Thursday, January 28, 2010


(click on title to find New York Times Article on J.D. Salinger's passing). You may remember when I started writing a little here I thought of J.D. Salinger as my answer to 'Who are you writing for... who's your audience?'

I just read this article. The criticism stopped just short of calling his work sophomoric. Or at least it sounded that way to me. I think a lot of people who have nearly escaped deep cynicism may seem sophomoric.

" Mr. Salinger’s people tend to be outsiders — spiritual voyagers shipwrecked in a vulgar and materialistic world, misfits who never really outgrew adolescent feelings of estrangement. They identify with children and cling to the innocence of childhood with a ferocity bordering on desperation..."

Probably someone has already compared him to Herman Hesse then.

What is the innocence of childhood anyway? Isn't that a state where the 'I am' stands and beams love and imbibes love despite the knowledge that it isn't in a position of strength with regard to knowledge? It's the mind that has not learned to doubt itself. Mighty.

this is the pure creature that does not exist
they did not know that and in any case
its motion and its bearing and its neck
even to the light of its still gaze they loved it
indeed it never was
yet because they loved it
a pure creature happened
they always allowed room
and in that room, clear and left open
it easily lifted its head and scarcely needed to be
they fed it on no grain
but ever on the possibility that it might be
and this gave the creature such strength
it grew a horn out of its brow
one horn
to a virgin it came hither white
and was in the silver mirror
and in her.

(from the Norton translation of Sonnets to Orpheus and from my memory because I don't have the book anymore.)

I hope J.D. Salinger is having a fabulous Release Party.

Monday, January 18, 2010

For the Anniversary of My Death

So, 2012. What do you think? I was subbing in a Middle School Math class last week and a rather funny, like comedienne funny, tiny, painstakingly funky, girl started saying " Like, December 21, 2012.. Is that going to be a school day!"

She was not totally kidding. I've only recently cottoned on to the whole Mayan calendar thing. The billboards telling me to look up 2012 on the internet went unheeded. I figured I'd look up 2012 and wind up at a sight which would download a virus that would kill my computer. Luckily the History Channel filled me in so now I
know about the Mayan Calendar. Another History Channel program relieved my mind a little by reminding me that Apocalypse means something like drawing away the curtain. Immediately I think of James Joyce's Stephen Daedalus walking along Sandy Mount Strand saying 'limits of the diaphane' and 'ineluctible modality of the visible... that at least if nothing more, seen through my eyes." James Joyce is associated with the having of Epiphanies. Because of his use of the word diaphane in that section, I always, without fail, hear 'Epiphane' in the background of Epiphany. What are the limits of the Epiphane? Epiphane turns out to be a name but not a word. Still it seems as though it hints at a numerical or degree increase of revealing or... revelation. The diaphane is like the gauzy and beautifully draped veil of matter through which Life speaks. If you were to discover or establish the limits of the diaphane what would be your next step? The Epiphane I think. Also on the History Channel I caught a program about apocryphal gospels. I really eat that stuff up. But the following quotation is from The Gospel of Mary (Magdalene).

. . . the Gospel of Mary communicates a vision that the world is passing away, not toward a new creation or a new world order, but toward the dissolution of an illusory chaos of suffering, death, and illegitimate domination. The Savior has come so that each soul might discover its own true spiritual nature, its "root" in the Good, and return to the place of eternal rest beyond the constraints of time, matter, and false morality.

For the Anniversary of My Death

by W. S. Merwin
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

Epiphane is when the diaphane falls away from YOU.

Sunday, January 10, 2010