but active involvements in her daily life: bits of twisted curtain cord done up the way he used to twist them; lost articles mysteriously re-appearing; a long unused light suddenly flickering to life. It's certainly not any form of evidence that a scientist could accept; undoubtedly he would cast it to the realm of the done-but-forgotten detritus of everyday life, that perpetual and unleavable catch basin of everything now, a place where evidence can only point inward, to the heart of the debris, never outward. Death only becomes that commodious exit at the bottom of the basin, just a flush away from the grand economy processing of energies.

But still and all—-people refuse to release that slight sprinkling of pixie dust left over from the night before, the residue of dreams and returnings lingers into the daylight, even if it's in a pale and washed out form, a form so etiolated that it's mimicry of the everyday is so close that it can only speak to those who ... well, it can only speak to those to whom it speaks. And even if we cannot say exactly who those people will be, they, at the very least, seem to be those who have gotten caught in the prison bars of the everyday. For them, maybe the plumbing has gotten a little stopped up.

And also, we begin to see the connect of our desires in the construction of a world, or the possiblities of worlds. Even if, in this case, it's the possibility of a world now past.
I don't get a chill or anything at such thoughts, it's jsut that eveything beomes limned in black light at the edge of vision, only weakly fluorescing on possibilities. Such edges — which are also at the center everywhere — are also the only places where the weak force of the messianic operates anymore.

july 11

went riding the bike in the neighborhood after dinner tonight. sometimes it's just a hassle to get in the car and drag over to the trail.

The late evening glow was so lustrous—-like the evening of some old Flemish master painter, so thick and golden in the mid summer heat. Plus there was a storm coming up and lightning skirting the tops of the pine trees in the distance. It's alwasy a delcious expectation when twilight and the threat of summer storm come together. A moist heavy evening with tree frogs and cicadas all over.

No one out and about of course. A lone jogger who had given up and was slowly trudging uphill, her shirt pasted to her back with sweat. It's alway as wondrous to cruise past the picture windows set in the invariably brick facades, past neat lawns, a few scattered children toys here and there. It's almost like a ghost town really....something has beamed everyone up and just left the faint ultraviolet glow of the tv sets inconstantly flickering over Walmart wall art. No one moving inside, no one moving about outside...a little eery but in a pleasant sort of way.

I notice that several lawns, sacattered on 3 or 4 separate streets, have these full size Canadian geese grazing on the lawn — plastic of course but they look pretty lifelike. At first I think this is an update to the pink flamingo, a more toned down version perhaps. I mean, who could get upset at some geese in your yard? But then my imagination begins to work overtime and I think: what if these are REALLY like those hobo signals marked on houses, barns, fenceposts and the like years ago? Maybe the geese are some sort of signal to those in the know. Maybe it's the signal of some migratory figuration (I would say 'rhetorical figure' but the people—I am imagining—would not think that; it would be REAL not a figure of speak or a metaphor). Maybe they were some sect of fundamentalist Christian who had some weird take on the Rapture and this was the way they communicated their esoteric beliefs to those who might casually drive through. Why, i you had similar beliefs you could just ring the door bell and walk on it. Or maybe no one lived there permanently and these people migrated from house to house which were all owned in common, till they found one empty and continued on their mysterious, migratory business.

Or maybe they were a cult of alien abductees; or pedophiles; or government agents. Or maybe their church was having a special plastic goose sale to raise money for that new annex or ... well, the possibilities are endless.

But that they are not all SOMEHOW connected, overtly or covertly, ....well that's just unthinkable. I mean...would YOU put a flock of plastic geese in your front yard—-just out of the blue?? hrummph. hardly I think.


An intermediate bike ride this morning. People are beginning to flock to the trail as it has become known about, people now on even the farthest stretches of the bike path. Humans are a lot like ants, constantly pushing out from the trail, moving into new territories, always tryingto see over the next hilland the next and the next...it’s no wonder the cover the globe and have mapped every square mile.

