a fin passing far out

Yamamoto Masao - 938


I've also been working through Virginia Woolf's diaries -- Volume III at the moment and mostly as a complement to having read The Waves. I was struggling to figure out how I wanted to think about her wonderful book -- I couldn't assent to analysing it -- I never can with books that I love -- and I'm starting to figure out how to speak of this. I was having trouble accepting that there was a creative process behind this -- an idealisation I perhaps fall into too easily. A friend reminded me of the diaries wherein she speaks of her process -- and of the problems and quirks of writing.

I read these diaries already -- all of them -- while I was in New York, but I read them swiftly, on subways and while eating desk-meals. I know how much I've missed -- that's the overwhelming realization of re-reading -- having missed, overlooked, forgotten. But it's a sort of joy and so I will enjoy this experience of learning something more. There's that quote -- education is wasted on the young -- it's partly true -- education is wasted if it is seen to be terminal. It's never finite, there's always a loop.

But what I wanted to say was that I've been rediscovering the beauty of Virginia Woolf's diaries.

September 30, 1926

I wished to add some remarks to this, on the mystical side of this solitude; how it is not oneself but something in the universe that one's left with. It is this that is frightening & exciting in the midst of my profound gloom, depression, boredom, whatever it is: One sees a fin passing far out. What image can I reach to convey what I mean? Really there is none I think. The interesting thing is that in all my feeling & thinking I have never come up against this before. Life is, soberly & accurately, the oddest affair; has in it the essence of reality. I used to feel this as a child -- couldn't step across a puddle once I remember, for thinking, how strange -- what am I? &c. But by writing I dont reach anything. All I mean to make is a knot of my curious state of mind. I hazard the guess that it may be the impulse behind another book. At present my mind is totally blank & virgin of books. I want to watch & see how the idea at first occurs. I want to trace my own process.
[and also]

March 14 1927

I must record the conception last night between 12 & one of a new book. I said I would be on the watch for symptoms of this extremely mysterious process. For some weeks, since finishing The Lighthouse I have thought myself virgin, passive, blank of ideas. I toyed vaguely with some thoughts of a flower whose petals fall; of time all telescoped into one lucid channel through wh. my heroine was to pass at will. The petals falling. But nothing came of it. I shirked the effort -- seemed to have no impulse that way, supposed that I had worked out my vein. [and more]

a fin passing far out

Yamamoto Masao - 938


I've also been working through Virginia Woolf's diaries -- Volume III at the moment and mostly as a complement to having read The Waves. I was struggling to figure out how I wanted to think about her wonderful book -- I couldn't assent to analysing it -- I never can with books that I love -- and I'm starting to figure out how to speak of this. I was having trouble accepting that there was a creative process behind this -- an idealisation I perhaps fall into too easily. A friend reminded me of the diaries wherein she speaks of her process -- and of the problems and quirks of writing.

I read these diaries already -- all of them -- while I was in New York, but I read them swiftly, on subways and while eating desk-meals. I know how much I've missed -- that's the overwhelming realization of re-reading -- having missed, overlooked, forgotten. But it's a sort of joy and so I will enjoy this experience of learning something more. There's that quote -- education is wasted on the young -- it's partly true -- education is wasted if it is seen to be terminal. It's never finite, there's always a loop.

But what I wanted to say was that I've been rediscovering the beauty of Virginia Woolf's diaries.

September 30, 1926

I wished to add some remarks to this, on the mystical side of this solitude; how it is not oneself but something in the universe that one's left with. It is this that is frightening & exciting in the midst of my profound gloom, depression, boredom, whatever it is: One sees a fin passing far out. What image can I reach to convey what I mean? Really there is none I think. The interesting thing is that in all my feeling & thinking I have never come up against this before. Life is, soberly & accurately, the oddest affair; has in it the essence of reality. I used to feel this as a child -- couldn't step across a puddle once I remember, for thinking, how strange -- what am I? &c. But by writing I dont reach anything. All I mean to make is a knot of my curious state of mind. I hazard the guess that it may be the impulse behind another book. At present my mind is totally blank & virgin of books. I want to watch & see how the idea at first occurs. I want to trace my own process.
[and also]

March 14 1927

I must record the conception last night between 12 & one of a new book. I said I would be on the watch for symptoms of this extremely mysterious process. For some weeks, since finishing The Lighthouse I have thought myself virgin, passive, blank of ideas. I toyed vaguely with some thoughts of a flower whose petals fall; of time all telescoped into one lucid channel through wh. my heroine was to pass at will. The petals falling. But nothing came of it. I shirked the effort -- seemed to have no impulse that way, supposed that I had worked out my vein. [and more]

Intersections



So today I clicked through from 3Quarks Daily to an article from Seed Magazine on some recent experiments in quantum mechanics. Apparently, there are some researchers and theorists who do not agree with the accepted notion of quantum reality -- one which requires Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and accepts as a foundational notion the belief that we create through observation -- Joshua Roebke describes the implications of Heisenberg's discovery better than I can:

Pairs of specific quantities are incompatible observables; momentum and position, energy and time, and other measurable pairs cannot be known together with absolute accuracy. Measuring one restricts knowledge of the other. With this quantum mechanics had become a full theory. But what physicists ended up with was a world divided. There was an inherent distinction between atoms unseen and their collective motion we witness with our eyes—the quantum versus the classical.

If I have an accurate grasp of the situation, the researchers interviewed in this article (from the wonderfully acronymed IQOQI) are trying to re-describe quantum reality so that it does not contradict 'experiential' reality.

In one of those great coincidences of my reading life, I found a similar passage in my continuing work on Axel's Castle -- the passage relies heavily on Whitehead's language of process philosophy and comes from Wilson's section on Proust [a section which, incidentally, proved to me that making one's way through the Recherche is just the tip of the iceberg -- more on that later].

He's describing this 'new conviction' of Proust's -- that which permeates his whole book -- "the conviction that it is impossible to know, impossible to master, the external world."

Proust has created in this respect a sort of equivalent in fiction for the metaphysics which certain philosophers have based on the new physical theory. Proust had been deeply influenced by Bergson, one of the forerunners of the modern anti-mechanists, and this had helped him to develop and apply on an unprecedented scale the metaphysics implicit in Symbolism. I have already suggested in the first chapter of this book that the defense of such a philosopher as Whitehead of the metaphysics of the Romantics should apply -- and it should apply a fortiori -- to the metaphysics of the Symbolists.

