I Read at Supermachine & Passages from Bluets that Wring My Heart

I read at Supermachine on Friday.  There were a lot of people there!!  Thanks to everyone who came out!  I feel like I read slightly awkwardly.  I guess that happens sometimes.

In other Supermachine news, they started a Kickstarter account to help fund their publications for the upcoming year.  You can find info about how to donate here.

I just finished ready Bluets by Maggie Nelson last night.  I mostly like books like this, ones that are collages of philosophies and other people’s writing in order to help make sense of an individual’s life/emotions. The book is composed of 240 short, numbered meditations.  Here are some passages that I noted, in the order in which they appear.

71. I have been trying, for some time now, to find dignity in my loneliness.  I have been finding this hard to do.

72. It is easier, of course, to find dignity in one’s solitude.  Loneliness is solitude with a problem.  Can blue solve the problem, or can it at least keep me company within it? -No, not exactly.  it cannot love me that way; it has no arms.  But sometimes I do feel its presence to be a sort of wink- Here you are again, it says, and so am I.

115. In which case seeking itself is a spiritual error.

121. “Clearness is so eminently one of the characteristics of truth, that often it even passes for truth itself,: wrote Joseph Joubert, the French “man of letters” who recorded countless such fragments in notebooks for forty years in preparation for a monumental work of philosophy that he never wrote.  I know all about this passing for truth.  At times I think it quite possible that it lies, as if a sleight of hand, at the heart of all my writing.

181. Pharmakon means drug, but as Jacques Derrida and others have pointed out, the word in Greek famously refuses to designate whether poison or cure.  It holds both in the bowl.  In the dialogues Platon uses the word to refer to everything from an illness, its cause, its cure, a recipe, a charm, a substance, a spell, artificial color, and paint.  Plato does not call fucking pharmakon, but then again while he talks plenty about love, Plato does not say much about fucking.

184. Writing is, in fact, an astonishing equalizer.  I could have written half of these propositions drunk or high, for instance, and half sober; I could have written half in agonized tears, and half in a state of clinical detachment.  But now that they have been shuffled around countless times- now that they have been made to appear, at long last, running forward as one river- how could either of us tell the difference?

193. I will admit, however, upon considering the matter further, that writing does do something to one’s memory- that at times it can have the effect of an album of childhood photographs, in which each image replaces the memory it aimed to preserve.  Perhaps this is why I am avoiding writing about too many specific blue things- I don’t want to displace my memories of them, nor embalm them, not exalt them. In fact, I think I would like it best if my writing could empty me further of them, so that I might become a better vessel for new blue things.

199. For to wish to forget how much you loved someone- and then, to actually forget- can feel at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short 0f grace, to make a habitat of your heart.  I have heard that this pain can be converted, as it were, by accepting “the fundamental impermanence of all things.”  This acceptance bewilders me: sometimes it seems an act of will; at others, of surrender.  Often I feel myself to be rocking between then (seasickness.)

208. Cornell’s diary entry for February 28, 1947: “Resolve this day as before to transcend in my work the overwhelming sense of sadness that has been so binding and wasteful in past.”



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