1 April 2007

To Sing Doesn’t Cost You a Penny

Filed under: Fiction, First Lines — ktismatics @ 12:10 am

It must have been a Thursday night when I met her for the first time — at a dance hall.

– Henry Miller, Sexus, 1962

Henry Miller is one of the heroes of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. In his books Miller’s hero was himself, or at least a fictional persona who narrates the stories and who calls himself Henry Miller. The first line of Sexus begins Miller’s seven-year obsession with “her.” Here’s a taste:

I will go directly to her home, ring the bell, and walk in. Here I am, take me — or stab me to death. Stab the head, stab the brain, stab the lungs, the kidneys, the viscera, the eyes, the ears. If only one organ be left alive you are doomed — doomed to be mine, forever, in this world and the next and all the worlds to come. I’m a desperado of love, a scalper, a slayer. I’m insatiable. I eat hair, dirty wax, dry blood clots, anything and everything you call yours.

I believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, in the blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost, in Adam Cadmium, in chrome nickel, the oxides and the mercurochromes, in waterfowls and water cress, in epileptoid seizures, in bubonic plagues, in devachan, in planetary conjunctions, in chicken tracks and stick-throwing, in revolutions, in stock crashes, in wars, earthquakes, cyclones, in Kali Yoga and in hula-hula. I believe. I believe. I believe because not to believe is to become as lead, to lie prone and rigid, forever inert, to waste away. . . .

I said to myself over and over that if a man, a sincere and desperate man like myself, loves a woman with all his heart, if he is ready to cut off his ears and mail them to her, if he will take his heart’s blood and pump it out on paper, saturate her with his need and longing, besiege her everlastingly, she cannot possibly refuse him. The homeliest man, the weakest man, the most undeserving man must triumph if he is willing to surrender his last drop of blood. No woman can hold out against the gift of absolute love.

I never worried about the genius: genius takes care of the genius in a man… All geniuses are leeches, so to speak. They feed from the same source — the blood of life. The most important thing for the genius is to make himself useless, to be absorbed in the common stream, to become a fish again and not a freak of nature. The only benefit, I reflected, which the act of writing could offer me was to remove the differences that separated me from my fellow man. I definitely did not want to become the artist, in the sense of becoming something strange, something apart and out of the current of life… No man ever puts down what he intended to say: the original creation, which is taking place all the time, whether one writes or doesn’t write, belongs to the primal flux: it has no dimensions, no form, no time element. In this preliminary state, which is creation and not birth, what disappears suffers no destruction; something which was already there, something imperishable, like memory, or matter, or God, is summoned and in it one flings himself like a twig into a torrent. Words, sentences, ideas, no matter how subtle or ingenious, the maddest flights of poetry, the most profound dreams, the most hallucinating visions, are but crude hieroglyphs chiseled in pain and sorrow to commemorate an event, which is untransmissible. In an intelligently ordered world there would be no need to make the unreasonable attempt of putting such miraculous happenings down. Indeed, it would make no sense, for if men only stopped to realize it, who would be content with the counterfeit when the real is at everyone’s beck and call?

I suppose it does sound funny to hear someone say, ‘I love it, it’s wonderful, it’s good, it’s great,’ meaning everything. Of course I don’t feel that way every day — but I’d like to. And when I do I’m normal, when I’m myself. Everybody does, if given a chance. It’s the natural state of the heart. The trouble is, we’re terrorized most of the time. I say ‘we’re terrorized,’ but I mean we terrorize ourselves.

If we could still believe in a god, we’d make him a god of vengeance. We’d surrender to him with a full heart the task of cleaning things up. It’s too late for us to pretend to clean up the mess. We’re in it up to the eyes. We don’t want a new world . . . we want an end to the mess we’ve made. At sixteen you can believe in a new world . . . you can believe anything, in fact . . . but at twenty you’re doomed, and you know it. At twenty you’re well in harness, and the most you can hope for is to get off with arms and legs intact. It isn’t a question of fading hope . . . Hope is a baneful sign; it means impotence. Courage is no use either; everybody can muster courage — for the wrong thing. I don’t know what to say — unless I use a word like vision. And by that I don’t mean a projected picture of the future, of some imagined ideal made real. I mean something more flexible, more constant . . . something like a third eye. We had it once. There was a sort of clairvoyance which was natural and common to all men. Then came the mind, and that eye which permitted us to see whole and round and beyond was absorbed by the brain, and we became conscious of the world, and of one another, in a new way. Our pretty little egos came into bloom: we became self-conscious, and with that came conceit, arrogance, blindness, a blindness such as was never known before, not even by the blind.