For modern physics, all our observations of what goes on in the universe are relative: they depend upon where we are standing when we make them, how fast and in what direction we are moving -- and for the Symbolist, all that is perceived in any moment of human experience is relative to the person who perceives it, and to the surroundings, the moment, the mood. The world becomes thus for both fourth dimensional -- with Time as the fourth dimension. The relativist, in locating a point, not only finds its co-ordinates in space, but also takes the time; and the ultimate units of his reality are 'events,' each of which is unique and can never occur again -- in the flux of the universe, they can only form similar patterns.

And in Proust's world, just as the alleys of the Bois de Boulogne which the hero had seen in his youth under the influence of the beauty of Odette have now changed into something quite different and are as irrecoverable as the moments of time in which they had their only existence -- just as his people, in spite of the logic of the processes by which they change, are always changing and will finally fade away, disintegrated by illness or old age; so love, of which we hope so much, changes and fails us, and so society, which at first seems so stable, in a few years has recombined its groups and merged and transformed its classes. And, as in the universe of Whitehead, the 'events,' which may be taken arbitrarily as infinitely small or infinitely comprehensive, make up an organic structure, in which all are interdependent, each involving every other and the whole; so Proust's book is a gigantic dense mesh of complicated relations: cross-references between different groups of characters and a multiplication of metaphors and similes connecting the phenomena of infinitely varied fields -- biological, zoological, physical, aesthetic, social, political and financial.

Intersections



So today I clicked through from 3Quarks Daily to an article from Seed Magazine on some recent experiments in quantum mechanics. Apparently, there are some researchers and theorists who do not agree with the accepted notion of quantum reality -- one which requires Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and accepts as a foundational notion the belief that we create through observation -- Joshua Roebke describes the implications of Heisenberg's discovery better than I can:

Pairs of specific quantities are incompatible observables; momentum and position, energy and time, and other measurable pairs cannot be known together with absolute accuracy. Measuring one restricts knowledge of the other. With this quantum mechanics had become a full theory. But what physicists ended up with was a world divided. There was an inherent distinction between atoms unseen and their collective motion we witness with our eyes—the quantum versus the classical.

If I have an accurate grasp of the situation, the researchers interviewed in this article (from the wonderfully acronymed IQOQI) are trying to re-describe quantum reality so that it does not contradict 'experiential' reality.

In one of those great coincidences of my reading life, I found a similar passage in my continuing work on Axel's Castle -- the passage relies heavily on Whitehead's language of process philosophy and comes from Wilson's section on Proust [a section which, incidentally, proved to me that making one's way through the Recherche is just the tip of the iceberg -- more on that later].

He's describing this 'new conviction' of Proust's -- that which permeates his whole book -- "the conviction that it is impossible to know, impossible to master, the external world."

Proust has created in this respect a sort of equivalent in fiction for the metaphysics which certain philosophers have based on the new physical theory. Proust had been deeply influenced by Bergson, one of the forerunners of the modern anti-mechanists, and this had helped him to develop and apply on an unprecedented scale the metaphysics implicit in Symbolism. I have already suggested in the first chapter of this book that the defense of such a philosopher as Whitehead of the metaphysics of the Romantics should apply -- and it should apply a fortiori -- to the metaphysics of the Symbolists.

For modern physics, all our observations of what goes on in the universe are relative: they depend upon where we are standing when we make them, how fast and in what direction we are moving -- and for the Symbolist, all that is perceived in any moment of human experience is relative to the person who perceives it, and to the surroundings, the moment, the mood. The world becomes thus for both fourth dimensional -- with Time as the fourth dimension. The relativist, in locating a point, not only finds its co-ordinates in space, but also takes the time; and the ultimate units of his reality are 'events,' each of which is unique and can never occur again -- in the flux of the universe, they can only form similar patterns.

And in Proust's world, just as the alleys of the Bois de Boulogne which the hero had seen in his youth under the influence of the beauty of Odette have now changed into something quite different and are as irrecoverable as the moments of time in which they had their only existence -- just as his people, in spite of the logic of the processes by which they change, are always changing and will finally fade away, disintegrated by illness or old age; so love, of which we hope so much, changes and fails us, and so society, which at first seems so stable, in a few years has recombined its groups and merged and transformed its classes. And, as in the universe of Whitehead, the 'events,' which may be taken arbitrarily as infinitely small or infinitely comprehensive, make up an organic structure, in which all are interdependent, each involving every other and the whole; so Proust's book is a gigantic dense mesh of complicated relations: cross-references between different groups of characters and a multiplication of metaphors and similes connecting the phenomena of infinitely varied fields -- biological, zoological, physical, aesthetic, social, political and financial.

More from Wilson



A small update:

Plane tickets have been booked, an apartment was found, I'm moving in just over a month. I should be in Vancouver on August 6th.
_____________________________


Some more comments from Axel's Castle -- they cut a bit close to my own center -- too much like criticism of what I try to do.


Each of the essays of Strachey or Mrs. Woolf, so compact yet so beautifully rounded out, is completely self-contained and does not lead to anything beyond itself; and finally, for all their brilliance, we begin to find them tiresome.

Wilson is making a case against the proliferation of insular criticism -- saying that the work of the critic is more than a simple show-and-tell of what makes one work of art beautiful. He says that criticism is no longer concerned with 'the purpose and destiny of human life in general,' but rather with examining 'literature, art, ideas and specimens of human society with a detached scientific interest or a detached aesthetic appreciation which seems in either case to lead nowhere.'

It doesn't do anything -- doesn't create anything -- it doesn't advise or instruct. It merely dwells in one place -- distinguishing, 'the kind of pleasure to be derived from one kind of book, the kind of interest to be felt in one kind of personality, from the kind to be found in any other." And this is apparently not enough.

More from Wilson



A small update:

Plane tickets have been booked, an apartment was found, I'm moving in just over a month. I should be in Vancouver on August 6th.
_____________________________


Some more comments from Axel's Castle -- they cut a bit close to my own center -- too much like criticism of what I try to do.


Each of the essays of Strachey or Mrs. Woolf, so compact yet so beautifully rounded out, is completely self-contained and does not lead to anything beyond itself; and finally, for all their brilliance, we begin to find them tiresome.

