5 December 2012

The Mailmen of Truth

Filed under: Fiction, Ktismata, Language — ktismatics @ 11:16 am

The unitary or dominant way of thinking is that of a generalized hermeneutics, a hermeto-logy… The unitary philosopher (the philosopher of Being, then of Difference) was always a representative, emissary, and civil servant of the Postal and Telecommunication ministry; a transmitter and decoder of hermeto-logical Difference; an agent of postal ingenuity. He exploits confusion, the ambiguity of the secret and of censure. Nearly all philosophers were the mailmen of truth, and they diverted the truth for reasons less to do with the secret that with authoritarian censure. Meaning, always more meaning! Information, always more information! Such is the mantra of hermeto-logical Difference, which mixes together truth and communication, the real and information. The most extreme version of this hermeto-logical ambiguity is the Hegelian and Nietzschean principle: the real is communicational, the communicational is real. it is in the omnipresent effectivity of communication that hermeto-logy itself deteriorates.

- François Laruelle, “The Truth According to Hermes,” 2010

This is important to me, but I can’t tell you why.

Okay fine, I’ll say a little bit about it. I just read The Infinities, a John Banville novel narrated primarily by the Greek god Hermes. He is the divine messenger, interpreting the gods to men and vice versa. But at some point Banville’s Hermeneutical narrator acknowledges that, for the gods, watching mortals engaging in the material world is like looking into a mirror: try to reach in, to make direct contact, and the mirror breaks. Even for this narrational Hermes, then, the world of men is sealed off from the gods. This got me thinking about the other Hermes, Trismegistus, the purported author of the ancient esoteric Hermetic Texts. Was he god or man? I don’t know. He is credited with using his alchemical knowledge to make an airtight seal on a glass tube, hence “hermetically sealed.” Plato alleged that some Egyptian temple contained a secret library of Hermetic texts dating back 9 thousand years. I don’t know much about his writings, but I presume that this other Hermes claimed access to hidden knowledge. Evidently Banville’s hermeneutical narrator didn’t have access to the hermetic keys for unlocking the material world.

It turns out that I recently finished writing a novel called The Courier, about a guy who transmits packages and messages. I didn’t explicitly link the titular character to either Hermes, but he is both. As carrier of messages he is a hermeneutician; as one who does not break the seals on the messages he carries he is hermetic.

Yesterday I happened to come across Laruelle’s essay; I know it was referenced by one of the theory blogs, either Agent Swarm or An Und Fur Sich or Ecology Without Nature or Archive Fire. Laruelle’s idea of the philosopher as general-purpose hermeneutician, as “mailman of truth,” suits my fictional Courier nicely. Earlier Laruelle writes:

Next to the unitary and authoritarian Hermes, there is another Hermes. He defines the essence of truth as a secret, but as a secret that in order to exist and to be made known needs none of the light of logos, none of the tricks of meaning, the strategies of interpretation, the horizons of the World, or the transcendent forms of appearance. Truth as secret exists autonomously prior to the horizontality of appearance. The secret enjoys an absolute precedence over interpretation; it is itself the Uninterpretable from which an interpretation emerges. It is the invisible that has never been visible because it is known from the outset to be invisible. The essence of the secret does not reside in a rupture or redrawing that de-limits presence via some kind of withdrawal or “retrocession.” That the secret has never appeared in the horizon of presence is simply an effect, the effect of its positive essence.

And that works for my Courier too, in his hermetic mode: some parcels can never be opened. Not that I necessarily believe that Laruelle’s discussion of truth is itself true…

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  1. That’s fascinating (including the Laruelle, to my surprise.) I immediately started thinking of the one Derrida volume I actively liked, ‘A Taste for the Secret’–and even that tries to end with Derrida’s reflex of ‘safety lies in hopelessness’, [certainly not in numbers], ‘truth is on the side of death’ (I believe I saw that last in an old Angelaki article about some Agamben text, the ‘bare life’ stuff I refused in favour of abundance. I say ‘hopelessness’ in D’s case, because although some 30 years ago, I read in that volume ‘Post-Structural Strategies’ something in the Foreword about ‘masturbation is especially dangerous’, and a couple of months ago I read that someone said Derrida was ‘like masturbation without the pleasure’, believe it was Camille Paglia, the selfsame one who claimed in 2000 “I’ve been chasing that bitch [Susan Sontag] for years….’ et alia.

