Friday, September 21, 2007

A Convenient Lie

Dear Colleagues and Liberal Artists.
(Courses Without Borders Series)


My cousin was a fine painter and total alcoholic.

Narcotics cannot still the tooth
that nibble at the soul.
Emily Dickinson

He painted clouds and skylines.

“If I could just get my head out of the way,”
he’d be telling me—often. “I could do
something good.”

We all know this.
Some insist on writing the
first person pronoun in lower case (i )
so as to down play EGO. And we all kick
our own and each other’s ass for our EGO
ways. What an Ego! we proclaim.

I still catch my self looking at myself side-wise
out of the corner of my I walking past the
windows of department stores.

The words “mirror” and “miracle” both derive from the
Indo European smei meaning “to smile.” I remember
watching my baby sister playing peek-a-boo with
herself in the mirror above the sofa: hide and seek
and a great grin as she caught herself in the glass.
Miracle! SMILE.

And so Nackmanovitch (Free Play) reminds me that
in some sense we have to disappear to be creative.
I know this already. It is frustrating that I can not.
Wherever Ego there I am.

For art to appear, we have to disappear. (51)

Tell me something I don’t already know:
tell me how.

Sex & Violins

What does it feel like?
To play violin, piano, guitar,
To ski powder, to surf. To write a poem,
letter, commentary, criticism, theme, essay,
novel, work out a problem…get lost in conversation…

I’m not impressed by Stephen’s description. When
I’m engaged, I’m lost in it. There’s nothing there to
describe how-it-feels. Imagine saying how it feels to
play soccer, rugby, basketball, tennis. It would all be
retrospective, after the fact, like Monday Morning
Quarterbacking telling what it’s like after it’s all done
which is NOT the same as what it’s like while I’m
doing it, engaged, lost in it—disappeared.

We teach WRITING with bromides and advice and
suggestions and recommendations if not rules and
regulations which are all RETRO-Spective: looking
backwards at a process that—while IN IT, one is
lost, engaged, disappeared. We teach IT with
all the conviction of done-deal finished product
light-of-day & maxim security.

It’s like teaching SPHERE-icty from the standpoint
of Flatlandia—know what I mean? It’s like talking
about UNCONSCIOUSNESS from the perspective
of Consciousness.

Do I overstate? I am small.

I can say what it feels like to play piano, but it’s a
lie. I move in a cloud of unknowing but then can
talk about it after the fact. Looking backward,
I can see patterns that weren’t present in the middle
of the game. It's a conventional lie & conveniently
eclipses if not occludes the inconvenient truth

There's no way I can get there from here,
so I give it here-talk. As if. And convince
myself: I've Got IT! Listen to me: here's
what you do....

xxxooo, Sam

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