Lie down, then, on the soft couch which the analyst provides, and try to think up something different. The analyst has endless time and patience; every minute you detain him means more money in his pocket. He is like God, in a sense — the God of your own creation. Whether you whine, howl, beg, weep, implore, cajole, pray or curse — he listens. He is just a big ear minus a sympathetic nervous system. He is impervious to everything but truth. If you think it pays to fool him then fool him. Who will be the loser? If you think he can help you, and not yourself, then stick to him until you rot. He has nothing to lose. But if you realize that he is not a god but a human being like yourself, with worries, defects, ambitions, frailties, that he is not the repository of an all-encompassing wisdom but a wanderer along the path, perhaps you will cease pouring it out like a sewer, however melodious it may sound to your ears, and rise up on your own two legs and sing with your own God-given voice. To confess, to whine, to complain, to commiserate, always demands a toll. To sing doesn’t cost you a penny. Not only does it cost nothing — you actually enrich others. Sing the praises of the Lord, it is enjoined. Aye, sing out! Sing out, O Master-builder! Sing out, glad warrior! But, you quibble, how can I sing when the world is crumbling, when all about me is bathed in blood and tears? Do you realize that the martyrs sang when they were being burned at the stake? They saw nothing crumbling, they heard no shrieks of pain. They sang because they were full of faith. Who can demolish faith? Who can wipe out joy? Men have tried, in every age. But they have not succeeded. Joy and faith are inherent in the universe. In growth there is pain and struggle; in accomplishment there is joy and exuberance; in fulfillment there is peace and serenity. Between the planes and spheres of existence, terrestrial and superterrestrial, there are ladders and lattices. The one who mounts sings. He is made drunk and exalted by unfolding vistas. He ascends sure-footedly, thinking not of what lies below, should he slip and lose his grasp, but of what lies ahead. Everything lies ahead. The way is endless, and the farther one reaches the more the road opens up. The bogs and quagmires, the marshes and sinkholes, the pits and snares, are all in the mind. They lurk in waiting, ready to swallow one up he moment one ceases to advance. The phantasmal world is the world which has not been fully conquered over. It is the world of the past, never of the future. To move forward clinging to the past is like dragging a ball and chain. The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the greatest crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.



  1. I like that. Its easier to read than directly Deleuze and Guittari, I suppose…or at least ABOUT D/G. Anyway…it doesn’t cost a penny to sing, but a penny is the necessary cost of the end of the song. Myth of the River Styx, dude.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 1 April 2007 @ 1:15 am

  2. Another quote from the book: A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing is to inoculate the world with the virus of his disillusionment. No man would set word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in. The fictional narrator Henry Miller vacillates between visions of life as life and life as death. For him the myths populate the phantasmal world of the past, dragging him down like a ball and chain. Styx is the portal to the entire dead mythic world. Charon drives the shuttle bus at the Disneyland parking lot, collecting his fee from everybody who wants to go in. Deleuze and Guattari are anti-Styx too: leave Oedipus in the past, let the dead bury their dead.