    Later, in ‘Libidinal Economy’, I found Lyotard to be much better, much more robust (and seemingly following up on some of that Derrida), and so is this Laruelle, it really has a positive use for contemplating ‘secret’. I find Derrida limp and sad, but at least in that slim little volume, he approaches the inscrutable natural beauty of ‘secret’, while determining that it cannot be ‘communicated’–just in case you were worried about ‘being happy for once’…

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 5 December 2012 @ 11:35 am

  2. That volume was called ‘Textual Strategies’, and was all about post-structuralists, when some of us were first hearing about it. articles about and/or by DeMan, derrida, Barthes, probably deleuze, foucault. I’ve since lost it, and the NYPL didn’t list all the contributors. It goes back to 1979. I remember reading large chunks of it when I was in a cast for a broken ankle, and it did not help.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 5 December 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  3. There is something Derridean about Hermes being the name for both openness and secrecy. I used to like Derrida as apostle of difference, it was always about the structure of language rather than lives or societies or inventions. Laruelle does “non-philosophy,” and this is the only essay of his that I’ve read. Maybe the core idea is this sense that truth need not, or even cannot, be communicated in language. I don’t think that’s generally the case, nor do I think that the Real is in its essence hidden and inaccessible — also a Lacanian idea. But some things really are hidden, and not because they actively withdraw like some of the OOOists contend. There are things not known and not experienced, so how can they be thought about or talked about? Maybe if I come across something else by Laruelle I’ll give it a look. I do love “mailmen of truth” = facteurs du verité.

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 December 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  4. Was the final line, or another line, of ‘The Courier’ either ‘He was a courier’ or ‘I am a courier’. These things always have a somewhat familiar but effective ring. The post on the last line is way way back, and I had liked it, but don’t remember which post it was in which we talked about it. Writing this now because it brought back an old dance piece I went to see in one of those small Village spaces with Lar Lubovitch way back in 1971. A solo dancer named Robert Stryker was dancing several things that night, they were all haunting even though the music was Steve Reich. Just in that one little period I liked some of Reich’s things, and Stryker danced to two Reich pieces that night. He was like a moth around a flame, and when he disappeared out a little door on the stage (just like a real door with knob, not just going offstage), it was magical. We both loved the program, Lar said he was ‘much more conventional’ (I hadn’t yet seen his company), and he was (I liked one or two of his own pieces.) Years later, Diane and I would find Stryker still doing these small-space solos, I think around 1983 or 1984, when there was some interesting art still going on.

    The repeated musical-motif of one of the Reich pieces was the one I was captivated most by, because it was a beautiful violin fragment, so the thousands of variations worked (I have never heard this to be the case again with that school of minimalist composers, and never heard a Philip Glass piece I didn’t hate.) But there was another Reich piece, where the ‘music’ was words, and these words were a constantly-repeated ‘She was a visitor, she was a visitor…’ this went on for maybe 20 minutes and I don’t know how it was varied. I do know I bought the album and wanted to keep listening to the violin one (may have been even called ‘Violin Phase’), but Lar said he couldn’t take it anymore.