Wilson is making a case against the proliferation of insular criticism -- saying that the work of the critic is more than a simple show-and-tell of what makes one work of art beautiful. He says that criticism is no longer concerned with 'the purpose and destiny of human life in general,' but rather with examining 'literature, art, ideas and specimens of human society with a detached scientific interest or a detached aesthetic appreciation which seems in either case to lead nowhere.'

It doesn't do anything -- doesn't create anything -- it doesn't advise or instruct. It merely dwells in one place -- distinguishing, 'the kind of pleasure to be derived from one kind of book, the kind of interest to be felt in one kind of personality, from the kind to be found in any other." And this is apparently not enough.

'Kate's Poem' and Kid's Picnics.



Hi again Folks,


I am starting with a poem which was written by an old lady while she stayed in an Old Folks Nursing Home years ago, somewhere in Dundee, Scotland. My Mum had a copy of it framed and hung up in her bedroom when we were small and I loved it - I always was under the impression that one of her Mother's relatives had written it, but I am not so sure now. One of her aunts wrote poetry you see and I just assumed this was one of her poems.

It was only when I got connected to the internet that one day I keyed in the first line of the poem and there was information about the old lady having been in a nursing home, and showing her poem. She had been unable to speak apparently and after she had died, it was found in her locker. All the staff were given a copy of the poem as it seemed to speak to the nurses and explain how when they look at an old person that's all they might see... they sometimes don't see the fact that the old person was once young with all their lives ahead of them at one time. I know too that the poem was required reading for student nurses as it explains a lot to them.

This is kind of true for most young people - I know myself that when my young daughter-in-law was looking at a photograph of me taken when I was 18 or so, she kept saying - Gosh! you look sooo young.... It's kind of difficult to explain that some day she will be in the same position and be explaining that very thing to a much younger person - I mean all they can see is someone an awful lot older and they can't imagine an older person enjoying life the same way as they do!

I have scanned and copied the poem so that you can read it, I still can't read it without getting a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye . There again, I'm a soppy mare and can bubble when there is a sad film or programme on, or if I'm reading a good book during a sad bit in it.

While my husband and I were en-route to the market this morning I spied three children walking 'ant fashion' one behind the other, each with a plastic bag which looked suspiciously like a pack of sandwiches and a bottle of juice in each one . I must admit that it brought back memories of when my two younger sisters, young brother and myself went on adventures when we were kids. We only walked about a mile and a half to a park down the road from our house, it had a small stream of water there and I must admit to having enjoyed the wee breaks like that, it was like a great adventure. Anyway the children were swinging the bags and marching along, no doubt their Mum was a bit relieved to have some peace for a while, while they enjoyed some time having a bit of an adventure of their own.




Cheers for now, Love Kate xxx.

Outtakes

Janne Peters - Polaroid2

Some more notes from Axel's Castle --

On Valéry :

Paul Valéry disregards altogether the taste and intelligence of the ordinary reader; instead of allowing his reader the easy victory, he takes pride in outstripping him entirely.

On T.S. Eliot:

His work was 'a kind of scientific study of aesthetic values avoiding impressionistic rhetoric and a priori aesthetic theories, he compares works of literature coolly and tries to distinguish between different orders of artistic effects and the different degrees of satisfaction to be derived from them.

When we read Lucretius or Dante, we are affected by them just as we are by prose writers of eloquence and imagination -- we are compelled to take their opinion seriously. And as soon as we admit that prose writing may be considered on the same basis with verse, it becomes evident that we cannot, in the case of Plato, discriminate so finely as to the capacity of his philosophy for being 'expanded into pure vision' that we are able to put our finger on the point where the novelist or poet stops and the scientist or metaphysician begins; nor, with Blake anymore than with Nietzsche or Emerson, distinguish the poet from the aphorist.

Outtakes

Janne Peters - Polaroid2

Some more notes from Axel's Castle --

On Valéry :

Paul Valéry disregards altogether the taste and intelligence of the ordinary reader; instead of allowing his reader the easy victory, he takes pride in outstripping him entirely.

On T.S. Eliot:

His work was 'a kind of scientific study of aesthetic values avoiding impressionistic rhetoric and a priori aesthetic theories, he compares works of literature coolly and tries to distinguish between different orders of artistic effects and the different degrees of satisfaction to be derived from them.

When we read Lucretius or Dante, we are affected by them just as we are by prose writers of eloquence and imagination -- we are compelled to take their opinion seriously. And as soon as we admit that prose writing may be considered on the same basis with verse, it becomes evident that we cannot, in the case of Plato, discriminate so finely as to the capacity of his philosophy for being 'expanded into pure vision' that we are able to put our finger on the point where the novelist or poet stops and the scientist or metaphysician begins; nor, with Blake anymore than with Nietzsche or Emerson, distinguish the poet from the aphorist.

P.C. and Funnies.




























Hi again,
How about the Holographic Keyboard then ? They do say that there is a new model of PC and keyboard designed and on the market at least every 4 months or so... If not, you can always have a laugh......


Love and Stuff, Kate xxx.

Serums on 'Old' Faces...


Hi folks,

Oh my gosh ! Do I feel ancient, Oh I know I kid about and make comments about being old and all that but Gee whizz ! All of a sudden I look in the mirror (or even worse as you are passing a shop window) and suddenly an 'old woman looks out at you'.... Hells bells, I mean 63 isn't 'old' - is it ? don't you dare say yes ! although after our wee sojourn down through the wilds of England I ruddy well feel like Methuselah...

Especially when I have keyed into the blog in the last few days, I can't help but notice a flippen photograph of a few folk grinning like 'numpties' at the receptionist of the hotel, who took the piccie. Where has the time gone ? when I last looked into the mirror (well properly anyway- with my glasses on) I had white hair certainly, but some of it had a bit of grey in it - and all these craters and time lines weren't there, I'm sure they weren't - were they ? argghhh.....

I called into Boots to check out the line serums that they sell now to ancients to attempt to halt the ravages of time in the female face... I'm so scunnert (old Scottish word for being totally pig-sick). I spent good money on one of the expensive ones and spoke to my friend on the phone last night who told me that she had been fooled into thinking that it was the best thing since sliced bread too. She had been using it for the required period of 28 days (so the manufacturers say) and has seen no difference. She also had seen the Gok Wan programme on the TV who, through his models in his programme had said that one of the cheapest creams on the market turned out to be the best for the appearance of lines... She had also tried this one too, what's a woman to do - just ruddy well sink into oblivion and turn into a dried up old prune? OOOhh it is so unfair for men to age with lines and still look good.

