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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mind 3

"The true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect or anticipate the word that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God."

~Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer, p. 112-3


"Writing fiction is like remembering what never happens. It mimics memory without being memory. Images appear as textual ground, because this is how the brain works. I am convinced that the processes of memory and invention are linked in the mind."
~Siri Hustvedt, from 'Yonder', an essay in A Plea for Eros


The Plan is the Body               Robert Creeley

The plan is the body.
There is each moment a pattern.
There is each time something
for everyone.

The plan is the body.
The mind is in the head.
It’s a moment in time,
an instant, second.

The rhythm of one
and one, and one, and one.
The two, the three.
The plan is in the body.

Hold it an instant,
in the mind—hold it.
What was say you
said. The two, the three,

times in the body,
hands, feet, you remember—
I, I remember, I
speak it, speak it.

The plan is the body.
Times you didn’t want to,
times you can’t think
you want to, you.

Me, me, remember, me
here, me wants to, me
am thinking of you.
The plan is the body.

The plan is the body.
The sky is the sky.
The mother, the father—
The plan is the body.

Who can read it.
Plan is the body. The mind
is the plan. I
speaking. The memory

gathers like memory, plan,
I thought to remember,
thinking again, thinking.
The mind is the plan of the mind.

The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.


From Why I Write, by Joan Didion

Of course I stole the title for this talk, from George Orwell. One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this:
In many ways writing is the act of saying I, or imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasion—with  the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, and imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space. 

1 comment:

rolenzo said...

for prompting me to buy Siri's book, I love her novels, and now thanks to you I love her essays too.