    Recently, I have read only net things, including NYTimes and NYReview, and TPM and this bleug, but little else, and no books. I have found that with eliminating large amounts of passive stimulation from music and films and all the rest, books too, that i have come up with more active things, including things experienced and heard or seen or read long ago, giving them a use at last, buttressing them. I imagine a lot of artists and thinkers too do this, but you don’t know when it will happen. As recently as 3 years ago, I had started watching just a few films as I would fall asleep, and I would get to know these in a different way. But I stopped doing that too. I started almost going into trances recently as a result of limiting stimulation, and this allowed some of the old things to surface with this surprising strong validity, legitimacy–things that would have gone to waste otherwise. This slows down the mad pace to keep up with what is au courant, which this era is more determined than any before it to prevent. The sense of racing is always supposed to be there. As I was slowing down this way, I noticed first a lot of OCD symptoms appearing, but now quite irrationally; I was almost making them up to fill space. Then they’d just disappear, to be replaced with just taking more care at first, and then not worrying. And in going through this (which had been forced upon me to let that surgical wound heal completely, which it did–but decidedly not on schedule), one of the things I remembered was that echo-chamber sound of ‘She Was a Visitor’, Reich’s piece now over 40 years old. And when those things come back to you in these periods, they don’t seem as fleeting and ‘trashable’ as, say, various images that come with the usual ‘coffee high’ reveries.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 6 December 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  5. Searched but couldn’t find, not in ‘Salut a Moi’ post. There was another one, something like ‘Got that baby bagged’ of some such ‘thrilled and delighted’ exclamation. Thank Gawd for not ‘We done tak’n cyare o’ dat sucker…’ very Alabama, usually ‘day-amn sucker’.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 6 December 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  6. Yes, that’s the book: “I am a courier.” I still can’t decide how I feel about this one: a lot of things happen plot-wise, but it’s also fairly abstract in certain ways, and the main character is opaque even by my standards.

    I often listen to Q2 internet radio from NYC — WQXR on traditional radio waves — and they always seem to work in some Glass. There are days when I can put up with his monotonous machinery without having to change channels. Reich I like more. I am a courier. I am a courier. I am a courier… It could work, especially if the courier eventually gets to disappear through the little door into CrawlSpace.

    I’m thinking of going into hermetic seclusion myself as a kind of performance-art accompaniment to the writing of this next book, which I believe will involve extensive underground tunneling occupied by characters having very limited access to the surface and its information flows. I tried reading William Gass’s novel The Tunnel, about a guy who digs a tunnel in his basement, but found it ponderous and set it aside unfinished. The Innocent is a pretty good Ian McEwan novel that involves tunneling under the Berlin Wall and a dismembered corpse. Very recently I read The Keep by Jennifer Egan in which two tunnel systems play a significant part. I tried reading House of Leaves, a haunted house tale in which impossibly long tunnels start showing up between the rooms. Its widely-acclaimed charms were lost on me; maybe I wasn’t in the mood. But I think this idea of tunnels and crawlspace is much richer than the usual psychoanalytic interpretations, including this sense of the secret world hermetically partitioned off from the world, the isolation enhancing the hallucinatory effects, useful as a sort of neo-surrealist creative praxis.

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 December 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  7. Finally getting closer to commercialism here: By today, I can see a kind of ‘Homage to She Was a Visitor’, and the new piece can be called simply ‘Courier’ or ‘Courier in Two Movements’. This will make it so it won’t be a mere repeat of the Reich, but will still consist of the spoken phrases. And probably still ought to be danced by someone, so we pay homage to Stryker’s extraordinary charm (I realize now ‘little door’ was as whorish as ‘little apartment’ in a sense, because the door seemed like a ‘little door’ because of where it was: It was actually the regular size single door and made part of the set. I have seen a truly ‘little door’, one custom-made by one of Noel’s slaves for his ‘toilet room’, which had no shower in it. And this was truly whorish. It was about 2/3 the width of a normal door, and it was pretty jazzy, I well remember it, as was much of Noel’s ‘little apartment (including a 14th painting decoration of a new refrigerator by a homeless ‘E.T.’ type, as Noel called him.

    Enough about that. The new piece ought to have two movements for strong coloration contrast: “I am a courier” for the first movement, and “I was a courier” for the second. But without saying what happened between movements. The first can be full of movement, going in many directions, and the second is darker and too truthful about how the first couldn’t keep on going. Something like that, still in the rough.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 7 December 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  8. 14th = 14th century (he got these designs painted directly onto the industrial fridge, in lieu of ‘stretched lace’, which was probably too expensive. The whole scene was somewhat sickening.)

