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, September 18, 2008

. . . .


Galesburg, Boy with Dog #1


Two days ago, puzzling through, then reading through Philippe again, then yesterday overhearing from the hall outside my office a philosophy professor responding to a student who was pointing out that "being" has contingency, too, in its relationship to necessity. Eavesdropping has its own way of garbling things, but that is my question, too, precisely. A student's question. To which the professor said, yes, you're on the right track, and no one has a good response to this--except Christianity, where there is a man-God--but that is something else. And the student said something I couldn't hear and the professor wiped the board clean.


Tuesday: JM--when a novice began, "if Jesus always existed"--held up the eraser in his hand, and the novice fell silent, waiting. "Jesus Christ did not always exist," he said and turned to the board. "It's complicated being God." The novices giggled.


I've been told that I can either choose to understand the universe through the lens of contingency, relationship, difference, in which all things, all people, are always already reduced to realizations, positions, ideas, and to the possible, which is disengaged from the probable...

and in which all of my understanding is then channeled through an aesthetic lens, for this is what the possible involves...

and in which, all idea-things being equally possible, narrative is an impossibility...

neverminding that if I eradicate story, I eradicate families, whole cities, the migrant crossing the desert on foot with a gallon of water in his arm and a towel on his head...


I can choose to return again and again to existence--"this is," "you are"--as a concrete reality, in which words are just that, complex and baffling in their way, but words nonetheless, and not the primary source of my understanding, or at least not the cloak I have made them out to be, but a veil through which something is both disclosed and concealed. I see through a glass darkly, but I do see...

neverminding that existence, "being," is also contingent, is also a relationship, is also, itself, an idea...

yet another articulation of the possible...

and only that...

but today beyond this point my head is dark, and I suppose it might end here, with a vacuum, with the starry nothingness that is either an absence or a presence/absence towards which, either way, all the earth groans and spurts and proffers.


For it is possible that the central question (the only question worth asking) is what kind of "literature" will I compose? --Which is the same as asking what kind of life will I live, since living is the same as composing. And what's wrong with that?

No no. It's not that the question-as-a-position is wrong, but that on its own terms it can hold no value, for there is no center. There are only facets. That is, that position, any position, as a position, is untenable. All positions are untenable.

And so it goes.


Father, I said, most people find meaning in raising their kids and doing good work. That's all. And he said, now you have a real question.


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

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