November Hut Journal - pt. B

I'm feeling a little regretful--and ill at ease--at having announced this Perforations issue on personal journals.

For one thing, it makes me realize how opaque my own emotional state has been throughout my own journal keeping. Ive gone though many journals and I have yet to find a mans that explores with any alacrity or depth, his feelings about things. And for another thing, there just arent that many journals being KEPT by men. Theres also a kind of mass demographic thinking that rides along with this thing. But Im not trying to encyclopedize journals on the web. I have to keep in mind that Im searching for a very particular style, approach, continuity.

The unease I feel comes from a sort of fractal depth it feels like Im falling into with this, an infinite regress of sorts, Robert through the Looking Glass. I feel like Im falling into myself in some odd way with some of these writings. For sure, its the recombinant power of language itself to mirror us back, even from the most distant shore--comforting and frightening at the same. But...also something else, which I just cant quite put my finger on...a most odd feeling of ..of...deja vu maybe, a remembrance sculpted from the pure associational power of words maybe, something very human and melancholic but which also occupies a very brittle border with something else, something more adamantine, inhuman.

o.k., well, I have to think about this some more... so maybe this was a good thing after all...

Perhaps I should have more personal stuff, which side of the bed I got up on, my abysmal relationship life....on the other hand, it really feels like it permeates this damn thing..

someone sent me some email about the Bone Collector thing, saying that probably the movie folks hadnt intended all the stuff I wrote.

well, I'm not sure how germane the film producers intent would be to a third party hermeneutic effort. after all the one who is producing the interpretive act is in a pretty different bailiwick than the `author' or `artist'---who is herself simply another step in a very long interpretive chain no? And it's always hard to discern what another's intent actually is in any case (especially artists/authors I think). One could say: "well, just listen to what they SAY is the intent of X and that's it!" That assumes, for one thing, that the one who is ushering the intent knows him or herself what the intent is. (I mean, we wouldn't have the whole edifice of psychoanalysis if that wasn't a very rocky and foggy terrain, which makes it treacherous for many enterprises--most predominantly the empire of `truth')

and in the case of a movie there are many intents working throughout: the original book if there was one, the screen writer, the director, the producer, on and on.

Now I don't think it was a GREAT movie...but precisely because of it being perhaps what Deleuze and Guatarri call a `minor literature' it is connected in with the culture in various uncanny ways that pop put of the seams of its making---whereas great art pretty much is great because it can cover up many of the marks of its making/origin etc., making it seem as if delivered from heaven, so to speak. (of course this sort of `high art' seems kinda foreign to us these days I think---but there is an awesome seamlessness to a mozart or a shakespeare that even gives us pause some respects even `high' art (in so much as such a concept is not entirely historical now) has repudiated such seamlessless in favor of the very opposite, accompanied by an extreme suspicion of such acts of seamlessness, for example in the face of a feminist critique: what is being covered over here, what is being suppressed, what is being elevated, what mechanisms are being UNconsciously used and in that very unconscious usage are bringing about those coverings-up / suppressions/elevations, etc.

so in the case of the Bone Collector, I think they probably wanted to have a fairly sophisticated thriller, one which is au courant as re: the culture now, in its casting etc. and one mark of sophistication is being an adept at coding/decoding cultural artifacts (being able to talk about art stuff, movies, etc., the flotsam and jetsam of cultural life in other words) and that the most concrete cultural FORM of that decoding is the forensic detective (the minor literature of decoding if you will) while the so-called `high' art of decoding is...the philosopher; the forensic detective asks: `who committed this grievous act?' and interrogates the crime scene whereas the philosopher would interrogate each word in the sentence, looking in language for the `crime scene' of how meaning is committed ..or not. Now how FEASIBLE that project is another question, given the so-called `hermeneutic circle'--that is in order to find what yr looking for, in some respect you have to be able to recognize it and hence you've already FOUND it and so the philosopher can't really get to anyplace new, unlike, e.g., the artist or poet). (and of course hermeneutics evolved out of biblical exegesis, just as philosopher is almost necessarily involved with certain, let's just call it theological, questions, even if it is only to REPUDIATE of the facets of deconstruction has always been to call into question philosophy's complicity in facilitating the CONSTRUCTION of such double/duplicitous binaries as `high' and `low' --which even still it itself must perpetuate in order to have a subject matter!...which only sez that these constructions [doublings, duplicities, interpretations, binaries of high/low, truth/falsity], etc. etc., gag gag blah blah have an uncanny power over us---even as we can see the gears going round, so to speak.