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 7 December 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  9. This Laruelle essay works best as a short story. I’ve come nearly full circle on much of this continental philosophy, valuing it not as a hermeneutic of the real world but as a subgenre of speculative fiction, a set of assembly instructions for alternative world-building. But it’s so discursive it becomes self-defeating — Laruelle devotes so many words to explain that truth isn’t explained in words. To occupy Laruelle’s world you’d need texts in which an essential truth seems to be hidden behind the words — you write like this often, Patrick. It’s a way of performing what Laruelle explicates. The gap between the “am” and the “was” in your imagined Courier piece accomplishes this too, with the essential truth, the pivotal event of the whole performance, hidden backstage, behind the door, in the ent’acte.

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 December 2012 @ 5:59 am

  10. And it was Derrida who made me start thinking about ‘reading him as fiction’. I remember it as a relief, as the moment when he no longer seemed especially formidable or profound; I consciously considered him not ‘hatable’, just unimportant to me.

    Yes, I do tend to write like that, but there wouldn’t be any other way usually, oblique and uncertain which things to ‘render unto Caesar’. When I first clicked over this morning, I thought maybe there could be a middle second act that was more like a playlet wth several actors in conversation and several scenes, with time passing over decades very fast. However, if the first act had enough bueinessy things in it, there might be no need for the middle playlet. In any case, I thnk when these tentative not-quite-realizable things come to mind, it’s a nice fecund sensation, you feel as though you can experiment and play around with ideas, instead of having to follow a cautious path (even when the path is dangerous, when it’s all the more necessary to be cautious.)

    But that doesn’t ever solve the dilemma of the ‘liberating risk’ (even if it does liberate) vs. ‘those who stayed safest’, so that ‘for everything there [really] is a season’, because the greatest adventurers in art and elsewhere all had to pay the piper just as in the saying. They had no choice but to go in that direction, though, because it would have only been worse the other way (although some take that route too, it could be argued.)

    There was that talk in a film about going behind the market, but that’s not enough; it’s how much one goes behind the market, and stays inside it.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 8 December 2012 @ 9:59 am

  11. Adam Kotsko puts his “twitter quips” along the sidebar of the An Und Fur Sich blog. Here’s one of his quips: “If Deleuze has the ontology of a serial killer, Graham Harman has the ontology of a UPS guy.” I don’t think so: Harman can deliver the wrapping paper but not the parcel itself.

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 December 2012 @ 10:29 am

  12. Kotsko can’t even deliver the wrapping paper, no wonder such profundity ended up as a Twitter quip. ‘Serial killer ontology’ my ass… from someone who hasn’t even done a textual deterritorialization, much less CrawlSpace. No wonder philosophy is in bad odour.

    btw, wanted to mention to you along lines of my last comment, that Crawlspace is not nearly always underground. sometimes it works in reverse–this is quite pleasant, but the attraction to the deterritorialization freedoms which constitute some of the meanings of CrawlSpace is definitely dangerous–because you’re warned about the ‘need to RE-territorialize at some point’ (I forget which, but it’s better if you come upon it yourself–when I have been instructed about the re-territorialization, it seems to have been advice from someone who can never quite manage it), but that’s not the emphasis, as far as I can tell. Deleuze is definitely one of the most dangerous philosophers, and one of the most attractive. It’s very difficult to stay within his orbit partially, so that some end up imagining they’ve left it behind as a ‘youthful whim’. They get scared, and quite understandable that they might. But you can get out of his orbit without reacting so strongly, surely, and it’s hard to imagine Deleuze not having the integrity to want those who study him to be able to go their own way. To me, he seems flexible, but it is possible there are a number of casualties, because, for one thing, RE-territorializing can seem possibly even more of a risk. Still ‘serial-killer ontology’ is just Zizek-talk, isn’t it?.

