Beneath the domestic surface

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

Zen garden (21 May 2016)

“Mementos that Bird has kept for years hold the past inside them, making it tangible and permanent: clippings of Mickey’s hair, peels of the first orange they shared, a bloody tissue. They stir nostalgia but reopen its wounds, like scabs asking to be tugged back so they can bleed.” (from Sarah Gerard’s NYT review of “Bird” by Noy Holland)

On page 59: a lovely sentence that seems like a found senryū …

A swell of things:
gathered, unsortable,
gone. 

“It is here, in Holland’s subtly radiant ­details … that “Bird” shines brightest, since they so aptly mirror what’s happening beneath the domestic surface.” (another snippet from Sarah Gerard’s review)

This novel sings like
poetry; I’m obliged to 

read between the lines.

(19 May 2016)

“The writing is hallucinatory, musical and intimate.” (Sarah Gerard)


Holland, Noy. 2015. Bird. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.

A Unique Trust Placed in Chance and Eternity: Philosopher Alain Badiou on How We Fall and Stay in Love | Brain Pickings

Source: A Unique Trust Placed in Chance and Eternity: Philosopher Alain Badiou on How We Fall and Stay in Love | Brain Pickings

Doing as you’ve been done by

golden rule

golden rule

. .

“… ardent feminists … seem so bent on treating men the way they have taken exception to being treated by men.” (klewso, 11 March 2013, commenting on Destroy the Point by Helen Razer)  

Jesus made no copyright claim in respect of the Golden Rule (see Matthew 7:12). In his view, it succinctly sums up the teachings of the Torah and the Prophets. We also have Socrates on the subject: “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” And his words carry the imprint of the Vedic tradition: “This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you.” And although there are those who – for a range of reasons, semiotic and otherwise – take issue with the Golden Rule, it is nevertheless widely accepted as valuable and worthwhile.

Monsieur Klewso’s comment actually begins: “What I find most intriguing about ardent feminists …” Perhaps ‘intriguing’ is not, in fact, the most accurate description of his response to being bad-mouthed; it certainly doesn’t describe my response.

Razer herself pulls no punches: “Women are not nicer. Women are not a civilising influence. Women are just as capable of avarice and stupidity as anyone. … Women are not gifted, either socially or biologically, of anything special. If we believe that they are, then we must also accept the possibility that the gender could be marked with unpleasant characteristics.” (Destroy the Point)

In a more recent post, Razer asks: “Why should we think masculinity is all bad? It is a simple question but WHY are we still trying to privilege ‘feminine’ qualities over masculine ones when so many feminine qualities are shit?” (Paglia, Pugilism and Pants-less Threat, 08 January 2014)

There seems to be a growing public taste for rudeness, vulgarity, profanity, and other forms of verbal abuse – atheists and ‘fag-hating’ fundamentalists, ardent feminists and so-called ‘everyday people’ alike. And it seems to have arisen from the the same source from which we dug up “zero tolerance”, “war on terror”, “rape culture” …

__________

Helen Razer’s post, Destroy the Point, first appeared on her own blog, Bad Hostess, on 09 March 2013. It was republished two days later by Crikey

The Socratic and Vedic versions of the Golden Rule (together with an interesting and wide-ranging selection from other sources) are to be found on GoodReads

The “golden rule” image appears in an article titled, Hurting Others Causes You Pain: Golden Rule Validated, under the banner, “NLP Discoveries with Mike Budrant”, on Psych Central.  

The very bearable lightness of being

skateboard wallpaper - royal

skateboard wallpaper – royal

A day or two ago, I saw something I’d never expected to see: a young man riding a skateboard … using his crutches to propel himself along. And it instantly put me back in touch with something I’d scribbled down the day before, whilst reading a novel called Ru:

“He had stopped time by continuing to enjoy himself, to live until the end in the lightness of a young man.” (Kim Thúy)

I am not a young man … and thus no longer immortal. Whenever the pain from the osteoarthritis gets bad, I have a mantra: “My feet kiss the earth.” It helps.