    Comment by ktismatics — 1 April 2007 @ 6:06 am

  3. “The modern man is forced towards the future by a certain sense of fatigue, not unmixed with terror, with which he regards the past. It is propelled towards the coming time; it is, in the exact words of the popular parlance, knocked into the middle of next week. And the goad which drives it on thus eagerly is not affectation for futurity. Futurity does not exist, because it is still future. Rather it is a fear of the past; a fear not merely of the evil of the past, but of the good of the past also. The brain breaks down under the unbearable virtue of mankind. There have been so many flaming faiths that we cannot hold; so many harsh heroisms that we cannot imitate [Carlo Scarpa didn’t put columns in his buildings simply because he said we couldn’t make them anymore]; so many efforts of monumental building or of military glory which seem to us at once sublime and pathetic. The future is a refuge from the fierce competition of our forefathers. The older generation, not the younger, is knocking at our door. It is agreable to escape, as Henley said, into the Stre of By-and-Bye, where stands the Hostlelry of the Never. It is pleasant to play with children, especially unborn children. The future is a blank wall on which every an can write his own name as large as he likes; the past I find already covered with illegible scribbles, such as Plato, Isaiah, Shakespeare, Michael Angelo, Napoleon. I can make the future as narrow as myself; the past is obliged to be as broad and turbulet as humanity. And the upshot of this modern attitude is really this: that men invent new ieals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look foward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”
    G.K. Chesterton – What’s Wrong With the World, p. 29, 30.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 1 April 2007 @ 4:38 pm

  4. Great quote. Miller’s narrator admires things about the past, especially the deep past of pre-civilization. He also admires the great achievements. I flipped open the book randomly and got this from p.133… oh, I can’t even begin to quote. Miller lives in the passions of the body, but he’s also trying to write. And he’s acutely attuned to the difficulties of trying to write something true and beautiful and intensely personal in a world increasingly filled with crapola. He sees the lure of the comfortable life, but he writes and writes and nobody publishes and he writes some more. He lives a hard discipline that, despite his protestations, is the path of the martyr and the hero. He just doesn’t want to be conigned to reliving anybody else’s life, even a great life. He’s committed to old virtues of truth and beauty and a strange sort of humility, but he’s also committed to the passions and their expression and his own unique path through the world. He sees art as a personal universal, and he’s trying to find his way there, making artistic virtue even out of his vices. He says: The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues. You can’t separate them. They’re wedded.


    Comment by ktismatics — 1 April 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  5. I like that…the wedding of imperfections and virtues. Just sang at church this morning, “If ever did such sorrow and love” meet at the Cross.

    As for a strange sort of humility…that’s another reason why Gnosticism, or things like it, appear as oh-so-true. They are truly and genuinely claiming only to be the conduit of something beyond themselves. That can be said of Deleuze or the Gnostics.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 1 April 2007 @ 10:18 pm

  6. Oops…the lyrics to that song go: “Did ever such joy and sorrow meet? And thorns compose so rich a crown? Oh the wonderful Cross.”


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 1 April 2007 @ 10:33 pm

  7. Jason –

    Well anyhow, Miller writes fiction; Sexus is a novel. It seems like part of the idea is to enter into the fictional reality as it’s presented to you, which is a reality other than the one we live in on a day-to-day basis. Every novel, every film is iconic; the projected sounds and images point inside themselves and pull you in as a vicarious participant in that other reality. To that extent all fiction is gnostic.

    Letting yourself be a conduit for forces flowing through you…when I ran in charismatic circles the paradigm was interpreted something like this: There are principalities and powers and forces of darkness that interpenetrate the world and the people who live in the world. If you follow a praxis of opening yourself up, of relaxing your vigilance, then these demonic forces exploit the opening you’ve given them. Your open channel becomes an invitation for demonic influence or possession. Is this at least part of the gnosticism you perceive in guys like Miller and Deleuze & Guattari? That the human desires themselves become a channel for semi-personalized spiritual beings to express themselves?


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 9:07 am

  8. Oh, and why were y’all surveying the wondrous cross on Palm Sunday? I thought maybe you’d have a triumphal entry processional under the palm trees of the City of the Angels.


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 1:05 pm

  9. Surveying the wondrous cross? I guess it wasn’t that long ago when you were in the church! That’s not that old of a song, I don’t think. But anyway, we were surveying the wonderious cross, because that church doesn’t have church on Good Friday…or for the folks who don’t come, I guess. Not sure, acutally.