Oh what the 'hay' I will just have to age disgracefully and to 'hang' with the lines. In future, so that I will not be shocked by my 'face craters' again , will just resist the opportunity of getting my photos taken.

I went to the Dentist yesterday, got a front tooth out and plate in and by the way, while the D was at it, he thought he would tidy up my gob by doing a couple of 'wee' fillings and a clean and scale - by the time night-time came I was climbing the wall in pain/discomfort etc... Was also advised by him that I should remove the said plate at night and replace it again in the morning - erm... am now thinking about the replacing of the said implement and crapping it...

Just had a quick re-read of the foregoing moans and decided that I should shut my gob and just get on with it ... So, if anyone is still reading thank you for your patience and hopefully my next wee message with be full of the joys of life - in the meantime I will attempt to 'hang loose' as it were...

Cheers everyone - Love 'n Stuff, Kate xxx.
P.S. The Photo above is 10 years old - what a difference 10 years makes Eh?

On art and life

pulcinella07


[Serafini via Giornale Nuovo]

What do I really know about that pairing? what unites them, what stands between them, what influences them? I've been reading Axel's Castle slowly -- very slowly. I haven't even read much of it -- a mere 80+ pages, but despite my seeming lack of interest, I am jotting down notes to every page.

Wilson quotes William Pater -- his conclusion to 'The Renaissance'

To regard all things and principles of things as inconstant modes or fashions has more and more become the fashion of modern thought ... The service of philosophy, of speculative culture, towards the human spirit, is to rouse, to startle it to a life of constant and eager observation. Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood or passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive to us -- for that moment only. Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to be seen by the finest senses?'


What makes us notice this and not that? What drives noticing, experience, the pull of desire and craving? What determines the aesthetic choices and, furthermore, what follows the basic noticing? If there is a consequent/contingent creativity, is it determined by the original? Is there a general hierarchy of perception? Is it foolish to seek something like that (a folly we have committed and continue to commit?)

Related -- something has been bothering me for a few weeks -- the problem of delusion. I first started worrying about this when I was reading Powers' Echo Maker. I was wondering about delusions (which I was thinking of as fragmentary figments -- accepted misbeliefs, the creator's responsibility) and I was wondering how (if?) they were different from these neurological anomalies -- the synesthetic man who was also color blind -- he saw numbers as colors, but couldn't see red or green -- thus when he saw the numbers which were synesthetized with red and green, he had no visual cue and could only see the pure red -- the pure green. He called them martian colors for they were entirely unlike any blues, purples, or oranges he had ever seen. They occurred in his mind without ever having been experienced. What is this like?

We can be tricked by experience, by our interpretation of experience, by the influence of a different interpretation of the same, shared experience. What do my interpretations tell me about me? What does the divide tell me -- the triple divide -- my experience -- my mental gymnastics -- my statement. What happens during the process from perception to thought to communication? How much is lost? What is added? What do the choices tell me?

In Wilson's section on Valéry , I found this:

The mind of Leonardo in itself is something immeasurably greater than any of its manifestations in particular fields of activity -- painting, writing, engineering or strategy. Action cramps and impoverishes the mind. For by itself the mind is able to deal with an infinite number of possibilities -- it is not constrained by the limitations of a field. And consequently the method, the theory, of doing anything is more interesting than the thing done.


This is M. Teste paraphrased from Valéry's 'The Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci.' I'm naturally put off by the extremity of his point, but there is merit -- there's something very foreign, and thus very compelling, about the inactive mind (not inert but non-acting) -- the array of possible prior to any actual. There are no ties, no tethers, no obligations, no determinations.

Wilson says that Valéry sought to explore this lofty world -- unknown to us as we are not all mind, but rather a crude mixture -- he sought to press to dualism -- the divide between 'the absolute laws of the mind and the limiting experiences of life, opposites impossible to dissociate from one another.'

On art and life

pulcinella07


[Serafini via Giornale Nuovo]

What do I really know about that pairing? what unites them, what stands between them, what influences them? I've been reading Axel's Castle slowly -- very slowly. I haven't even read much of it -- a mere 80+ pages, but despite my seeming lack of interest, I am jotting down notes to every page.

Wilson quotes William Pater -- his conclusion to 'The Renaissance'

To regard all things and principles of things as inconstant modes or fashions has more and more become the fashion of modern thought ... The service of philosophy, of speculative culture, towards the human spirit, is to rouse, to startle it to a life of constant and eager observation. Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood or passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive to us -- for that moment only. Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to be seen by the finest senses?'


What makes us notice this and not that? What drives noticing, experience, the pull of desire and craving? What determines the aesthetic choices and, furthermore, what follows the basic noticing? If there is a consequent/contingent creativity, is it determined by the original? Is there a general hierarchy of perception? Is it foolish to seek something like that (a folly we have committed and continue to commit?)

Related -- something has been bothering me for a few weeks -- the problem of delusion. I first started worrying about this when I was reading Powers' Echo Maker. I was wondering about delusions (which I was thinking of as fragmentary figments -- accepted misbeliefs, the creator's responsibility) and I was wondering how (if?) they were different from these neurological anomalies -- the synesthetic man who was also color blind -- he saw numbers as colors, but couldn't see red or green -- thus when he saw the numbers which were synesthetized with red and green, he had no visual cue and could only see the pure red -- the pure green. He called them martian colors for they were entirely unlike any blues, purples, or oranges he had ever seen. They occurred in his mind without ever having been experienced. What is this like?

We can be tricked by experience, by our interpretation of experience, by the influence of a different interpretation of the same, shared experience. What do my interpretations tell me about me? What does the divide tell me -- the triple divide -- my experience -- my mental gymnastics -- my statement. What happens during the process from perception to thought to communication? How much is lost? What is added? What do the choices tell me?

In Wilson's section on Valéry , I found this:

The mind of Leonardo in itself is something immeasurably greater than any of its manifestations in particular fields of activity -- painting, writing, engineering or strategy. Action cramps and impoverishes the mind. For by itself the mind is able to deal with an infinite number of possibilities -- it is not constrained by the limitations of a field. And consequently the method, the theory, of doing anything is more interesting than the thing done.


