Mundus vult decipi
What is worse? To write a fiction about the truth of who I am
to try and convince you that this claim about my own truth is not a lie?
Perhaps I would do better not to tell.
I say the 1st one 😉 but that’s just me…ok now I admit this was is scary lol
OK, I’ll tell, but just you. Don’t tell anyone I told you. I think they probably amount to the same thing. Maybe. Or something…
Finally!! Sacary! Yes! (I actually think there’s one a wee bit scarier coming up…)
Bring it on, I’m brave! 😉
the next thing I will say is the truth;
the last thing I said was a lie
Yes, I believe paradox is at the heart of this. And at the heart, or at least the center, of me as well…
Instead of “what is worse,” I would ask “What is better?” to begin with. The last alternative goes against all writing, because the “who I am” is impossible to strip from the word.
Well, I feel that this is about more than just “writing,” which is itself a very big concept. There is at play here, my own delusions, the buddhist idea of self, the idea of identity especially in this WWW digital environment, perception of self and other (with the concomitant and inherent possibilities for miscommunication–it is far to easy to get and/or give the wrong/misleading first impression–so, yes–this is about impressions–the frailty of impressions, also perhaps the unknown/unseen damages that can impressions and words can lead to–even 30-40 years later).
I just read Mark Redford’s latest post which hits on this as well–sorry, on my ipad, don’t know how to put the link in here. I’ll put it in when I get to my comp.
Here’s the link:
Though I just realized his comment is right above yours and you could just follow the link through that–doh! I’m not thinking very clearly today, as my reply clearly attests. I know that I myself still struggle with some concepts of “who I am” that were literally pounded into me by bullies in middle school. 30+ years later. There is I think a potential danger of over-compensating sometimes with things like this. Often some kids have this issue in martial arts. They get into it for the wrong reasons, i.e. to be able to retaliate. The hope is that they will “unlearn” those reasons as they progress but with the advent of the whole MMA mentality, all too often teachers play into the “ass-kicking” emotional draw.
I also came across this post:
Which hits upon some things that I have thought about for a long time. We have certain expectations when it comes to a “story” and I think it is often delusional and sometimes even dangerous to have those same expectations in “real” life.
Things often happen for now good reason at all. That’s just life.
Interesting that I wrote these pieces over a year ago (two maybe?) and as I post them I find others, tangentially at least, discussing the same things.
Thanks as always for your words — which bring to mind the idea that maybe I would be better not to tell.
Or to tell by not telling, or to talk about the insides by speaking of the outsides and that this is often the best way to really get at the insides of things…
Amping me up, Jilanne–Thanks
Here is what I wrote to the monkey: There’s the accepted notion that by the time a children reach the age of 5, they’ve absorbed their culture’s story form. While this notion is based on assumptions, I believe that when one is not a trained storyteller, one is drawn to stories that do have a point, that are tidy, that appear to have some resonating meaning. Precisely because life is so untidy and can appear to have little to no point, readers gravitate toward something that will help them “make sense” of it all. Trained storytellers may become bored with the traditional and seek to strike out in a direction unknown. Although finding a direction to strike out in that has not yet been blazed is a challenge.
And I’m thinking we are who we think we are only vaguely. And we are who someone else thinks we are only vaguely, as well. We are talking the mind and perception, both suffering from gross approximations via language. The only way around this is through not-language.
That last paragraph–YES!!!
” The only way around this is through not-language.”
Could I (we) posit that one form of this “not-language” is poetry? Using words to get at the problem of words. This is something that I think about a lot. That poetry is an attempt to (I know it’s basically a cliche at this point) describe the indescribable, but there’s more to it than that. But that is a “gross approximation” anyway. Often these gross approximations are the best we have to work with.
My daughter is particularly fond of a version of The Princess and the Pea that we have. While it has a bit of a fairy tale ending (the prince does indeed find his princess) the process (mechanics?) of the story is rather untidy, yes. And yet she finds it very satisfying. And I find her satisfaction in this “non-cultural-norm” story encouraging. Her dad being a poet and all.
I recently acquired a book of folk tales from all around the world, and from what I have seen in the stories I have read so far is an astounding variety of “story-norms” among the world’s cultures. Very many of these stories would not be found the least bit satisfying to many kids in our culture. I have been thinking doing some verse interpretations of some of these stories at some point. Many of them are blessedly short and I think may translate well.
I often find that what I enjoy doing a lot in many of my poems is playing on readers’ expectations in all their many linguistic forms.
I’d like to see what you come up with. I’ll wait.
Aw jeez, now I have to do more than just think about it! 😉
It could be a while…
Sometimes the only reason we accomplish something is because someone is waiting for us to do so.
language is to not-language for poetry as inside is to outside for the klein bottle
Oooh, the fourth dimension of language?
Ok, now I feel like what’s-her-name in When Harry Met Sally: “Yes. Yes! YES!!”
I think this is why poets like Williams appeal to me so much. It is the power of this, the nuance of this simplicity of what the outside tells us about the inside. There is a word that will not come to my addled brain at this hour, but I’ll get back to this and it will get back to me in time.
Hah! I got it. Or it got me. Not sure which.
The word is “sublime,” or more accurately, “The Sublime” (with dramatic music…):
“Edmund Burke identified the sublime as the experience of the infinite, which is terrifying and thrilling because it threatens to overpower the perceived importance of human enterprise in the universe.” –from The Poetry Foundation
The minds inability to truly comprehend the infinite.
“…For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.”
Is this not what it would be like to truly perceive/experience four or more dimensions? To be turned inside out? Or perhaps this is why we can but think about it, because it would annihilate us.
One of my teachers from my grad school suggested that the definition of the sublime is seeking truth through beauty. And I suppose that could be the case if “real beauty” is that which threatens to overwhelm and in the process destroy us. But then I took a class called “death and the sublime,” where we took a look at the treatise written by someone (now attributed to Longinus) around 1-3 A.D. In essence, sublimity elevates one to the “majesty of God,” and as Moses supposedly discovered, looking on the face of God will blind mere mortals. There is sufficient terror in that, annihilation.
This would be the origin of the notion among the Romantics as well.
Just found the Longinus piece on PF and loaded it to Instaread for later.
A post on another site has left me thinking that music, not poetry, is the answer to not-language.
“A post on another site…” — Do tell!
And I would so agree–music is the best not-language form of communication there is. Perhaps it is the musicality of language that is brought out in poetry so poetry being the “way through” language to not-language.
To put it pseudo-mathematically:
Words Poetry Music
(without implying the “greater than/less than” of the mathematical symbols” but rather a kind of continuum on which all three sit?)
I play a bit of music and am a huge music lover/listener as well, and have been thinking of ways to incorporate my musical love with my words and perhaps photos as well.
I must take a timeout for this week. Will resume this discussion next week. Am preparing for a conference, and I’m behind more than one 8 ball. Stay tuned…keep thinking while I’m gone.
Aye aye Cap’n. You know I will.
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