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Saturday, December 7, 2013

For languor-filled poets

Theories exist (or were made) in order to be a reminder that even the ones that are believed need to be contested. They are nothing but remarkable observations, previously thought as only mundane things, but due to the measures taken, even the ones against the impalpable yet abnormally swelled up human pride, it has moved up from a normal discovery to what people consider as a temporary truth—I’m not even sure myself if such phrase is valid at least in the English language—although it spends the whole time in the tug between confirmation and dethronement.

It opens my eyes so much to possibilities of things becoming more of what they are predisposed to become to know that taste, in theory—in my theory—grows with experience. Only when you have seen enough, although enough is just a personally-made illusion relative to the time of being spoken, can there be as enough conviction in your taste. At the end of the day, however, taste will always be a preference, whose arguments are nothing but ricochets of incessant stupidity.

I have probably read all substance in life what I could realistically have in my lifetime. Of course, it’s not all there is to it, but you can’t read every book in the world, roughly 90% of them tackling the same subject. You can pick one, not necessarily the best but the one that could represent on behalf of the subject just well and get on with the other 10%. You can do it, but it’s not a cinch. Definitely not. That 10% is nearly what real life is all about.

I’m talking about the three books I read this week (and maybe the other four in October): Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Kenzaburo Oe’s Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, and JD Salinger’s Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.

These three books attempted to define life in the very few pages you could riffle through. Expectedly, they failed. Who can possibly write about life without having to die first? You wouldn’t know life until you experience how it feels like to die or at least to be in the interphase of life and death. And it’s improbable, impossible even, to define it. It’s very ungraspable that one could not easily muster the immensity of it and vomit—artfully vomit—the words into paper. It’s one big irony though: the perfect earthly definition is failing at the very definition.

Don’t worry, reader. I will only allot a single paragraph of contemplation. I’m inherently contemplative, but I wouldn’t overestimate you, not so much to not underestimate because I learned from Salinger that you have no full control over who reads what you wrote. And readers can be dumb. Well, he said that. Believe me, he did!

Salinger has, yet again, impressed me with his versatility. He can completely take the form of something this minute and take another one the next. I wouldn’t disagree that writing as sincerely as you can, all your heart out—how I resent having to use that overused phrase—is, well, good. One may even consider it a gift, yes, (sincerity is a gift?) being able to tell a story as it happened, even at least in your mind, and not pretending to be someone which could undeniably help your written work grow. Can I profess then that having the ability to do otherwise is a skill? As much as I would want to consider Salinger’s versatility as a gift, I wanted to give everyone hope, myself included, that something as grand as this could possibly be nurtured. I do not want to be someone who says what one is fated to become, more so to myself. I don’t want to kill that hope, even how little it is as it exponentially grows in the process anyway, for I do not know this hope might be the only thing this person has.

I want to share what he quoted in his novella, Seymour: An Introduction, the very overwhelming words of Kafka’s:

“The actors by their presence always convince me, to my horror, that most of what I’ve written about them until now is false. It is false because I write about them with steadfast love (even now, while I write it down, this, too becomes false) but varying ability, and this varying ability does not hit off the real actors loudly and correctly but loses itself dully in this love that will never be satisfied with the ability and therefore thinks it is protecting the actors by preventing this ability from exercising itself.”

I do not know and I can’t surmise what he’s trying to insinuate in quoting this passage, but he wrote, and I believe he doesn’t really imply something worth being dug, he just likes to quote things from his favorite writers and that we have to if we like to.

Buddy Glass, his narrator (or should I say the rambler in this aimless novella) tells us the life of his brother Seymour, not exactly the life of Seymour’s but his life as Buddy had perceived it, in his eyes, in his writings. They’re both writers, Seymour, particularly a poet, and Buddy, just about anything other than a poet. If Buddy had been a poet, this novella could’ve been an ode.

Salinger also wrote something about poets and this, basing not only on how I had reacted to it right after I digested it, but also on how it impacted me until now (I’m talking as though I finished it that long ago), is one of the best sentences (if not the best), a Woolfish sentence, I must say, I have read:

“But what, at least in modern times, I think one most recurrently hears about the curiously-productive-though-ailing poet or painter is that he is invariably a kind of super-size but unmistakably ‘classical’ neurotic, an aberrant who occasionally, and never deeply, wishes to surrender his aberration; or, in English, a Sick Man who not at all seldom, though he’s reported to childishly deny it, gives out terrible cries of pain, as if he would wholeheartedly let go both his art and his soul to experience what passes in other people for wellness, and yet (the rumor continues) when his unsalutary-looking little room is broken into and someone—not infrequently, at that, someone who actually loves him—passionately asks him where the pain is, he either declines or seems unable to discuss it at any constructive clinical length, and in the morning, when even great poets and painters presumably feel a bit more chipper than usual, he looks more perversely determined than ever to see his sickness run its course, as though by the light of another, presumably working day he had remembered that all men, the healthy ones included, eventually die, and usually with a certain amount of bad grace, but that he, lucky man, is at least being done in by the most stimulating companion, disease or no, he has ever known.”

Did I say one of the lengthiest sentences, too?

I even wrote a poem, alienating myself as though I am the poet he’s referring to in this sentence, because I was deeply stimulated. I can see through things clearly all of a sudden. I hope that this has truly given me another eye more to see through life more.

These books, especially Seymour, have the simplest stories, those that not everyone would enjoy hearing (and reading, so to speak) yet have the most substance. Again, it gives us, me included, hope.

I think, after reading all these, I have gathered insipid books all along. Maybe I should clear my shelves, get these three their own well-deserved spots, and add to them and my growing taste books I could live with forever.

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