We look for fulfillment in different ways, different places, different people, different scales. Me, I find fulfillment in the clarity of silence, the structure of the lens, the experience of silk. I try to escape the burdens of the ego whenever I can, not by assuming another identity so much as letting the idea of identity go, or expand into enthrallment. It’s harder than you think to attain a state of enchantment. This is not a situation where drugs are of much help. I recommend art, goldfish, and string.
The following sentence has gone in quest of fulfillment, folded itself into a parabolic dish, and disappeared. This would be that sentence had it not vanished into thin air. Why is it always thin air? Why does nobody ever refer to thick air? Or disheveled air?
Is gravity truly a force or an acceleration? Is mass a scalar quantity or a soft pillow on a hard mattress in a town without pity?
Where is Ibiza?
How is meaning possible?
And most importantly, where do all the vanished sentences go? The ones that never get written. The ones that go into the dryer but never come out. The ones that are imagined, that float in the mind like roller skates and shaving cream but are forgotten before an utterance gives them structure and poise. Are these the stillborn? Are these the apparitions of a rampant phenomenology? Are these the fragments of popped cartoon balloons or the confused gestation of predicates and nouns in quest of being in groups of other predicates and nouns?
More subtle problems of grouping are presented by what is called scope. Thus take “big European butterfly”: is it to be true of just the European butterflies that are big for butterflies, or is it to be true of all the European butterflies that are big for European butterflies?
Let’s start there. If a sentence disappears, is it possible that the sentence developed a cocoon and became a butterfly? Is anything in the world truly static? Isn’t metamorphosis involved in all aspects of existence?
Nobody can say that a disappearing sentence is not unlike the magnificence of a setting sun. It’s just that every time NASA spots a UFO they cut their feed.
I did spot a few words lying around sparkling, but they belonged to a different idea, a different theme altogether, and were calamities of poorly conceived meaning. This made them all the more interesting, but hard to maneuver into something declarative and bombastic. Some things refuse to cohere. They crack apart revealing gristle and loopholes.
It’s rare to see a sentence disappear, especially before it’s been written, and is still a nebular cluster of words and ill formed grammar. Webs, membranes, tactile associations.
The ocean groans with infinite nuance. Let’s take our cue from that. From surf. From sand. From waves pounding against rocks.
I poured a cup of vinegar down the bathtub drain, then boiled some water in the coffeepot and poured that down the drain. It helps unclog the drain. Steam rose scented with vinegar. It seems to work. Day by day the water drains more quickly. It’s a satisfying feeling. Not that I have anything against plumbers. But the last time we hired a roter rooter operation we got taken for $400 dollars.
Goals are fulfilling in their own peculiar way. Even if you never achieve the goal, just having the goal keeps the blues at bay.
Today I want to forge a new objective and distill a moral of helpful orientation in a post-literate world. It’s strange being a writer in a post-literate world. You find yourself making things that will not garner much of an audience. It feels self-indulgent. What is it, you ask yourself, that I’m contributing? And how important is it to make a societal contribution? Is all art selfish?
Yesterday, after watching a French game show called Question pour un Champion, four separate people in four separate locations each recited a line from “L’homme et la mer” by Charles Baudelaire.
Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer!
La mer est ton miroir; tu contemplels ton âme
Dans la déroulement infini do sa lame,
Et ton esprit n’est pas un gouffre moins amer.
Liberated man, you will always cherish the sea!
The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite rolling of its waves,
And your mind is no less a bitter abyss
Which reminds me. The wash needs doing.
There’s a spectrum of mermaids and chimeras in the privilege of insinuating imaginary folds of time in the process of writing or achieving just a few of the impulses lying hidden in any given language.
I know this feeling: it’s mud. The memory of a boardwalk crashes through me. I feel the energy of healing in a metaphor reaching for heaven. It’s a symptom of yearning that turns into candy.
Yesterday’s epiphany is today’s driftwood.
I feel the daily sexuality of a gaudy intentionality. I shake and scratch with unfettered glee. The trembling of consciousness is awkwardly transmitted. Acceptance, however, is enlarged by a rumination of penthouse vermilion. It grows into phrases, phases, blazes. The feeling of a body, or a conglomeration of bodily sensations, becomes a benchmark of phenomenality. What I want is often confused with concepts that will never quite provide the banquet of my dreams. But what it does do is provide a sanctum for my sunbursts and woodbine.
The sentence sparkles. The placenta circulates a stream of blood. It won’t be long now. Another sentence takes form in the bathymetric valley of insoluble fish.