    “Every novel, every film is iconic; the projected sounds and images point inside themselves and pull you in as a vicarious participant in that other reality. To that extent all fiction is gnostic.”

    I see this as going in two possible directions. Film can do what you’re saying…like, purely. For me to see this as purely gnostic, I would have to detect in the work a telos or eschaton or whatever that means escape from this present reality…like, as the goal or meaning of life.

    The other possible direction this iconic pointing can go is for the vicarious participant to be pointed – by the projected and extended fictional world – back to the “Real” reality of the participants world in a way that he or she may not have noticed, precisely because he or she was attempting to escape it (probably)! That’s “the only way out is through” kind of thing.

    As for your paragraph about charismatics and demon possession and Deleuze. For one, I would like to just say that I don’t think its avoidable for one to be a conduit of “forces” beyond ones self. That’s just the way it is. So the question becomes to whom it is you are opening the door.

    Deleuze and Guittari, in particular? Like, “Don’t listen to them, because you will let in demonic forces”? I don’t know about that. That’s sounds like simplistic behaviorilism to me, or something like it. If that’s even what you’re asking about? But my point is…you (the perverbial “you”) need to know what it means for something to be demonic…and not. At which point it is possible to sort out what can be let in through a side window from Deleuze’s message and what can not be accepted.

    To me the root of this is the “neo-pagan” picture that involves a “self-centeredness”. The basic meaning of idolatry; technology as an extension of man’s being. Man makes his technologies, then they in turn make him.

    To me, though, there is also an issue or question of grounding. If Delueze and Guittari are not standing on the ground of Christos Yeshua…then they are on different grounds than I. Their “identity” is “defined” differently. They would want to beg otherwise, of course. So would those at Expression Mondays. And not even due to any real love for Jesus. But due to a committment to some abstracted universal spirit thing that was handed to us by modernity and has untertaken a remasking or two. But anwyay…the point?…in regards to the demonic? The “grounds” of Yeshua’s Villa don’t have any rooms open to demons. “No vacancy (for demons). LOTS of vacancy or my peoples, though.”

    “The Grounds” of anything not-Yeshua Christos…at least have the doors open, or unlocked, or something…I’m not sure, to the demonic. Because of what I was saying about the root or essence of that which is demonic…”self-centerdness”…its like being on grounds of not-Jesus is asking for the demonic. Is like living on the outskirts of the grounds, with the Devil living in and reigning from the middle. You might not even want anything to do with the Devil, but you live on his grounds…so then what?

    SO…gnosticism in particular and demonic forces? It has to do with the idea, then, of Gnosticism’s notion of the one who undergoes the gnosis becoming like a god…after having “ascended”…being able to rule and move “freely” in the world, so to speak.

    So: “Is this at least part of the gnosticism you perceive in guys like Miller and Deleuze & Guattari? That the human desires themselves become a channel for semi-personalized spiritual beings to express themselves?” A VERY EMPHATIC NO NO NO NO! Human desires are GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD! As per the above…its more nuanced…and difficult as “hell” to explain (or even understand in the first place), lol.

    At least that’s my take, as of now. Make sense?


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 6:38 pm

  10. I just checked it out: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” was first published in 1707 — 300 years ago on the nose. Isaac Watts wrote it, an English Puritan. He also wrote Joy to the World, Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun, Our God Our Help in Ages Past — the hits just keep on coming.


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  11. Well, I guess it was less than 300 years ago when you left the church, lol. I also guess I was a bit off. That’s what you get for basing your idea of truth on your own experiences. I don’t remember hearing that song growing up. Then heard it later…like in college or in L.A.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  12. “On the dot”????

    You mean it was written exactly 300 years ago? On 4/2/07 at 7:00pm?



    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 2 April 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  13. I sense some relation between Miller’s quote and Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Interestingly, McLuhan talks about Joyce incessantly…as a model for understanding technology and how it is an extension of man and how it then in turn shapes man. And how that is played out in history. I don’t know enough about Joyce…but when I read Portrait of an Artist, and got to the end…I thought it sounded pretty “pagan”. In terms of that essential question of self and its placement in relation to what’s around it (question of the center). But the Greeks, in a sense, despite their self-centeredness, still thought of themselves as vessels…as leaves in the winds of godly forces. The one who came out appearing godly in the world had the favor of the gods, or showed exemplary service to some powerful god, or whatever.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  14. Arg…italics. I guess I did it wrong. Hhmm..