This is M. Teste paraphrased from Valéry's 'The Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci.' I'm naturally put off by the extremity of his point, but there is merit -- there's something very foreign, and thus very compelling, about the inactive mind (not inert but non-acting) -- the array of possible prior to any actual. There are no ties, no tethers, no obligations, no determinations.

Wilson says that Valéry sought to explore this lofty world -- unknown to us as we are not all mind, but rather a crude mixture -- he sought to press to dualism -- the divide between 'the absolute laws of the mind and the limiting experiences of life, opposites impossible to dissociate from one another.'

and storms

Forms & Shapes - Chart iv

[Peter Skwiot Smith - Chart]


I've been finding Lucy Snowe and Villette in unexpected places.

The long Poe post below was due entirely to the affinities it has to Lucy's descriptions of her own swoon:

If the storm had lulled a little at sunset, it made up now for lost time. Strong and horizontal thundered the current of the wind from the north-west to the south-east; it brought rain like spray, and sometimes, a sharp hail like a shot; it was cold and pierced me to the vitals. I bent my head to meet it, but it beat me back. My heart did not fail in this conflict; I only wished that I had wings and could ascend the gale, spread and repose my pinions on its strength, career in its course, sweep where it swept. While wishing this, I suddenly felt colder where before I was cold, and more powerless where before I was weak. I tried to reach the porch of a great building near, but the mass of frontage and the great-spire turned black and vanished from my eyes. Instead of sinking on the steps as I intended, I seemed to pitch headlong down an abyss. I remember no more.

Where my soul went during that swoon I cannot tell. Whatever she saw, or wherever she travelled in her trance on that strange night, she kept her own secret; never whispering a word to Memory, and baffling Imagination by an indissoluble silence. She may have gone upward, and come in sight of her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away from heaven's threshold, and, guiding her weeping down, have bound her, once more, all shuddering and unwilling, to that poor frame, cold and wasted, of whose companionship she was grown more than weary.

I found another startling passage which recalled Villette to me -- a description of Valéry's renunciation of writing in Axel's Castle.

This moral and intellectual crisis was precipitated, Valéry Larbaud tells us, by an unhappy love affair. Through sleepless nights Valéry struggled with his emotions: 'the will was driven back on itself, schooled itself to leap clear, to break idols, to free itself, at no matter what cost, from those falsehoods: literature and sentiment. The supreme crisis, the costly victory took place during a stormy night -- one of those storms of the Ligurian coast which are not accompanied by very much rain, but during which the lightning was so frequent and so bright that none of the things which had hitherto made up the life of the young man mattered any longer. He left Montpellier and went to live in Paris, where he would be able, when he chose, to shut himself away in solitude, in order to give himself up to that 'penetration of himself' which has now become his only concern.


That final line -- his intention -- Valéry describes it himself:

Reading and writing were becoming dull work for me, and I confess still bore me a little. The study of my self for its own sake, the comprehension of that attention itself and the desire to trace clearly for myself the nature of my own existence, almost never abandoned me. this secret disease alienates one from letters, despite the fact that it has its source in them ... I felt, at the time, a sort of contrast between the practice of literature and the pursuit of a ertain rigor and of a complete intellectual sincerity.

________
Off-topic, I've seen a lot of references to articles on the effect of the internet and blogging on the way we read. I also often see authors of blogs and other online resources apologizing for the length of quotes -- I've done this myself -- I won't anymore. Art, literature and life cannot always be condensed into aphorisms.

and storms

Forms & Shapes - Chart iv

[Peter Skwiot Smith - Chart]


I've been finding Lucy Snowe and Villette in unexpected places.

The long Poe post below was due entirely to the affinities it has to Lucy's descriptions of her own swoon:

If the storm had lulled a little at sunset, it made up now for lost time. Strong and horizontal thundered the current of the wind from the north-west to the south-east; it brought rain like spray, and sometimes, a sharp hail like a shot; it was cold and pierced me to the vitals. I bent my head to meet it, but it beat me back. My heart did not fail in this conflict; I only wished that I had wings and could ascend the gale, spread and repose my pinions on its strength, career in its course, sweep where it swept. While wishing this, I suddenly felt colder where before I was cold, and more powerless where before I was weak. I tried to reach the porch of a great building near, but the mass of frontage and the great-spire turned black and vanished from my eyes. Instead of sinking on the steps as I intended, I seemed to pitch headlong down an abyss. I remember no more.

Where my soul went during that swoon I cannot tell. Whatever she saw, or wherever she travelled in her trance on that strange night, she kept her own secret; never whispering a word to Memory, and baffling Imagination by an indissoluble silence. She may have gone upward, and come in sight of her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away from heaven's threshold, and, guiding her weeping down, have bound her, once more, all shuddering and unwilling, to that poor frame, cold and wasted, of whose companionship she was grown more than weary.

I found another startling passage which recalled Villette to me -- a description of Valéry's renunciation of writing in Axel's Castle.

This moral and intellectual crisis was precipitated, Valéry Larbaud tells us, by an unhappy love affair. Through sleepless nights Valéry struggled with his emotions: 'the will was driven back on itself, schooled itself to leap clear, to break idols, to free itself, at no matter what cost, from those falsehoods: literature and sentiment. The supreme crisis, the costly victory took place during a stormy night -- one of those storms of the Ligurian coast which are not accompanied by very much rain, but during which the lightning was so frequent and so bright that none of the things which had hitherto made up the life of the young man mattered any longer. He left Montpellier and went to live in Paris, where he would be able, when he chose, to shut himself away in solitude, in order to give himself up to that 'penetration of himself' which has now become his only concern.


That final line -- his intention -- Valéry describes it himself:

Reading and writing were becoming dull work for me, and I confess still bore me a little. The study of my self for its own sake, the comprehension of that attention itself and the desire to trace clearly for myself the nature of my own existence, almost never abandoned me. this secret disease alienates one from letters, despite the fact that it has its source in them ... I felt, at the time, a sort of contrast between the practice of literature and the pursuit of a ertain rigor and of a complete intellectual sincerity.

________
Off-topic, I've seen a lot of references to articles on the effect of the internet and blogging on the way we read. I also often see authors of blogs and other online resources apologizing for the length of quotes -- I've done this myself -- I won't anymore. Art, literature and life cannot always be condensed into aphorisms.

Visit to Newark... Travel Lodge.



