an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Thursday, June 30, 2005

In the company of others: a public self

At Target day before yesterday, Trystan chose a shirt for himself off the clearance rack that says "It seemed like a good idea at the time." He couldn't wait to show it to Matthew. I wanted the one that said "I do all my own stunts."


"... a public self, a self that is neither the 'me myself' nor the other nor a complete effacement or negation of the core self, but a self that exists, that is shaped, in negotiation, in dialogue."

From Jacob's Ladder


"When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I also stumble on some particular perception or other ... I can never catch myself at any time without a perception ... If anyone upon serious and unprejudic'd reflection, thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can no longer reason with him. He may perhaps, perceive something simple and continu'd, which he calls himself; tho' I am certain there is no such principle in me."

From David Hume's Treatise


Jake makes a reference to Aesop's fable of the bat in his response to my last post. Just happen to have his telling of it:

Aesop’s Fable of the Bat

“The bat lived in the hollow of a tree in the forest, friend to both the birds and the beasts, and was perfectly happy in its relations with the others and itself until ... one day, after much grumbling, the subject of which no one seems to recall, the birds and the beasts had had enough of one another (maybe the birds said that they couldn't trust creatures who could not take to the air; maybe the beasts were tired of being bombed with shit -- who can say) and began to take up sides for a magnificent battle for the order of the forest.

The birds came to the bat and asked it to join their side in the war against the beasts, and the bat listened closely, wanting very much to help its winged friends. But the bat could not, it told the birds, assent to the plan, for, much as it was a bird, it was also a beast, the beasts were his friends, too, and it felt it couldn't fight against them. The birds left in a huff, and the bat remained, sad that it couldn't help his friends the birds, sad that they seemed mad at it. After all, it'd only been honest....

Almost as soon as the last magpie had tucked its tail in a thorn-bush, the beasts arrived to call upon the bat. Hey, bat, we're going toe-to-toe with those damned birds. We're going to even the score once and for all.... But the bat, as much as it wanted to help its friends the beasts, had to demur because it was also a bird and could not in good conscience or comfort fight against its brothers, on either side. The beats skulked off, cursing the bat, and the bat hung in its tree waiting for the action.

At the appointed time, the beasts and the birds met upon the field, and they bent towards each other, until the last moment when, faced with one another, memories of their kinship welled. They called the battle off and went down to the tavern to curse the bat, who'd shunned everyone, they said. And the bat could hear all of these things (it had good ears) and simply hung in its tree, lonelier than ever for, though a bird, though a beast, it now knew it was neither a bird nor a beast, but something different. It started working at night, to avoid the ridicule of its former friends, and found some comfort in solitude, but as it heard the call of the nightjar or the slow padding of the sloth, the bat wished for its former days of kinship and sang out to the dark in notes no one could hear."


From Emily Lloyd's praise for Pleiades:

"Because my MFA thesis, which never happened, was going to be half something very near to L=A=N=Gpo, half something very near to heroic couplets. And because I was told I wasn't allowed to do that."


Ange Mlinko:

"I thought maybe if I could lower my expectations for art -- assume that rather than an objective standard of goodness existing "out there somewhere" I could reconcile myself to a subjective and fickle vehicle for our desires, built on shifting sands, and having more to do with our erotic needs and psychic wounds than some idea of magnificence -- then I could release some of this pain."


From Franz Wright's Fist:

"A few years back, I submitted a batch of poems to a fairly well-known poetry magazine. After waiting for six months or so without a response, I emailed the editor querying about the submission, and attaching the poems in question as a reminder.

I received in reply a VERY NASTY email that essentially said, "I already rejected these bad poems once, I really don't appreciate having to do it again. You're wasting my time." That's not verbatim, but it's pretty close.

I shrugged it off, but never forgot it.

Fast forward a couple of years. I'm now an editor for The Canary. The same editor who rudely rejected me (but neglected to inform me the first time) just sent me a copy of his/her new book with a nice note requesting a review. Of course, I'm sure that he/she doesn't remember me or the way he/she handled my submission from years ago, but I do.

Well, The Canary hasn't done reviews up until this point, though we have talked about including reviews in the next issue. The question: do I review the book? The second question: do I really look like a cop?"


From Little Emerson:

"Innocence—indeed innocent ignorance—of schools of thought, styles, forms, ethnic backgrounds, politics, growing up, would surely result in something different."