    France Italy. See if that worked. Maybe its all about the spaces between the


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  15. Nope, not about the spaces. Nor France and Italy. Crazyness.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  16. A nose, unlike a Cartesian point, has a lot of terraian – providing a lot of leeway for the meaning of the phrase “on the nose”. A Cartesian point, in fact, has no terrain at all! Providing zero leeway, as well.



    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  17. Yeah well, a little more recently than 300 years ago anyway. Although I suppose they’ve updated it, probably sing Watts’ words to a tune by My Chemical Romance or some other combo that you young people find appealing. I got out just in time before the freaking guitarists kicked the organist out on the street. Jonathan dude, you gotta take a break from that accounting. Too much precision can kill the soul. Flee modernism for fuzzy thinking.

    I think films and novels are about visiting other realities, not moving there permanently. Though for me part of what fiction does is to ask why some of these other imagined realities couldn’t be superimposed on this one. The novelist or filmmaker lives in one reality but imagines another. Fictions are transubstantial, with the signifiers of this reality signifying another reality. I read about a study of people’s ordinary conversations where they were looking at what makes people laugh. The researcher said it was like watching a really boring sitcom. I wish people talked to each other the way scriptwriters and novelists have them talk. It’s a motivation to write fiction — at least you can have some decent conversations for a change. And of course there’s the Baudrillard and McLuhan insights that our world is so permeated by media that the various fictional realities of TV and movies have become part of the larger reality.

    I really don’t think Deleuze & Guattari are advocating self-centeredness. Just the opposite in a lot of ways: get out of the self and into the world. The giant self is an artifact of modernity; it needs to shrink back to a more manageable size. Create stuff in the world, without worrying so much about your self: that’s D&G’s agenda, and Miller’s too. Desire is a force for creativity in the world, not just for self-indulgence. Or at least that’s their proposition.

    But no doubt they are not grounded in God. When I was in seminary I took a master’s in counseling along with an M.Div. It was very difficult to identify a distinctively Christian praxis for therapy that wasn’t a retrofitting of secular theory and method. I doubt that’s changed much. D&G’s praxis of deterritorialization could be a legitimate treatment program for Christian counselors dealing with overly uptight Christians. Especially if you assert that the natural human desires are redeemed and being transformed by the Spirit, then it seems like it becomes an act of faith to stop keeping such tight conscious control over your desires and to trust that God will keep you from going wild.


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  18. Samuel Beckett, the subject of today’s post, was a kind of disciple of Joyce and almost married his daughter. Joyce I haven’t read in a long time, and I just couldn’t make it through Ulysses, which of course is a mythic retelling and neo-Greek, along with some Celtic pagan channeling thrown in. Beckett’s books are about what happens when you stop channeling the desires outward and they get completely jammed up: schizo. But Beckett got a Nobel Prize for literature; Joyce didn’t. Beckett’s wife said winning the prize was a catastrophe for Beckett, who was a very private person. They lived in an apartment in Paris overlooking the exercise ground of a prison. Inspiration.


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  19. SEMINARY! WHAT!? Please explain.

    And: “The novelist or filmmaker lives in one reality but imagines another.” Then WHO is he!? McLuhan says, “When you’re on the phone, you have no body.” And further, where does who he is (whatever that is) come from?

    On Deleuze and Guittari and self-centeredness. You made reference to that before, talking about a “strange humility”…I think. But yes, I definitely see what you are saying, how it could be taken as being not self-centered. That’s why I was saying that that and Gnosticism can so easily ring true in our souls. And that’s also why I was talking about the pagan telos as compared to the Christian eschaton. “Emergence” of gods rather than the finality of the Cross and Resurrection.