    I just realized that there is one glaring problem with Zizek I’ve never heard expressed (although he’s always stirring up some kind of fury): He has NO CLASS.

    I never read that blog, but, since 2004 (when I first found his and APS’s old ‘Weblog’) Kotsko has grown in stature, in wisdom, and in currying-favour with God and Zizek. That’s one of the prices paid briefly-trendy pipers for the exclusive privilege of mediocrity.

    Know what you mean about Harman, whom I always forget about unless reminded, but I’d differ slightly and say he delivers a sort of parcel, the brass-tacks sort, say a supply of extra copies of his own books (then again, that’s not all that nourishing, no matter what he thinks), or maybe one of those Wisconsin-style Xmas Cheese Baskets, with the tightly packaged over-processed dreadful cheeselets (then again, that’s not all that nourishing either, the little foil around them is possibly more so.)

    I find the philosophy bleugs (which I haven’t read a word of for more than 6 weeks, and most even more than that) to be so ‘back-to-nature’ they remind me of going to various lackluster rural areas which aren’t so much bucolic as they are places where it’s mainly just watching flies fuck.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 11 December 2012 @ 11:23 am

  13. I think the serial killer remark has to do with Deleuze’s posthumanism, his idea of an immanent life force that’s released from actual human beings. And the UPS quip is related to a recently renewed critique that Harman’s philosophy mirrors neoliberal capitalism, with fetish objects circulating in a kind of interactive marketplace. But Harman can’t deliver the package because the essence of the object he delivers is withdrawn and so not really inside the wrapping paper. I made a joke about Harman’s books along these lines once, that you can get his books but you can never actually open the covers to see what’s inside. Maybe that’s just as well; I don’t much care for processed cheese balls myself.

    Following the Courier I expect to open a gap between the deterritorialization and the reterritorialization, which probably means a separate book for each. In the Courier there was some above-ground crawlspace winding through alleyways and between walls of buildings, lines of flight traversed by unmarked cars on access roads, and so on. These hidden passages will extend themselves like Deleuze’s rhizomes. But to get to the reterritorialization I have to bring in the Genesis 1 exegesis: the creation/discovery of new realities inside the formless void of crawlspace.

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 December 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  14. Yes, these you’ve described here are the physical forms of underground and overground Crawlspaces, reminding one again of the alleyways, and cancelled-out signs and addresses of Robbe-Grillet. I don’t have that kind of concentration, so that some of the ‘overground ones’ for me mean a return to some kinds of conformity, once rejected, then tested and finally decided worthy in some cases. Or warnings from various readings (alluded to in my current post on Los Angeles) on how easy it is to take a detour into non-fictional noir. And not just in Los Angeles either, there are two cases on Park Avenue in the 90s I’m thinking of, the most violent of which I told you about here over a year ago, the murders of those Khedkhers, the Prince and Princess as they called themselves (and were, to some degree, at least compared to the idiocy of Zsa Zsa and her fake Prince, who sold adoptions to 45+ men who could, I assume, pull off ‘princelingships’ in Las Vegas and Los Angeles circles of rich trash, and wouldn’t care about actually working the ‘real-royal circuit’.

    Of course, there are those films about ‘falling into real noir’, but they were still films and fictions about the real noir. I did start thinking about the escapist value of the attraction to noir, and how there’s something false in it, since detours well into it do not produce aesthetic pleasures, and are usually entered into via drugs.

    But another example of ‘overground CrawlSpace’ occurred to me only this week. You’ll remember that recent godawful ending to what had been planned as an idyllic trip–I’m in that motel for 3 days where I lose my fear of the Shower Scene. But on the day I’m about to taxi to the airport, the mastermind behind the idyllic and the thoroughgoing evil of this trip called and tried to pretend she was ending the trip with a nicely turned shape, and ordered me to get over it. About a week later, I remembered a conversation about something we had in the car, though, in which she was clearly implying that I might have done something illicit that I definitely did not. While she was saying, I was zombified enough to just tell her what I had done under such circumstances, to which she responded “We know all that”, so I say why haven’t you gone ahead and just closed the account?