From The Nature of Too Bad:

"Like many of you, I'm sure, I enjoy watching DVDs. But I have an urgent question that needs answering. What exactly do people do to their DVDs that make them all scratched up so that in the middle of a movie, just when the plot is beginning to turn toward its downward slope, the thing freezes, skips, halts, stumbles, stutters, and no amount of fast-forwarding or scene-skipping will cure it? Let me tell you what I do with my DVDs and then maybe we can compare notes: I get a DVD in the mail from Netflix (or from the Hollywood Video when we're really desperate between Netflix mailings), I take the DVD from its sleeve, I hold it carefully by its edge, I drop it into the DVD player, then reverse those actions when we're done watching the film. What do other people do? Use them as coasters? Clean the counters with them? Play fetch with the dogs or frisbee with the kids? I'm having a hard time figuring this out because this happens way too frequently. If there is something that people are reguarly doing with their DVDs that is not simply putting them in a DVD player and watching them, I want to know."


From Therapist with a Dream Inside:

"There are too many different kinds of poetry. American poetry will never develop a cohesive audience because, unlike television, poetry hasn't developed 'a sitcom,' 'a newsmagazine'—something easily consumable and endlessly replacable. For example, imagine every book was written by Ted Kooser or a Ted Kooser surrogate, or a writer mentored by Ted Kooser or what have you. People might develop a taste for that."


From Early Hours of Sky:

"Both my girls are home now they have been separated for four days. This is how they love each other: they compare their bodies; height, weight. Olivia shows Bella a new scar and it goes on like this for twenty minutes—what has wounded them while they were apart. Isabel says, I ate a hot dog for breakfast and no one stopped me. I sat in the front seat of the car and I did not die.

Sometimes I feel bad that I have never loved any adult the way I love my children. I know their smells. I can feel them enter a room without turning around. I sometimes feel frightened that when they are old enough to take an account they will say, “she has never loved anyone like us” and I will be blamed."


From Home-Schooled By a Cackling Jackal:

"I apologize for stating the obvious, but I feel it needs to be stated.

No Tell Motel is an online poetry journal, not an actual motel. It is not an escort service. I cannot and will not have anything to do with you getting laid."


Lorna Dee Cervantes:

"Read Rosie O'Donnell's new poem for Tom Cruise here."


From Little Red's Recovery Room:

"As I've been thinking, given a push by Deleuze, that Michael Jackson might be what we all really look like or are deep down, if there were a deep down, the diabolical result of the declaration of universal human rights which no-one really respects, neuter tupperware product of the we're-all-the-same machine which means we're all equally worthless, little neverlands occasionally allowed to rock out and moonwalk and crotch-grab in our own music video, in which case it might be a good time to express my demolisment at the hands of and admiration for Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation, which reminds me that documentation of a life survived need not locomote along the tired rails of heroism and recuperation. It's a pure past, the past that was always past. I mean, I didn't feel manipulated, only burned and in that fire asked to consider the value and consequence of putting oneself in the third person, of bearing up under the dissociative disorder which washes events of all localizing emotion except a dim, diffused love in whose wake a brilliantly edited montage of super-8 footage, polaroids and post-disco effects dances on the pin of a head. Because, even if we let the 'eighties and 'nineties narrate for us, it's still important to have been allowed to be a person sometimes, on the beach perhaps. Like Frank O'Hara! Part of this has to do with the fact that I'm an imbecile of memory, that I remember little of my life before, say, twenty-eight and what I do remember seems horribly overprocessed, totally fucked by a Byzantine network of footnotes and false leads and a few scraps of grainy security-monitor footage. I read Proust with an pained nostalgia empty of all reference, wary of Orphic neck-injuries. Not gone? Just walled off by a moat and a rusty drawbridge? But "I do" "remember" days when the shifting points-of-view of internal dialogue were a monstrous thermometer: I and I, they and me, you and I, we and you. We was the worst."


"... no-one is more in need of the crowd than the schizophrenic, who is crammed with stings and feels suffocated by them. He cannot find the crowd outside and so he surrenders to the one within him."

Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power


"I endure it, for I imagine that such is the desire of the other."

Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror


From litwindowpane:

Ivy said: "May I inhabit your attic and be your bat?"


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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