    And: “D&G’s praxis of deterritorialization could be a legitimate treatment program for Christian counselors dealing with overly uptight Christians. Especially if you assert that the natural human desires are redeemed and being transformed by the Spirit, then it seems like it becomes an act of faith to stop keeping such tight conscious control over your desires and to trust that God will keep you from going wild.”

    I could see that, at least to a degree. I guess it would depend on a lot of things…the person, the circumstances? For me, right now…I pretty much have to avoid certain things as much as possible. But I am very conscious of the temporariness of that avoidance. Nor am I entirely successful in it, anyway.

    But yes…I could see the conflict in trying to find a distinctively Christian praxis for therapy that wasn’t just like pulling a liberal protestant move on you (the perverbial “you”). You probably have a lot of insight into that. Anyway, that’s the neverending debate over at churchandpomo, but in a very different way.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 9:12 pm

  20. The novelist/filmmaker is double: the guy who’s writing the book and the guy who’s reading what he’s writing.

    I agree that that’s the pomo question too — what use can be made of all these atheistic philosophers? Can they help map the territory that’s already staked out, or will they end up redrawing the boundaries?

    Sure, seminary, why not? Did I mention the doctorate in astrophysics? My Hall of Fame baseball career? My stint in the federal penitentiary, sentence commuted by my close personal friend Bill Clinton? Oh the stories I could tell…


    Comment by ktismatics — 2 April 2007 @ 9:31 pm

  21. Novelist/filmmaker…but what about his identity in relation to his two realities…not at performer and audience, but in the world of “fantasy” and the world of his actual living in actual time and space.

    As for your last paragraph…??? Where’s the line here between your being funny and your being superman in regular clothes (and in a prison, lol)? And, actually…very practically…what does the following phrase MEAN: “sentence commuted by”? I feel like I’m missing something obvious that I should not.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  22. Prison? Let me guess then that Foucault was your entrance into postmodern thought?


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 April 2007 @ 11:20 pm

  23. No, no prison time. Seminary yes, doctorate in psychology yes, the rest is hooey.

    In my view reality is some set of meaningful stuff. Speaking for myself, while at work on a novel I’m assembling a reality comprised of words and imagination. While I’m engaged in the work I’m occupying that reality as it takes shape. But I’m also living in a pre-assembled reality occupied by computers and snack foods and the English language. Multiple overlapping realities, because multiple ways of making sense of things. The imagination can create new things, places, people that other people can engage by reading, looking, listening. It takes imagination to make a machine; it takes imagination to make a fictional place occupied by fictional characters. Imagination is essential in creating any reality. Material realities aren’t privileged over ideational or verbal realities; They’re just made of different raw materials. Or so I contend.

    The writing isn’t performance; it’s creation done in private. The publishing might better be characterized as performance. And the reading of what I’m writing: not so much audience as participant-observer in the fictional reality that’s taking shape, decoupled from myself as creator of that reality. But I’m at the same time a participant in a reality of food and floors and clocks.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 April 2007 @ 4:49 am

  24. OK, prepare yourself for a funny joke. I think that maybe with your lack of definitive boundaries between the imaginary and the real, you might be a crazy psychologist. I am referring to your, “Material realities aren’t privileged over ideational or verbal realities; They’re just made of different raw materials. Or so I contend.” I won’t deny the effectiveness of your counseling…I guess it takes one to know one, LOL. Sometimes I crack myself up. Thankfully there’s an “elan vital”.

    And…I see what you mean by performer, publisher, writer, ect….by performer/writer I was simply referring to the difference between the reality that takes the stage of the world, and the person responsible for placing it there. You are both…that’s part of the joy of the act…it would be alienating otherwise…unless we were in fact like animals.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 April 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  25. Imagination is what turns the merely material into a reality. There are realities everywhere if you can imagine them. Crazy you say? Crazy? We’ll see who’s crazy, muahahaha!