    So I figured out what she was trying, with one last effort, to ‘win the game’ with not immediately, but early enough on that I ordinarily would have been able to concentrate exactly there, but the motel had caused such a seemingly long line through the entire period following until perhaps two weeks ago, that I hadn’t. As is often the case with me, I’ll have a strong image, weird abstract of some kind, this one was an attempt to see my final arrival all the way back in New York as at last complete and breaking off that experience. But it was still somehow umbilically attached, as it were, a kind of conveyor belt made it almost topological, so that I hadn’t quite finished with the motel and follow-up related issues until I finally concentrated on the things she was saying and the looks she was giving me enough to know just how guilty SHE was. Of course, had I really done the incredibly stupid thing she was insinuating, I would have given myself away, and not taken even a week to figure out what on earth she was getting at. So that not only with the horrible motel was she trying to punish me for something, ‘not putting out’, maybe, although I don’t know how far that would have actually gone in her aggressiveness. But I was fully above-ground when I was responding to her interrogation. When I had realized just before her sister took me to the motel the manipulations she had finally settled on, and her maid was at her house cold as ice, I even asked the maid if I might use the bathroom. I knew something was up, but had no idea she was this kind of plotter. The maid said “She didn’t say anything about what you could or could not do here”. But there had been no reason to bring up this matter to me had she not been suspicious. And yet that Gordianish image wouldn’t budge, would not represent full escape into a return to Metropolitan CrawlSpace until I finally found some psychological space in which I could focus on that final event as the most fundamental of all. The stay at the motel was so much longer and so ugly in itself, that it was hard to accept that the finale, much shorter in duration, had been even uglier.

    Once that was given all its deepest shades and boldly outlined, it was finally finished. Her wealth (and her unstable husband’s perhaps even more) was somewhat frightening in itself; it was as if you didn’t have quite the right to defeat it no matter how unjust their intimations were. But they did not have anything at all, and I wonder if they’ve looked back on their little experiment as being especially foolhardy.

    This has been rambling, but even though I hadn’t ‘done anything’ to merit the vile motel, I had had to use it as an alternative I did need if that was the best I could do. As such, there was some sense of noir underground to it that stayed with me. She was actually displaying her own guilt by coming there and ‘frisking me’ for something so incredibly impossible i still can barely believe it, although I did report it early on to one of my sisters, who was disgusted.

    There’s a similar experience Didion had in the eponymous essay of The White Album, when an old acquaintance comes to see her at the Hollywood House in the 60s, and sees Joan’s mail in the foyer, and flips through it. Didion concludes that, at that point, she began to realize that ‘the visit had not been entirely social’. And she was living aboveground even then. Some places really are suited for these colorations than others. An old Juilliard friend from San Francisco hated LA, and said to me before I ever went “Yeah, you can’t do anything about it in L.A. It gets into your body.” And indeed, in the Hollywood area in particular, there is an enormous saturation of drugs, such that even potsmokers refer to its extremes. Since I’ve never used crystal meth, etc., I didn’t even know it for a long time (although there has been the cocaine reputation in LA for 25 or more years), and I did find out that it was near omnipresent.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 12 December 2012 @ 11:18 am

  15. The less violent Park Avenue story (which includes Los Angeles) I’m still studying and am not talking about it until I decide what I’m going to do with it. But both of them seem very fruitful from which to write a fiction (if I want to), as they have a couple of things in common, and these things are very uncommon except among the faltering very rich. I just mentioned this, because the ‘Crawlspace’ of that Alabama horror-climax is not something worth writing about beyond reporting it, and that it may be possible that NOT knowing all the details, but just a goodly number of them, including the various arrests in either, the cases, might help to write a fiction. Because the characters are clearly amazing, and the things you said about ‘not much character development’ in modern fiction could find an exception with these. Capote did some of that in ‘In Cold Blood’, never one of my favourites, but one could imagine all sorts of childhood and adolescent problems with characters in both cases. The murderers in the Khedkher case could easily be homosexual porn (30-year age difference) amid the slayings (shortly after the Khedkhers, they cut the throats of two people in a West Side apt. they were robbing.) The case I’m not reporting here, though, has much more atmosphere, and invitation to filligreed detail that would not even be tinsel, since it existed.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 12 December 2012 @ 11:47 am