But I’ve taught myself something that helps even more: whenever I find myself bracing my knees and hobbling along stiff-legged, I have learned to relax my joints and saunter instead. I’m not saying every step is pain-free, but it sure feels better. And I whisper my mantra. And I smile.

__________

NOTES:

Thúy, Kim. 2009 [Copyright © 2009 Éditions Libre Expression]. English translation Copyright © 2012 Sheila Fischman. Ru. New York: Bloomsbury.

The skateboard wallpaper image comes from: http://www.wallpaper4me.com/wallpaper/Royal/

My title is a parody of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a 1984 postmodern novel by Milan Kundera. The story takes place mainly in Prague in the late 1960s and 1970s. It explores the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society during the Communist period, from the Prague Spring to the Soviet Union’s August 1968 invasion and its aftermath.” (adapted from the Wikipedia article)

The fundamental tendency of matter

Legion (cover)

Legion (cover)

The human brain, three pounds of tissue, held more than a hundred billion brain cells and five hundred trillion synaptic connections. It dreamed and wrote music and Einstein’s equations, it created the language and the geometry and engines that probed the stars, and it cradled a mother asleep through a storm while it woke her at the faintest cry from her child. A computer that could handle all of its functions would cover the surface of the earth.

The hundreds of millions of years of evolution from paramecium to man didn’t solve the mystery, thought Kinderman. The mystery was evolution itself. The fundamental tendency of matter was toward a total disorganization, toward a final state of utter randomness from which the universe would never recover. Each moment its connections were becoming unthreaded as it flung itself headlong into the void in a reckless scattering of itself, impatient for the death of its cooling suns. And yet here was evolution, Kinderman marvelled, a hurricane piling up straw into haystacks, bundles of ever-increasing complexity that denied the very nature of their stuff. Evolution was a theorem written on a leaf that was floating against the direction of the river. A Designer was at work. So what else? It’s as plain as can be. When a man hears hoofbeats in Central Park, he shouldn’t be looking around for zebras. (William Peter Blatty, in Legion [pp104-5]) 

__________

Originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1983, and subsequently turned into what Rinker calls “a more than satisfactory sequel … Exorcist III (which, mercifully, has nothing to do with Exorcist II: The Heretic).” Legion appeared in a Tor paperback edition in 2011 (Tom Doherty Associates, New York).

Mother Mary comes to me

Pieta by Michelangelo (detail)

Pieta by Michelangelo (detail)

.

.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be 

(Let it be: words and music by The Beatles)

Things didn’t go at all well for me yesterday. The cold and damp had my joints and muscles aching, and the pain-killers I swallowed made no difference.

Which made my list of errands – all of them off the beaten track (ie, away from all the bus-routes) – more arduous.

One thing after another failed to go my way.

Conversations I’d intended as useful went desafinado – “slightly out of tune”.

Financial agreements and working arrangements fell disappointingly short of expectations.

Then I spilled my antiseptic cream on the floor in a public rest-room.

Across the street, a busker was playing a familiar song: “Let it be”.

“Patience … is not learned when everything is harmonious and going well. … There is no cultivation of patience when your pattern is to just try to seek harmony and smooth everything out. Patience implies willingness to be alive rather than trying to seek harmony.” (Pema Chödrön)

Knot of pain

Two inches above my navel
lies a knot of pain,
identifying itself as
‘promise unfulfilled’.
Under pressure, it divides:
to the left lies ‘envy’,
to the right, ‘regret’.

Two inches above my navel
lies a mark, a target,
the measure of my inadequacy … 
which may be seen as
‘potential unexploited’.

Nothing new here; this is an undated poem I uncovered a few days ago whilst preparing to move to my new apartment. Although I recall writing it, I don’t remember anything about the circumstances.

On the other side of the paper, there’s something relating to a music project I was working on, which suggests that the poem was written in the late 1990s.

The knot is no longer there.