    I’m glad you see what I’m talking about in the alternation between creating and observing what you create, as you go along. It is part of the joy, this doubling of the self that overcomes self-alienation. Maybe it makes the creator less lonely to become his own double.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 April 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  26. Reality is Here. “…at hand…”

    And of course I see what you’re talking about with the audience thing. I’m an artist. I think part of why I started drawing when I was a kid, besides its being a gift, was to create an audience for myself’s self. But I’m learning that it doesn’t make me less lonely to play with myself.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 April 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  27. No, you’d like someone else to join you, probably in the audience, but maybe in the creating too. Or is art just a substitute for love?


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 April 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  28. There’s no avoiding being joined by and with the audience in the act of creation. Art is either a substitute or an act of love, depending on where our trust is. Of course you’d like someone else to join you if your trust is in yourself (the perverbial “you”).


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 April 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  29. Jason –

    There’s no avoiding being joined by and with the audience in the act of creation. Are you speaking of self-as-audience, an audience of other humans, an imaginary audience, a divine audience?

    Of course you’d like someone else to join you if your trust is in yourself. Is trust in yourself a good thing in this context? Does that imply that if your trust is in the other then you don’t want someone else to join you?


    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2007 @ 10:54 am

  30. Audience – I was referring to any audience at all. The audience is part of what makes the work, whoever it is.

    Trust – I was referring specifically to our ongoing McLuhan thread, in which technology is an extension of the self…”those who trust in them will be like them”, ect. But trust in yourself, I think in a certain context, can and should obviously be a good thing. My own issue is whether or not I am open to trust of any other at all. My assumption would be that once you do trust another you would be happy to have them with you, essentially. Of course they would also partially be a pain in the ass. Comes with the territory. But that’s what “work” is!


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 April 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  31. The audience is part of what makes the work. This is one of the big questions for me: if there is no audience, is a creation incomplete? I write a book and no one reads it: is it really a book? I think about an imaginary audience: people who would find the book meaningful and enjoyable if they happened to get their hands on it. But if this imaginary audience never sees the book? Or if there are no actual people in the world who correspond to the audience I imagine? This is a difficult problem, and I suspect it affects more than just me.

    I’d like to join or be joined by fellow travelers who also create, who are prepared to take the time to get into what each other is doing, to occupy the worlds unveiled by the creations and to visit them and learn from them, maybe add something to them. Less of a sitting back and critiquing, more of a co-participation. And collaborators in the doing of the creative work? Maybe that too, though it’s almost beyond my imagining.


    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  32. Second paragraph sounds to me like you’re talking about Church, there mister.

    First paragraph? The reading is part of the making, yes. But as well so is the writing, of course. Regardless, you have pro-deuce (in my mind), and the audience is one of the two who goes into its making. Anyway, what if praying to an imaginary audience leads to an imaginary audience, so to speak?


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 April 2007 @ 11:12 pm

  33. No church I’ve ever been part of. Besides, don’t you have to, like, believe in God to be part of a church?

    The idea of writing a book that no one reads isn’t an abstract hypothetical concept for me. It’s been my life for, oh, 3 years now. It was Henry Miller’s life too. Somehow he managed to carry on. If you believe that Henry Miller the main character in his novels bears any resemblance to Henry Miller the writer of the novels, then what kept him going were a desire that manifested itself as writing, a couple of pals who liked what he wrote, and some kind of faith that some day the writings would get read. His books were banned as obscene in America for twenty years. So were Henry Miller’s 20-year-old books incomplete until the audience read them? I doubt he saw it that way. For Miller I’d say that a book is a creation put forth by the creator. When I read his books I feel privileged to read them, glad he wrote them. I don’t feel that I’m in any way completing the books by reading them.


    Comment by ktismatics — 5 April 2007 @ 3:40 am

  34. Church. For one, of course, we’re thinking of “creative” communities differently. For two, that most every church doesn’t fit the description of what you are looking for is why so many folks are aggrevated with church. And yes, I suppose you do have to believe in God to be a part of a church. But from my standpoint, one’s lack of belief in God doesn’t bar one from desiring God. Call my statement about your looking for church, then, the anti-Doylian statement on church.

    And I’m not suggesting that you complete the books when you read them, but that your reading it is part of the process of its being made. Its still being made. Its still not complete.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 April 2007 @ 8:24 pm

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