  16. “it may be possible that NOT knowing all the details, but just a goodly number of them, including the various arrests in either, the cases, might help to write a fiction”

    I agree. Often I don’t know all the details — there remains something hidden and unspoken, usually the most important thing for gaining real understanding. I harbor the noir paranoia that someone knows and is keeping it from me, but maybe I’m giving others too much credit. I tend to intuit unsavory motives and to predict dire developments — possibly a personality flaw, though others who know me well have come to regard it as a kind of dark gift. I no longer doubt that my outlook isn’t just predictive; it’s also causative — though here I might be giving myself too much credit. I’m starting to sound like a stock fictional character here, an antihero variant type. But you — do you understand now everything about the Alabama motel episode, or are you still having to speculate what might have happened?

    Comment by ktismatics — 12 December 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  17. “But you — do you understand now everything about the Alabama motel episode, or are you still having to speculate what might have happened?”

    Thanks for your patience on this one, and for asking. Yes, I think I understand all I need to know, technical matters such as whether she really is so delusional as to think I might have swiped and/or used her or her husband’s credit card I just have to live without being sure. There was not a single reason to think it, and there were reasons that she’d make a theatrical nasty display at the end–one, the Welbutrin, which she’s been on because her husband is ‘so cold and distant, wanting her only for food and sex’, is supposed to help her lose her obesity as well (but makes her cranky and aggressive), and the fact that HIS entire family kept telling me how she ‘overreacted’ to literally everything, and that ‘it has gotten a lot worse recently’. By the time we’d gotten to the airport (I think the ‘interrogation was after she took me to a final lunch, place based on ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’, and that could have been to ‘soften my anger’ that she knew was quite a-boil even in zombi form. I can simply not imagine lifting anyone’s credit card (I guess it had to be, not a debit card) and expecting to get away with it, so there are fully illegal things that simply are not in my repertory. I may never know. Therefore in that car, I recently saw it as being in reterritorializing crawlspace, even if that’s a little awkward, not exact