Hi Everyone,

Well , we are home and although we survived the journey with no accidents the visit was not empty of mishaps - have you ever stayed in a Travel Lodge ? No, neither had I and I hope never to visit one again if it was like the one we had been booked into and stayed 2 nights, it was supposed to have been 3 nights, but we all had had enough by the time we had spent 2 nights there. I had been led to believe that they are OK with quite a moderate standard of accomodation - hehe, I suppose it depends what you are used to (and how lucky you are) !

I got the impression that the hotel was in the process of being closed down, for instance the Bathroom had big notices stuck to the old tiling warning people not to touch the towel rail as it was very hot ! no towel rail was there (or perhaps it was invisible) . There was a smell of damp pervading the whole place , but when you opened the windows wee flies would get in. We were supplied with sugars of all types and one tea bag and no coffee. There were a lot of things wrong but I don't intend listing them and moaning any more here, everywhere just looked so dull and dreary and this was not a cheap bed for the night by any means - they charged £50 a night for your bed and accomodation, it reminded me of the set of Fawlty Towers....

It was such a shame as the visit, apart from the hotel went off really well and we had a few laughs and enjoyed ourselves so it was unfortunate that we cut the visit short. The wedding reception was held in a place called Kelham Hall, in Kelham near Newark and it is an amazing place, it has been used as the County Buildings and it has an incredible inside to it - the architecture of the building itself is really outstanding.




It's lovely to go and visit other places but I must say that I am soooo glad to get home.

Cheers, Kate xxx.

Swoon

redon_-_temptation_10_-_everywhere_eyeballs

[all words by Poe, all images by Redon]

I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution- perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness- of immovable resolution- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white and slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, night were the universe.

redon_-_embryonic_beings

I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber- no! In delirium- no! In a swoon- no! In death- no! even in the grave all is not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf beyond. And that gulf is- what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower- is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.

redon_-_temptation_2_-_the_devil


Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me could have had reference only to that condition of seeming unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down- down- still down- till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart, on account of that heart's unnatural stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of the limitless, and paused from the wearisomeness of their toil. After this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness- the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.

Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound- the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion, and touch- a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought- a condition which lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the judges, of the sable draperies, of the sentence, of the sickness, of the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all that a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to recall.


So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the inquisitorial proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition. The sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval of time had since elapsed. Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding what we read in fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence;- but where and in what state was I? The condemned to death, I knew, perished usually at the autos-da-fe, and one of these had been held on the very night of the day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my dungeon, to await the next sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at once saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my dungeon, as well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors, and light was not altogether excluded.

Swoon

redon_-_temptation_10_-_everywhere_eyeballs

[all words by Poe, all images by Redon]

I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution- perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness- of immovable resolution- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white and slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, night were the universe.

redon_-_embryonic_beings

I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber- no! In delirium- no! In a swoon- no! In death- no! even in the grave all is not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf beyond. And that gulf is- what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower- is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.

redon_-_temptation_2_-_the_devil


Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me could have had reference only to that condition of seeming unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down- down- still down- till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart, on account of that heart's unnatural stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of the limitless, and paused from the wearisomeness of their toil. After this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness- the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.

Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound- the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion, and touch- a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought- a condition which lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the judges, of the sable draperies, of the sentence, of the sickness, of the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all that a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to recall.


So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the inquisitorial proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition. The sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval of time had since elapsed. Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding what we read in fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence;- but where and in what state was I? The condemned to death, I knew, perished usually at the autos-da-fe, and one of these had been held on the very night of the day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my dungeon, to await the next sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at once saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my dungeon, as well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors, and light was not altogether excluded.

Child of life

Yamamoto Masao - 1175

[Yamamoto]



From Thomas Mann's The Transposed Heads:

'You do say such shrewd things sometimes, if I may use the word 'shrewd' about something which is at once absurd and perfectly correct. I like it very much, sometimes it makes my diaphragm contract suddenly, almost like a sob. Thus we see how close together are laughing and weeping; so that it is an illusion to make any distinction between pleasure and pain, and like one and hate the other, when, after all, both can be called good and both bad. But there is a combination of laughter and tears which one can most readily assent to and call good among all things that move us in life. We have a word for it, we call it touching; it has to do with sympathy on the cheerful side, and is just what makes the contraction of my diaphragm so much like a sob. And it is that that hurts me about your shrewdness.'

'But why does it hurt you?' Nanda asked.

'Because after all you are actually a child of Samsara and thus completely taken up with life,' answered Shridaman; 'you do not belong among the souls who feel the need to emerge above the frightful ocean of laughing and weeping as lotus flowers rise above the surface of the stream and open their cups to the sky. You are perfectly at home in the depths, where such a complex profusion and variety of shapes and forms exist. You are well off, and that is why one feels good at the sight of you.'

-- What a fantastic story -- so clear and simple and yet so rich and surprising. I'm starting, finally, to understand the scene at the end of Hans' dream in the 'Snow' chapter -- and the passage about life pregnant with death. Thank you, Christopher, for the recommendation

Child of life

Yamamoto Masao - 1175

[Yamamoto]



From Thomas Mann's The Transposed Heads:

'You do say such shrewd things sometimes, if I may use the word 'shrewd' about something which is at once absurd and perfectly correct. I like it very much, sometimes it makes my diaphragm contract suddenly, almost like a sob. Thus we see how close together are laughing and weeping; so that it is an illusion to make any distinction between pleasure and pain, and like one and hate the other, when, after all, both can be called good and both bad. But there is a combination of laughter and tears which one can most readily assent to and call good among all things that move us in life. We have a word for it, we call it touching; it has to do with sympathy on the cheerful side, and is just what makes the contraction of my diaphragm so much like a sob. And it is that that hurts me about your shrewdness.'

'But why does it hurt you?' Nanda asked.

'Because after all you are actually a child of Samsara and thus completely taken up with life,' answered Shridaman; 'you do not belong among the souls who feel the need to emerge above the frightful ocean of laughing and weeping as lotus flowers rise above the surface of the stream and open their cups to the sky. You are perfectly at home in the depths, where such a complex profusion and variety of shapes and forms exist. You are well off, and that is why one feels good at the sight of you.'

-- What a fantastic story -- so clear and simple and yet so rich and surprising. I'm starting, finally, to understand the scene at the end of Hans' dream in the 'Snow' chapter -- and the passage about life pregnant with death. Thank you, Christopher, for the recommendation

Visit to Newark and Porcelain...




