Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On solitude and creating

In the beginning was the unwritten word, and the word was with the brooding writer, and the word depresses the writer. The word seemed to have been stuck with the writer since he can't get it published.

A bad writer's parody of the Book of John.

But there's something about the artist's life, ain't there?, that's inseparable from solitude. To create is to bear the weight of solitude upon yourself while the world communes within a glowing orb you can't penetrate.

Sounds depressing.

But a necessary condition for lasting work to flourish.

Great art emerges in times of severity, not prosperity.

No wonder the greats died young. They burned up in a few short years what others would economically consume over a longer lifetime.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rilke's little gods

There are ideas that you learn and propagate with ease. And then there are ideas that began in the realm of fancy and continued to nag at you over the years and came alive one day when you suddenly discover them in the words of one of those who have come before you.

We aredon't forget it—entirely in the province of guiltlessness.—The terrifying thing is that we possess no religion in which these experiences, being so literal and palpable as they are (for: at the same time so inexpressible and so intangible), may be lifted up into the god, into the protection of a phallic deity who will perhaps have to be the first with which a troop of gods will again invade humanity, after so long an absence.

To say that I'm sharing an intellectual kinship with Rilke is impertinence. But it is immensely thrilling to know that he had actually entertained thoughts that I pondered in seclusion, even if it does nothing more than framing the idea under suspicion in a more serious light. Somewhere hidden in this tangible passage is something that bothers me intangibly: Before I encountered these words, I have been dreaming about images along similar strands—or perhaps I should say Rilke dared me to further advance my thoughts with regard to the identity of these gods. The only problem left is to articulate them. But just how do you assign words to what's holy without fear of defiling it?

You can't.

But the image has been with me for so long, it has to come out. So I've written From Horseback (perhaps also That We Are Like Fire), a desperate attempt to capture the divine fiber.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

"From Horseback"

This end will not be the end alone—
‘Tis the splicing of the meek and bold
So blades would foil the eleventh hour scaffold
Under the high noon of a fiendish loan


...Her face burns with chastening tears
As reproach disrobes the Queen of Lust...
Just then a hand reaches down amidst spirited dust,
Lifts her up from horseback, slaying all fears.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

"Little Boat"

Little boat, little boat,
In a sea of woe you float.
Time stands still as you wonder:
Home yonder, home yonder?


Surrender all, abandon all,
Journey to your port of call;
Led by a secret from eternity past—
Home at last, home at last!

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