    But the important thing is a further elaboration yesterday in my mind of what I already wrote. It was an image out of which I was trying to stretch and be free, and when I’d look at it in my mind’s eye, I’d think yes, that was the path of the escape, but it never felt free, there was always chapping and snags and bands tightened or loosened but holding fast–it was an explicitly Moebial topological abstract I was seeing, in it’s strangely 100% clear way: I still couldn’t nail DOWN the questioning in the car as being as important to the structure I was trying to work with as the quagmire-mud of the motel, i.e., it was structured 1) arrival and several lovely days with my hostess and her friends and travelling to charming, remote places 2) 2 lovely days with my immediate family (hostess was there) 3) immediate and (to me) surprise cutoff of all good feeling due to my hostess’s determination to make a scene of her own (she was a half-hearted wannabe actress in college and not much more, and still likes to prance around and do fag-hag talk–this works for most of her sissy-flock) 4) extra details ensuing which made it even more obvious what she was determined to do 5) 3 1/2 days alone at the motel, and then about to leave 6) she calls and appears, we lunch, she questions, is satisfied, and I’m at the airport ‘free of her’. But the motel still was so dark, hateful, and vicious and shock-inducing that everytime I tried to see that I’d ‘therapized’ this series properly, I always saw the movement to New York as having slipped out of the half-dead ‘dark inertia’ of the motel and eating rotisserie from Wal Mart (surprisingly good); the series of events never contained the half-hour in the car from the motel to the airport. I didn’t have control of the structure until I was able to quite thinking of the motel’s ‘illegitimacy to the trip’ and force concentration on the car scene LONG ENOUGH to nail it in as the crucial essence (the motel was a muddy mess, but vague and weak). Once I had finally really nailed it in, the topological Moebialism was literally gone from the image, and I was in NY determining the structure of all of it, hoping I can sustain this (in any case, it won’t return to the Moebialism, which I thought were supposed to be permanent scleroses, and it seems they most definitely are not, but may include temporary devices to sustain themselves and their malignancy, and you had BETTER find them! In other words, the Moebial image always strongly suggested the dominance of the hostess’s ethos, her machinations. I’d keep imagining I’d ‘beaten this thing’, as they say, but I never had until it became very obvious, and I stopped seeing that image at all; it very obviously just dissolved, and no more than two weeks ago at most. There really was a major piece missing if I really wanted this draining of energy to stop, and when I shoved it in permanently, it was somewhat surprising that that made the whole sequence from beginning to end seem clear and real–that it had ended disastrously was not my fault, so that seeing it as having ended disastrously became much preferable to wishing it hadn’t, lamenting that it hadn’t, trying to ‘just remember the pretty parts’, etc. I guess that the motel’s weird weakness of mud and inertia seemed a more dramatic sequence than her sudden appearance in which her attempt to ‘make it right again’ while also getting bossy and suspicious, seemed paltry. But it was her final squalid entrance that gave me back control of the structure. Until then, the ‘motel part’ would always have this half-alive, ‘wrongful’ dissonance–especially coming after such joyous scenes (including one I even owe her–that hidden ante-bellum house deep in the Black Belt where the descendants of the builder still lived, albeit on very obvious hard times. It was straight out of ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’, Capote’s first book that he never equalled again–the Cloud Hotel; it had that kind of hiddenness to it.)

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 13 December 2012 @ 9:44 am

  18. This little detail concludes the Moebius Image: The final two parts of it were the motel leading directly to my New York apartment, so that not only was the hostess’s final appearance omitted, practically speaking, but the flight back, which had long layovers. Leaving out the labour of getting from the motel back to my apartment, down to local transport was like ‘colonizing the apartment’ into the continued zombification. But again, this one was too crucial for the continuaion of my very life for me to find it interesting as any kind of fiction–if anything, it wants MORE details, even if it’s got enough by now. But a fiction based on this, no. The only image worthwhile, the house lost in time, is a kind of thing already well-covered by Faulkner, in particular, and the one time by Capote, before he became a female NY socialite

    “I harbor the noir paranoia that someone knows and is keeping it from me, but maybe I’m giving others too much credit. I tend to intuit unsavory motives and to predict dire developments ”

    I think I do this too, and then there are strange twists to prove that the paranoia was not nearly always well-placed. Those neighbours across the way with their flashlights they directed at my open window seemed like part of a whole paranoia I was going through just after the storm had done its worst in this area (it’s still a gigantic catastrophe out in my old beach area of Far Rockaway, on a level of horror close to Katrina), but that disappeared when I put up a permanent blocking curtain. whether they wanted to see in or whether they thought I was ‘peeping-tomming’ them I don’t know nor care, I just wanted the freakiness to go away. As to ‘dire developments predicted’, I’ll easily do this when but one dire development takes place, apparently believing in the applicability of Domino Theory to all circumstances.

    Comment by Patrick Mullins — 13 December 2012 @ 10:00 am

  19. That the hostess is feeling neglected and unloved, that increasingly she is given to theatrics, that others have noted her tendency to overreact, that she would try to choreograph a last-day reconciliation — having access to these parallax views gives you needed perspective for seeing the third dimension in this tightly enclosed scene. The return, the lavish embrace followed by accusation and exile, the mud motel — all of it is so disorienting it would be hard to keep one’s bearings until getting out of there and regrouping. But to have it end with the definitive car scene — it does bring the Mobius all the way round, a nice dramatic flourish even in a nonfictional raconte.

    Comment by ktismatics — 13 December 2012 @ 11:53 am

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