Hi Folks,

Well, I'm in the middle of getting organized for a visit to Newark (Nottingham, England not the New Jersey one). I mistakenly thought it wouldn't take much organizing hehe... no chance! We are leaving first thing on Friday morning and are booked into a Travel Lodge Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, so it'll be more like a mini-break combined with a family visit.

My husband's nephew went to Canada on holiday with his girlfriend and they got married and there is a family wedding reception being held on Saturday night for them. My husband the other day was moaning about one of the holiday cases still lying in the spare bedroom from our last jaunt down to Blackpool and was intending to shift it back to the loft. No chance, why is it that men particularly can't think ahead, when I said " No, we need it for the Newark visit " he nearly had apoplexy! You see my hubbie like most men, think if you are going away for a few days you only need a change of clothes (ie shirt /vest /pants and socks). So ! we had to go through the days and explain that-


1) We are travelling to Newark - just over 300 miles. so we will be meeting up with family and will go out on Friday night , so we will need a change of clothes.

2) Saturday morning - clean clothes ! Saturday night, ' Dressed up clean clothes. '

3) Sunday morning - more clean clothes and probably will be visiting relatives at night and perhaps going out to a club later - so more clean clothes for that.

4) Monday morning clean clothes - which will do OK for the afternoon for traipsing round saying cheerio to everybody.... We will be lucky to actually leave Newark before 3PM


So Girls, you understand how it is, don't you ? The case stayed where it was in the spare-room. In the meantime I've been having a decco at what clothes and other things we need to take and let's just say I hope there will be room in the case for everything - hehehe.


Now recently one of the Bloggers - Judy, who has a great collection of clocks had posted them to her site and I mentioned that I collected porcellain (sp? Oh what the hang). So I am posting a couple of pictures showing my Piano Babies, a few of which are Heubach (German) ones, I started by getting given one years ago and it has gone on from there, the collection was starting to creep out of the cabinet so I have been trying to draw in my horns as it were and not get any more. The thing is it is very difficult when you have a kind of collecting personality, I also collect china dogs and glass ornaments - signed ones and I have a few good ones but I find it really hard to stop getting 'the babies'.. soppy mare, that's me you see.... Do you collect things ?


Well, I had better stop now because, my wee grandson will be here shortly and chaos will reign so until after our sojourn down to England I will say Cheers for now.



Love and stuff, Kate xxx.

P.S. 'The Kilties' are just for fun - I know you'all wonder wot's under ! Byeee..

Filaments



[Odilon Redon - The Chimera - via MOMA]



I've been feeling very quiet lately -- maybe a bit stupefied by heat at first, now by fatigue.

Today marked the beginning of a new schedule -- up before the sun three times a week to coach my swimmers plus the normal 8-5 work day I've been trodding through. It makes for a hazy sort of mind.

I fall asleep each night to the sound of frogs -- a constellation of frog-voices -- tree frogs, spring peepers, and the few low notes from the scattered bullfrogs.

I wake up to the sound of birds -- they own the morning.

I've continued to take my notes on The Waves -- turning one entire notebook into my notebook on The Waves. It seems to have filtered into my moving, thinking, speaking mind. I mentioned to one friend that reading this book felt too comfortable, too familiar -- that I wasn't very surprised by it. Meaning that I sort of expected everything all along.

Today I copied out some of Bernard's passages at the end about fighting, about losing the self and what the world is like without a self -- the world during the eclipse, colorless, masses of dangerous unknown, drab and disconcertingly other. I assimilated his idea of fighting and challenging very quickly -- I found myself using it in strange contexts just the day after reading -- I wonder if I had done this before -- if I had characterized the impetus of life as sequential challenges? I think I did -- I think I still do, though I tend to roll back if the challenge is too great -- I mean that I'm not ostentatious about the fight. I want it always to look effortless.

I quite like Bernard at the end -- Bernard seems balanced and still reflective -- he seems tempered, maybe even tethered. He has seen a lot, noted even more, and at the end he knows what it's all for. In the end he's still telling a story out of what he has noticed. Bernard sees that he can continue to notice, that he must continue to notice and to name and to write in his alphabetized notebooks -- we require this.

Last week I watched a TED talk about belief and ritual -- Wade Davis spoke about his times with the Elder Brothers, a South American tribe that believes that their prayers hold the world together -- keep the order. They believe that the rest of us are lost and they mourn for us but they persevere -- they maintain things as we know them.

I thought about this with regard to storytelling -- I thought about how necessary it is to us -- even in our doubts (and don't we love to doubt? to dissect? to judge and to pull apart?) -- we need this ordering, this structuring, we need narrative.

But again, we need the darknesses, the confusion and the unknown. We need watery looking-glass worlds and twisting labyrinths and doppelgängers. We need them to know ourselves and to know our experiences. We need them to fight against -- we need them to stand as the core around which we spin our fine filaments of life. For what lies behind a story if not a space -- a nothing -- a darkness. Cores of darkness surrounded by bright spun filaments. It's what we have to do.

Filaments



[Odilon Redon - The Chimera - via MOMA]



I've been feeling very quiet lately -- maybe a bit stupefied by heat at first, now by fatigue.

Today marked the beginning of a new schedule -- up before the sun three times a week to coach my swimmers plus the normal 8-5 work day I've been trodding through. It makes for a hazy sort of mind.

I fall asleep each night to the sound of frogs -- a constellation of frog-voices -- tree frogs, spring peepers, and the few low notes from the scattered bullfrogs.

I wake up to the sound of birds -- they own the morning.

I've continued to take my notes on The Waves -- turning one entire notebook into my notebook on The Waves. It seems to have filtered into my moving, thinking, speaking mind. I mentioned to one friend that reading this book felt too comfortable, too familiar -- that I wasn't very surprised by it. Meaning that I sort of expected everything all along.

Today I copied out some of Bernard's passages at the end about fighting, about losing the self and what the world is like without a self -- the world during the eclipse, colorless, masses of dangerous unknown, drab and disconcertingly other. I assimilated his idea of fighting and challenging very quickly -- I found myself using it in strange contexts just the day after reading -- I wonder if I had done this before -- if I had characterized the impetus of life as sequential challenges? I think I did -- I think I still do, though I tend to roll back if the challenge is too great -- I mean that I'm not ostentatious about the fight. I want it always to look effortless.

