Somewhere Else

It was last April, in a piece titled “What is Essential,” we again mentioned John Cage, then in the context of the pandemic quarantine discussion:

In John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing,” we find the following comment: “It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.”

“What is Essential,” April 24, 2020

Of course, some places are more irritating than others, some conditions worse, but it seems common to living in any means people like to get away, out of town, go up to the cabin, drive out to the beach, go camping, sail the seven seas, see the world, go somewhere, anywhere, but somewhere else.

Not talking here about those forced to leave home, from war or famine or wildfire or flood, abuse or political upheaval. Catastrophes are not “irritations.” A catastrophe is sudden and overturning; an irritation is slow and creeping, an itch one can’t quite reach. An earworm. One can live with any number of irritations, but one can not go on as before during or after a catastrophe. “Would like” suggests preference, unrelated to need, not desperate, but a privileged choice.

“Where should we spend the weekend, in town or in the country?”
“I don’t know. I’m bored with opera.”

The COVID19 virus affects different people in different ways, depending on predicament, but literally everyone on the planet Earth has been affected, to one extent or another, slightly or severely. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away? Maybe that’s the attraction of Perseverance, of Mars, of space travel.

“Earth is irritating.”
“Let’s go to Mars.”
“Good idea.”
“I’ll book a flight today.”

Can a simple irritation, almost unnoticeable until all goes quiet, grow into a catastrophe? It seems unlikely. Irritations come from within; catastrophes come with the wind. There’s talk of getting “back to normal.” That too seems unlikely. In fact, in any case, wasn’t there something particularly irritating with what was considered normal?

What is Essential?

In John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing,” we find the following comment: “It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.” Likewise, we may find that when we are alone, we find ourselves wanting company, but when we are in company, we may find ourselves wanting to be alone.

As we find ourselves now, confined to quarters, advised to advance toward others (nor permit them to advance toward us) no closer that 6 feet, and even then advised it might be a good idea to wear a face mask and gloves and carry a sanitizer, we are reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Once a lower but more essential need is met, we may climb a rung higher on the pyramid until we reach the nirvana of self-actualization.

We must now assume that top rung to have a base of 6 feet, so that there is only room for one person, that one being, of course, one’s self. And to be fully self-actualized means being able to stay home perfectly content with staying home.

But then we find Maslow adding on yet another rung to the top of his hierarchy of needs (even if, in practice, this would mean expanding the original base and subsequently the base of all the other rungs leading up to the top). The new top of the pyramid, reached after self-actualization is achieved, might be described as staying home without staying home, otherwise known as self-transcendence.

All that work on meeting one’s needs only to discover at the top of the climb one leaves one’s self behind. It might be that only by staying home can we come to grips with the differences between our needs and our wants such that we may find our essentials.

Diary: How to Improve the Text (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

textsDiary: How to

Improve the Text (You Will

Only Make Matters Worse)

 

John Cage titled his diary, “Diary: How to

Improve the World (You Will

Only Make Matters Worse)” (1965),

suggesting a zen koan where every move

in one direction is a move in another direction.

Cage was not too into the game of chess,

that was Nabokov. Were they neither control

freaks? One looked down on the ground

for mushrooms, the other up in the air for butterflies.

 

Listen to the music mushrooms make:

shiitake, for example.

 

“Nothing to be done,” Beckett said, and he said

it more than once: “Nothing to be done.”

Again and again, recycling the words,

 

imagining a future without retail,

which entailed imagination, the tale

of dead malls, hollowed out shells,

shelter for the homeless.

 

(artificial intelligence:

“all watched over by machines

of amazing grace,” Richard Brautigan said.)

 

What if anything is artificial? Artifice, father, creator:

The true ecologist loves garbage, Slavoj Zizek said,

and, we must become more artificial,

if we are to comprehend the universe,

a grasping together. GASP! (Taylor, Examined Life).

 

Every thing is recyclable, even no thing (as Beckett showed),

all things crawling with recycling bugs chewing,

the textual droppings of these bugs crawling across the page

two streams of ants, one going, the other coming:

ant ant ant ant ant ant ant ant ant ant ant

tna tna tna tna tna tna tna tna tna tna tna.

The ants smell textual clues.

 

The job of being

human

altruism and community, signage,

the shape of mouths, lip tools,

tongue, teeth, mouth to ear, surplus

age, a pantry of letters, a kitchen of words

a living room of text, a bed of books,

a shelter of stories.

 

It probably never was the best of times

and self-pity to call any time the worst of times.

The people bored march on nothing.

Blog is dead, someone said, sweeping up,

blogging, only dead if you thought

that; otherwise, it was still

“lots of fun for everyone!”

 

Retail is dead, the tinker said,

stirring her pots and pans;

on the other side of the street,

a drone drops a text.