But while we know that the be the case for physical exploration, it seems to be just as much the case for explorations of the mind, spirit, and soul. How many stories do we have of writers, artists, etc who have ‘gone too far’ and fallen off the edge of the world--death by overdose or just become insane. Of course those are explorers too, just as much as the tribesperson who eats the berries and finds they are good or: eats the berries and it kills him: or eats the berries and he sees god. Humans are always looking for that damn berry patch (or that ur-apple tree in the garden of Eden.)


The kids arrived yesteday and began trying to pin me to the mat as soon as they came in. Courtney looks exactly the same. Nalhan's
grown a couple of inches and his voice is beginning to deepen...right now it's just cracking. he lets out a croak every once in a while and I
have to say 'huh?' and we stop and wrestle for a bit. Their dad isn't staying here this week. I guess he'll stay here next week.
they're kinda exhausting really, but thy're sweet and my mother really enjoys them although she converts to worry wart mode. Nathan got
some fruit juice out of the fridge and the cap was loose and it looked like a little was missing, the momster panicked thinking it had been
poisoned etc, until courtney assured her it had been her who had opened it.
I think of their relationship to their grandma and then of mine to my grandmother and their experience just seems so thin, composed
mostly of sitting around on that damn couch watching tv stuff, now playing video games. they might as well be on a space capsule headed
for mars. They don't walk (unless I force them), they don't bike, ---well, there's no place for them to walk or bike TO! nothing but
suburban streets....went walking with them yesterday evening in a nearby neigborhood and it was like some twilight zone episode---not a
soul could be seen, no cars, no evidence that anyone lived there at all, except for an occasional vicious dog in a fence (one was in a fence
AND had a chain on him. mean...) ugh.
but it doesn't seem to bother them. i would suppose it's similar to the life they lead in texas. Maybe that head-in-a-glass-box idea the
cyber scientists are working on has a big future after all. Maybe a cyberdream of a walk or bike ride will be just as good as the real thing
--rapidly becoming a dubious concept anyway--in the future. Maybe the reason that seems like a bad idea to me now is that I'm becoming
a an old cyber-fogey. Maybe if my legs get cut off by a train it'll seem like a better idea.
Those bike rides I used to take out to my grandparents old farmhouse sure were fun though.


I’m reading the new translation of The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil. An amazing book really. Amazing in the same sense that it seems to go directly to the heart of what it means to be modern in the same way that a classical text by Plato or Shakespeare or [pick one] seem to move invariably into secret recesses of the hidden life that props up the visible life. Like the writings of walter Benjamin, Musil seems to be so completely OF the moment that somehow he is thrown out of the moment. Or maybe it is the case that the modern moment is a very long ‘moment’. Or maybe the modern moment is a transition stage that any time period can go through (although by any accounting, 1900 is well within modernism).

Here is an interesting section that seems just as appropriate now as ever:
“We have gained reality and lot dream. No more lounging under a tree and peering at the sky between one’s big and second toes; there’s work to be done. to be efficient, one cannot be hundry and dreamy but must eat steak and keep moving. it is exactly as though the old, inefficient breed of humanity had fallen asleep on an anthill and found, when the new breed awoke, that the ants had crept into the bloodstream, making it move frantically ever since, unable to shake off that rotten feeling of antlike industry. There really is no need to belabor the point, since it is obvious to most of us these days that mathematics has taken possession, like a demon, of every aspect of our lives. [....] The inner drough, the dreadful blend of acuity in matters of detail and indifference toward the whole, man’s monstrous abandonment in a desert of details, his restlessness, malice, unsurpassed callousness, and money-grubbing, coldness and violence, all so characteristic of our times, are by these accounts solely the consequence of damage done to the soul by keen logical thinking!”

i presume there is some amount of irony in Musil’s comment but as in all such extreme comments there is some amount of truth. If one were a Marxist i suppose one could take it to mean that the introduction of a monetary system based on abstractions (as all monetary systems must be?) and evaluations based on life-as-commodity, entail a certain cold-blooded calculation and cost/benefit analyticity.

And of course there are those who contend we are always everywhere the same as we always were --- what that means exactly and how anyone can presume to say who or what we are as humans I don’t know. Unless somebody can claim to know how the story ends.