which sets up a further round of evidence-searching as to how THAT is possible. of course the artist tries--or just DOES since `trying' gets one back into the hermeneutic circle--to go `unconscious' but since the artist--or filmmaker--doesn't operate in a cultural vacuum and gets validation from the larger culture of `decoders', the whole thing starts up again, at an even higher level of abstraction in the `coding/decoding' process, until it SEEMS as if many artists want to move into the arena of just pure `coding' (which would have to involve `direct communication' some sort of telepathy maybe, such that there would not be the NEED OR NECESSITY of interpretation or decoding--not possible I think and not only that...well, I'm veering/have veered way off..)

and so I think that a savvy film-maker (who is involved in yet another round of cultural coding/decoding) will almost of necessity have to have some awareness of such. (I'm thinking now also of another wonderful film, `The Draftman's Contract' by peter greenaway which had a lot to do with clues, evidence, etc. and had a wonderful allusive opaqueness to it.)

I went to a poetry reading tonight. I had asked the leader of the group, J., to be a guest editor so I thought I should at least check out their scene. Almost every event I got now, everyone seems way younger than me...just seems strange, thats all --arent there any artists in this town over the age of 25?!!

About 35 people in a large space. (Its called the Existentialist Church, a center of gay worship, occasional concerts, community events...). Im sitting in the back row. A knocking somewhere behind me, towards the front door.

A woman comes in, taps me on the shoulder -- Im still watching the proceedings -- and says in my ear in a loud, winded whisper that I locked her in the basement. She says it several times then she says I need to give her the key and give it to her NOW. I turn around. I know her. Its E. She seems very upset and demands that I find the key for her. I whisper that Im just a visitor and turn around back in my seat. I guess she realizes that shes mistaken me for someone else. Still standing behind me, she starts patting me on the shoulders then on the head. I guess shes scanning the room for a key person.

The poets werent in evidence of much pain but E. sure was.

But then this particular poetry group doesnt seem to be much into pain, melancholic or other wise. Maybe Ive concentrated too much on pain recently. Maybe I was in more pain, in a way. when I was 25 than now...although confusion and despair and a kind of blankness--that can qualify as pain, right? sure cant call it happiness. But there are even those who would seek to convert that to joy --even if its the joy of that picture that Bataille shows of the man on a stake in ecstasy as his leg is being cut off. With every turn of the screw, we attempt to convert the pain into something else...and wasnt that Nietzsches point regarding pain? Us humans are dull-witted and plodding and we dont do anything unless we are prodded to do so...

But much of modernist art seems to be about geometricizing pain. (I left the poets at break and went to a coffeeshop where Im writing this. As I walked in, an old CD by New Order, Republic, was playing. I was listening to that CD constantly when I was emailing L. in secret. I even emailed her some of the lyrics. Pain and not even geometrical. But now of a peculiar muffled quality, like a heart ripped out and stuffed under a pillow to stop the tell-tale pounding, substituting some sort of 60-cycle motor hum. If you can survive the operation it becomes an interesting phenomena... still continually surrounded by momento mori of one form or another , but they now have a translucent, ghostly quality.

Yes I understand the drive to geometricize existence, art, life: it turns pain into beautiful static forms in space, (the Holderlin quote yet again --Ill keep quoting until I understand it: the extreme limit of pain, nothing remains but the conditions of time and space.), pushes time into a bear grip, forced to wear gloves at the crime scene and begin wiping off all traces, prints, from off the world, from the continual throbbing of memories...heres the problem: in pain lies EXTREME meaning, a surfeit of meaning, meaning that cant be escaped, that presses itself on us with a forcefulness that can take us to the brink of death/madness then over that wonder so much of modern art/ language, is resentful of meaning to the point of smashing it altogether, obliterating it, stop making sense...