I quite like Bernard at the end -- Bernard seems balanced and still reflective -- he seems tempered, maybe even tethered. He has seen a lot, noted even more, and at the end he knows what it's all for. In the end he's still telling a story out of what he has noticed. Bernard sees that he can continue to notice, that he must continue to notice and to name and to write in his alphabetized notebooks -- we require this.

Last week I watched a TED talk about belief and ritual -- Wade Davis spoke about his times with the Elder Brothers, a South American tribe that believes that their prayers hold the world together -- keep the order. They believe that the rest of us are lost and they mourn for us but they persevere -- they maintain things as we know them.

I thought about this with regard to storytelling -- I thought about how necessary it is to us -- even in our doubts (and don't we love to doubt? to dissect? to judge and to pull apart?) -- we need this ordering, this structuring, we need narrative.

But again, we need the darknesses, the confusion and the unknown. We need watery looking-glass worlds and twisting labyrinths and doppelgängers. We need them to know ourselves and to know our experiences. We need them to fight against -- we need them to stand as the core around which we spin our fine filaments of life. For what lies behind a story if not a space -- a nothing -- a darkness. Cores of darkness surrounded by bright spun filaments. It's what we have to do.

Memories of tailed animals and a field visit..




Hi Folks,

Well it being Fathers Day yesterday I was feeling a bit low and had been thinking about my Dad and animals (dogs especially) and my memory was being churned up good and proper along with some sad tears. I 'm not usually so melancholy - I guess it has something to do with the fact that Moira's death was so recent and I'm not over that yet.


Anyway, I was checking out some blogs and came across a couple which sorta hit home hence the photo above of me with all my tail wagging friends - all of them have gone ahead to Rainbow Ridge and will no doubt be enjoying themselves now, so I couln't resist showing a picture of some of these cuddly creatures.


Next, my ancient mind wandered to our old playground 'the field' which adjoined the drying green at the rear of our house... I thought I would pay a wee visit and have a look at what it looked like now. I didn't half get a shock when I saw how all the wee trees had grown, they were all just baby trees put in with a round fence around each of them so that the wild kids of the neighbourhood couldn't get near enough to them to do any damage... Honest Occifer, I wouldn't have done any damage - I was brought up properly - Gosh ! If I had done anything to cause any damage my parents would have skelped me bum!! (ass) good and hard.


I sat on one of the long seats in the pathway which went round the field and thought back to when we had adventures in that place and had run around there using all our energy and imagination and realized that - all of a sudden that I was old.... where had the time gone? I met a crowd of kids just sitting and talking - there were about 10 of them and they were just yakking away ! When I passed each of them said Hi ! so I also said Hi ! I then made my way along a bit, I could hear them talking their voices being carried and echoed due to the lie of the land - I could hear them saying - Gosh she's taking photographs, blimey, she is going to photograph Hampden Stadium - I wonder why? They take all this glorious scenery around where they stay for granted, they also take for granted the fact that the Scottish National Football Stadium is very close and that they think it is unusual for anyone to be interested in photographing such a thing.


I felt like saying to them that they were really lucky to live in such lovely surroundings , but of course I would have come across as being a ' know-it-all ' and sort of trying to lecture them or something. So I just carried on walking and enjoying the afternoon.


By the way, the 'field' spoken about is the one which I remembered in a previous blog posted on January 27th called "Childhood Memories" should anyone be interested... hence the reference to ' the miceless house ' ...


Cheers to All Kate xxx.

Fathers Day...


Hi Folks,


Mum and Dad just after they got married - then Mum and Dad, taken with Graeme, their first grandchild - my son, who recently got married.

Someone mentioned the other day about the fact that Fathers Day was coming up and of course me being an ancient biddy and having lost my Dad some years ago I couldn't help but think back to memories long gone in connection with my Dad .

My Dad was quite a character, he was what folk call a manual worker, he was a plumber and a good one from all I've heard. He was a man who in his youth was full of the joys of life, couldn't sing for toffee, but all of a sudden would sing out "Oh Rosemarie, I love you" he wasn't too sure of the most of the rest of the old song but he would always sort of make an attempt and proceed to therefore murder the song along with his other favourite - which was "Alice Blue Gown." AWWW. that is such a sweet and soppy song that most of the people at the parties, where it was his party-piece were nearly in tears. Thankfully not because he couldn't hold the tune but because of the words....

When we, his kids were growing up it wasn't the done thing to show feelings and if any of the five of us were ever to say " Dad or Mum I Love You" they would have had heart failure (kidding).. He would always stand back and it was Mum, who, when we phoned to have a chat after we married and were out of the house was the one who everyone 'chatted ' to and my poor wee Dad was kind of left by the wayside. I'm sad to say I had forgotten to add the next bit about my Dad until my sister reminded me of it today. Every morning in life my Dad would make tea and take a cuppa into Mum in bed and in the Winter, all of us kids would get out of bed and be told to sit down in front of the fire which he had set and lit so that we could drink our tea and eat our porridge . All this before he went off out to work, my cheeks burn with sheer embarrassment at all the times when I could have let him know how much he meant to me..... and didn't.

He was a man who because he had a family of five kids worked most of his days, he was well thought of and I think he was one of the very few who cleaned up after himself when he had done a plumbing job. Even when he retired he took a job at a hotel as a Porter... It didn't seem that long after that he started saying things not quite right and forgetting things ... Senile Dementia is a hellova thing and in due time he became just a shell of his former self. There was nothing left in the end of the man who was a fantastic dancer, who laughed a lot, could argue black was white (Ahh the teenage years).. At the end of his life, the last few weeks as it turned out , he was reluctantly put into care - and within a short period of time he caught pneumonia and died in September, 1993.

Only very recently my younger son was out at a local restaurant with his wife and they met another couple, through the guy in the other couple talking, it came out that he had been working at one time as my Dad's apprentice and he was sooo glad to tell David about how much Dad was thought of and what a likeable and helpful man he was. Just shows you what a small world we live in.

Unfortunately, Mum didn't manage to cope after that and 15 months later she died too after a major stroke . Isn't it always the way, the two of them were great dancers and if there is 'any kind of justice' in this or the next world I would hope that they are dancing yet , if not in life then in their dreams.

I would just like to say that they are both still missed and thought about a lot.



Love to All (Especially Dad) Kate xxx. (Lyn)