 

In “For

The Pleasure

of the Text…,” Jeremy Fernando explains how

text comes into being when reading, comes and goes, his book

full of marginalia mushrooms, the writer a saprophyte,

pages flipping to and fro like butterflies, and as hard to find,

the text always disappearing, pages not mumbered [sic],

but we know where to look

for mushrooms and the colors butterflies prefer.

 

When speaking of the universe, keep in mind nothing is factual; everything is argument – claim and rebuttal, recycling. When speaking of the text, keep in mind everything potentially purposeful, so yes, the most effective writer knows not what will be read, can’t be sure of what’s being written. That is one pleasure of the text, the not knowing, uncertainty, ambiguity – the taking and eating of a strange mushroom, an invasion, a landing, of alien butterflies. Beckett said we can’t listen to a conversation for more than five minutes without noting inherent chaos. Yet some writers abhor ambiguity and seem to think they write with clarity. What is clear is that nothing is clear, in spite of grammar.

 

Understanding the text, or attempts to understand one’s own comprehension of the text, are subservient

to experiencing the text. One can only begin to experience the text by giving in to it, which is to say,

consuming it, mouthing the words, eating the text, licking the letters, smelling the ink’s decay.

The text is a meal which like the mushroom can be distasteful, cause belches or gas, even be poisonous.

One might prepare for a heartburn of the text, but that heartburn is part of experiencing the text. The

metaphor grows stale, corny. Halt. Stop. Let us retire for a break in the text to some hops.

The text plays itself out.

text
g UL p
ale

The reader returns to the text, changed, reader and text, both changed, a bit tipsy, textual vibrations: screen shots of textual cuts, rips, woven riffs, quotes like on a guitar, but cited for the newly planted who need authority to get established, but why would one want authority over/under/sideways/down another? textual authority to pass testual [sic] authority, getting testy this, this authority, King Ibid on his throne in the kingdom of Where Did You Get This Weave? There can be no misreading, only the experience of reading: vicarious. Author as vicar, vice advice, a writing vise.

a grammar of the other

another

other

mother

moth (lex) toward the light

mouth (law) toward the dark

declension

every text an attempt to improve

which worsens

writing as self-medicating

for which there is no cure

curator

mother

a text that cures

Watt Ales

 

what is the meaning of an unpaginated (upainted) text?

citations as reproductions, pics of texts

folder paper, where the lines are the bedrock

of grammar, the grammar of the text –

the reader creates the ungrammatical (including typos)

as the police create crime (cite N+1)

calls into question any misreading

“justesse of any sentence” (JF, PT)

ripping through the text, pulling quotes out

disrupting the horizons of folder paper lines

horizontal disappearings

a following silence until a new text swells

the crowd disperses, the text shelved.

 

In the middle of the text we find a pic

of “Anatomie” (Ibid: 180), and this

quoted:

“To write the body,
Neither the skin, nor the muscles, nor the bones,
nor the nerves, but the rest: an awkward, fibrous,
shaggy, raveled thing, a clown’s coat”

so we get at once
Love’s Body (Norman O. Brown)
Beckett’s clown
& Bob Dylan.

 

Next comes the pun: body > corpus

and “authenticity” – the authority

of the corpse, already with us,

and the illuminated manuscript,

backlit screen.

 

And don’t miss the three asterisks.

 

A typo it appears? (Elfriede Jelinekl) in the text, part of the text; typos are like black holes. They suck in the light. Some readers delight in seeing them (schadenfreude), but perhaps the typo corrects one’s vision. Certainly they test it. Typos are purposeful. Theory of accidents.

 

Musical interlude, listen, an invisible text. Music as language must be translated. “Happy New Ears,” Cage said.

 

…now to dreaming:

the experience of reading. experience is not

necessarily evil, a song of experience is not

a song of evil – nor is a song of innocence

necessarily a song of good. depends on text.

 

No more links, likes, or comments;

and if you don’t like this post at the Toads,

take it up with JF’s RB, or RB’s JF.

 

The bits about death, or Death? One prefers breath, or Breath! One might here sight [sic] Walt Whitman or Charles Olson, but there follows a sketch (portrait), not traced, there are rules, after all – yes, but whose rules?

The rules of the text:

JF and RB by JL

~~~

the text tails off

them’s that’s got it

Vonnegut footnote

inventions (externalizations)… to be continued, continue to be

References

Fernando, Jeremy. (2015). For The Pleasure of the Text… {etc.}

references

 

Haiku on Dog Cloud Piano for Guitar and Voice

Dog Cloud

Press yes to play here the balls fall for free hear them drop and roll english orb orbit for texting eddies
no to go away in pool hall heaven chalk up your cue stick break like a big bang syllabicating
maybe to come back no need for quarters green felt of grass field consider the balls men who cut their tongues
some day some day soon 8 ball in corner in the universe across the table gaming without words
tonight not that moon pocket that was quick full of dandelions stars stripes black and cue ball white as the moon
semiquantitatively microdirectionally yet who can’t get no no no unsatisfactorily twisting down the back alley
sociodemographic ideologically seven syllable word count so what is the so what here pseudointellectual
imperceptibility suspicion grows this is all pseudopoetically irresponsibility what can I say you  reading
waxing then waning away autobiographical compartmentalization social media neither social nor mediational ideas
unsystematically superficiality huge lack of self confidence just give us the artifice we’ll know what to do with it
without rhyme or reasoned sense oversimplification he likes unconventional individuality cosmopolitanism
syllables all connected he seems influenced by John Cage and that explains anything we seem to be moving to microcommunication
We appeal to fruit the nature within seeds meat juice and skin figuratively and then the real fig
banana orange grape raisin ugli miracle passion fruit worms flies mildew self-preservation
and vegetables puritanism free love free fruit gloss dogs and cats and kids seal it with a kiss
cherry red pepper baked raspberry pie apple cloudberry running toward the surf rub it in your palm
garlic and onions coconut olive oils and buttery fat when it is cold now back to the sea

Press yes to play here                                                                                                the balls fall for free                                                                                                hear them drop and roll                                                                                                english orb orbit                                                                                                for texting eddies

no to go away                                                                                                in pool hall heaven                                                                                                chalk up your cue stick                                                                                                break like a big bang                                                                                                syllabicating

maybe to come back                                                                                                no need for quarters                                                                                                green felt of grass field                                                                                                consider the balls                                                                                                men who cut their tongues

some day some day soon                                                                                                8 ball in corner                                                                                                in the universe                                                                                                across the table                                                                                                gaming without words

tonight not that moon                                                                                                pocket that was quick                                                                                                full of dandelions                                                                                                stars stripes black and cue                                                                                                ball white as the moon

semiquantitatively                                                                                                microdirectionally                                                                                                yet who can’t get no no no                                                                                                unsatisfactorily                                                                                                twisting down the back alley

sociodemographic                                                                                                ideologically                                                                                                seven syllable word count                                                                                                so what is the so what here                                                                                                pseudointellectual

imperceptibility                                                                                                suspicion grows this is all                                                                                                pseudopoetically                                                                                                irresponsibility                                                                                                what can I say you are right

waxing then waning away                                                                                                autobiographical                                                                                                compartmentalization                                                                                                social media neither                                                                                                social nor mediational ideas

unsystematically                                                                                                superficiality                                                                                                huge lack of self confidence                                                                                                just give us the artifice                                                                                                we’ll know what to do with it

without rhyme or reasoned sense                                                                                                oversimplification                                                                                                he likes unconventional                                                                                                individuality                                                                                                cosmopolitanism

syllables all connected                                                                                                he seems influenced by John Cage                                                                                                and that explains anything                                                                                                we seem to be moving to                                                                                                microcommunication

We appeal to fruit                                                                                                the nature within                                                                                                seeds meat juice and skin                                                                                                figuratively                                                                                                and then the real fig

banana orange                                                                                                grape raisin ugli                                                                                                miracle passion                                                                                                fruit worms flies mildew                                                                                                self-preservation

and vegetables                                                                                                puritanism                                                                                                free love free fruit gloss                                                                                                dogs and cats and kids                                                                                                seal it with a kiss

cherry red pepper                                                                                                baked raspberry pie                                                                                                apple cloudberry                                                                                                running toward the surf                                                                                                rub it in your palm

garlic and onions                                                                                                coconut olive                                                                                                oils and buttery                                                                                                fat when it is cold                                                                                                now back to the sea

Press yes to play here the balls fall for free hear them drop and roll english orb orbit for texting eddies no to go away in pool hall heaven chalk up your cue stick break like a big bang syllabicating maybe to come back no need for quarters green felt of grass field consider the balls men who cut their tongues some day some day soon 8 ball in corner in the universe across the table gaming without words tonight not that moon pocket that was quick full of dandelions stars stripes black and cue ball white as the moon semiquantitatively microdirectionally yet who can’t get no no no unsatisfactorily twisting down the back alley sociodemographic ideologically seven syllable word count so what is the so what here pseudointellectual imperceptibility suspicion grows this is all pseudopoetically irresponsibility what can I say you are right waxing then waning away autobiographical compartmentalization social media neither social nor mediational ideas unsystematically superficiality huge lack of self confidence just give us the artifice we’ll know what to do with it without rhyme or reasoned sense oversimplification he likes unconventional individuality cosmopolitanism syllables all connected he seems influenced by John Cage and that explains anything we seem to be moving to microcommunication We appeal to fruit the nature within seeds meat juice and skin figuratively and then the real fig banana orange grape raisin ugli miracle passion fruit worms flies mildew self-preservation and vegetables puritanism free love free fruit gloss dogs and cats and kids seal it with a kiss cherry red pepper baked raspberry pie apple cloudberry running toward the surf rub it in your palm garlic and onions coconut olive oils and buttery fat when it is cold now back to the sea