Calvino quotes Paul Valery (Im carrying Six Memos... with me everywhere until I finish it): At certain moments my body is illuminated...It is very curious. Suddenly I see into myself .. I can make out the depths of the layers of my flesh; and I feel zones of pain .. rings, poles, plumes of pain. Do you see these living forms, this geometry of my suffering?

I listen to the last song on the Republic CD, greet Nate who walks in then ignore him, staring out the window at the traffic passing in the dark. I dont feel mindless OR geometrical. I dont know what I feel. I feel like a flying dutchman...and as I write that another painful memory associated with dutch and Les.

Im outa here. songs over, On to the next stop for the Dutchman.

sometimes everything feels like a trap, this body, this room, these thoughts, the TV murmuring in the next room. Its frightening when even yr mind feels like a trap--then you fantasize about getting out of the trap. and thats not necessarily good.
not good to be IN the trap, not good to be OUT of the trap . Ive always said that the brain should have an on/off switch...

How often it seems that our psychological well-being depends on the misfortune of someone else. We seem to need some point to pin our bad feelings on, some lightning rod to catch our bad faith, our bad decisions.

Im not happy about this weekend. Saturday night, yet another bad incident with S. at the gallery. I should definitely just keep a far distance away, polite but...distant. Because I find myself caught in the most absurd loops with her. (and judging from the chat room Im not the only one).

well, I think last night was a full moon, or coming up to it. and yes, I do feel something under those circumstances, lets say, an excessive closeness to everything, then leakage even, or contamination by stuff, too sensitive, like one of those sensitive mimosa plants curling up under a slight stroke, curling silver in the moonlight, protective and maybe also a little offensive in my defense.

And tomorrow I have to go to traffic court so maybe thats influencing my mood also.

wheres that goddamn on/off switch....

mebbe I need to make a resolution for the new millennium: less ponderousness, less weightiness, less thinking about what other people think about me---well, I dont really think about that much anyway...but I do worry abut this age thing. hey, theres nothing I can do about that...thats YOUR problem...its only mine if Im trying to get laid by some 25 year old; but since Ive become de facto celibate, even that doesnt matter...

Im just not sure what there should be MORE of ...maybe there shouldnt be more anything, just less of everything... less, more terse
sliced thin

but (this is later)
on days like now I again feel great distances opening between myself and other people, even things. A strrrettching over some void, invisible, incremental, creeping to its full width under a bright autumn sky.

I then seem like some loosely anchored
mobile point, almost on the verge of detachment, some microscopic arcane ocean creature, lightly attached, to some bit of drifting plankton.

I had to go to traffic court downtown yesterday. I parked in the parking lot in front of the gallery and walked the four blocks to the court building, built in the style of Taiwan modern a friend used to call it: numbingly boring with green panels inserted under all the windows. Looks sorta like a beehive for police.

First you go in and wait in one line. Then you go to court and wait in another line while youre told how much you have to ante up. Then the judge sends you to another line on the side of the court. Then the bailiff takes you to another line outside the court room to pay. (They take plastic now, so even if you dont have any money the state gets its cut). This time somebody came from downstairs after a while to take us down there to wait in another line.

I tried to think about Kafka for awhile but it wasnt that interesting to tell you the truth, even in its banality. I had to pee really bad by the end of it though.

However I was thinking afterward how a very small event ramifies backward and forward in time (and maybe sideways for all I know in some sort of Borgesian forking path). The thing hasnt happened yet but it causes ripples in time before we get to it. I worried about the thing virtually since I got the ticket, what I would say, how I would defend myself...then I thought about it a lot afterward, why didnt I say this or that, why couldnt it have been this way or that....

And that was just a fairly small event, and one I knew about. I wonder if events can have proleptic effects if we dont know about them, distributing themselves ahead of themselves somehow, drawing us to them. Somehow they would have created a space, a dimple, where certain things flow to it, like those space/time diagrams where gravity is represented by a marble or bowling ball on a rubber sheet.

I guess such a scheme would fit into an eternal return idea...maybe like a rubber sheet wrapped around a toilet paper roll, every layer affecting every other layer.