26 September, 2012

Walt Whitman

Make no puns
funny remarks
Double entendres
“witty” remarks
Only that which
is simply earnest
meant, —harmless
to anyone’s feelings
nothing to
excite a

*Walt Whitman instructs himself in an 1855-56 notebook about the Second Edition of Leaves of Grass.

19 September, 2012

The Book of Disquiet

There's a tiredness of abstract inteligence, and it's the most horrible of tirednesses. It doesn't weight on you like the tiredness of the body, nor does it worry you like the tiredness of knowledge and emotion. It's a weightiness of the conscience of the world, an inability of the soul to breathe. 


The idea of any social obligation, just the idea of it embarrasses my thoughts for a day, and sometimes it's since the day before that I worry, and don't sleep well, and the real affair, when it happens, is absolutely insignificant and justifies nothing; and the case repeats itself and I never learn to learn. 


Every day things happen in the world that cannot be explained by any law of things we know. Every day they're mentioned and forgotten, and the same mystery that brought them takes them away, transforming their secret into oblivion. Such is the law by which things that can't be explained must be forgotten. The visible world goes on as usual in the broad daylight. Otherness watches us from the shadows. 


For the moment being, given that we live in society, the only duty of superior men is to reduce to a minimum their participation in the tribe's life. Not to read newspapers, or read them only to know about whatever unimportant and curious is going on. / [...] The supreme honorable state for a superior man is in not knowing who is the Head of State of his country, or if he lives under a monarchy or a republic. / All his attitude must be setting his soul so that the passing of things, of events doesn't bother him. If he doesn't do it he will have to take an interest in others in order to take care of himself.


.. And I, who timidly hate life, fear death with fascination. I fear this nothingness that could be something else, and I fear it as nothing and as something else simultaneously, as if gross horror and non-existence could coincide there, as if my coffin could entrap the eternal breathing of a bodily soul, as if immortality could be tormented by confinement. The idea of hell, which only a satanic soul could have invented seems to me to have derived from this sort of confusion - a mixture of two different fears that contradict and contaminate each other. 


I have now so many fundamental thoughts, so many really metaphysical things to say, that I suddenly get tired and decide not to write more, not to think more, but allow the fever of saying to make me sleepy, and fondle, with closed eyes, as if to a cat, all that I could have said.


To be understood is to prostitute yourself. 

17 August, 2012

16 May, 2012

20 March, 2012

Kieslowski's Blind Chance

"Early in life it is a joy. because the light seems so near, so reachable. Finally, it brings bitterness. We can see how it has receded. I have been through much these forty years. I see that the light has receded. But I should not discourage you. You can be sure of one thing. Without that bitterness, that hope... life would be lamentable"


01 March, 2012

Prospero's Books


- A Book of Water

This is a waterproof-covered book which has lost its colour by much contact with water. It is full of investigative drawings and exploratory text written on many different thicknesses of paper. There are drawings of every conceivable watery association - seas, tempests, rain, snow, clouds, lakes, waterfalls, streams, canals, water-mills, shipwrecks, floods and tears. As the pages are turned, the watery elements are often animated. There are rippling waves and slanting storms. Rivers and cataracts flow and bubble. Plans of hydraulic machinery and maps of weather-forecasting flicker with arrows, symbols and agitated diagrams. The drawings are all made by one hand. Perhaps this is a lost collection of drawings by da Vinci bound into a book by the King of France at Ambois and bought by the Milanese Dukes to give to Prospero as a wedding present.

- A Book of Mirrors

Bound in a gold cloth and very heavy, this book has some eighty shining mirrored pages; some opaque, some translucent, some manufactured with silvered papers, some coated in paint, some covered in a film of mercury that will roll off the page unless treated cautiously. Some mirrors simply reflect the reader, some reflect the reader as he was three minutes previously, some reflect the reader as he will be in a year's time, as he would be if he were a child, a woman, a monster, an idea, a text or an angel. One mirror constantly lies, one mirror sees the world backwards, another upside down. One mirror holds on to its reflections as frozen moments infinitely recalled. One mirror simply reflects another mirror across a page. There are ten mirrors whose purpose Prospero has yet to define.

- The Book of Languages

This is a large, thick book with a blue-green cover that rainbow-hazes in the light. More a box than a book, it opens in unorthodox fashion, with a door in its front cover. Inside is a collection of eight smaller books arranged like bottles in a medicine case. Behind these eight books are another eight books, and so on. To open the smaller books is to let loose many languages. Words and sentences, paragraphs and chapters gather like tadpoles in a pond in April or starlings in a November evening sky.

- A Book of Motion

This is a book that at the most simple level describes how birds fly and waves roll, how clouds form and apples fall from trees. It describes how the eye changes its shape when looking at great distances, how hairs grow in a beard, why the heart flutters and the lungs inflate involuntarily and how laughter changes the face. At its most complex level, it explains how ideas chase one another in the memory and where thought goes when it is finished with. It is covered in tough blue leather and, because it is always bursting open of its own volition, it is bound around with two leather straps buckled tightly at the spine. At night, it drums against the bookcase shelf and has to be held down with a brass weight. One of its sections is called 'The Dance of Nature' and here, codified and explained in animated drawings, are all the possibilities for dance in the human body.

- A Book of Love

This is a small, slim, scented volume bound in red and gold, with knotted crimson ribbons for page-markers. There is certainly an image in the book of a naked man and a naked woman, and also an image of a pair of clasped hands. These things were once spotted, briefly, in a mirror, and that mirror was in another book. Everything else is conjecture.


Prospero's Magic