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Showing posts from July, 2008

On Writing, Why?

On Writing, Why - 2008-07-27 09:15
If I build it, they will come

I have lived my life waiting to be ready when the teacher arrived. It might just be a case of inflated expectations, or an unhealthy self-absorption, but I'm still waiting.

I must add, blind as I seem to be, my hearing is perfect.

It may be that there was not just one teacher and I've been learning little bits all the time -- aggregation through osmosis. It might be that I've never been truly ready. Mostly I just notice that after a person talks to me, they look in my eyes, look away, then shake their heads, slightly.

On Writing, Interpreting English

On Writing, Interpreting English - 2008-07-26 10:14
Interpreting English
When I read W.S. Merwin, or other very good poets, taking books and poetry from other languages and translating them into English I get confused.

I think, how could my words get put into another language and not have a different tone, cadence, rhythm – or even subtlety? The stuff that goes into what I write is all notes and scraps that I’ve collected over years; all in context with the culture and time that I’ve been living. I don’t write about the Great Depression, why would I think I could put myself into an eastern European after he lived years under communism and have success at really getting the point of the words he put, with great labor, onto paper or parchment, or whatever?

The idea that a poem can be explained by a teacher or critic is false. Other than footnoting the place and colloquialisms of the time. I think any interpretation is done after the fact.—like explaining a joke to someone not familiar with…

What are Words For?

What are Words For? - 2008-07-25 10:04


“What are words for, when no one listens anymore?”
Missing Persons

Well, weapons for one thing.

You can set up people with them, beat them over the head when they are not looking, ambush, defend, overrun – even toy with them like a cat with a half dead mouse. Used correctly, words can make a person cry like a baby.

You can also use them to construct a reality. “If A is A, and B is B then obviously, C is the correct result.” You just have to frame the argument in the right way. The power comes in the frame.
“Obama is a smoker, smoking is a mental disorder – do we really want a crazy person with their hand on the trigger?” Stuff like that – repeated over and over by the authority of the media through TV anchormen and other god like toads of the ether. I think the new term for this is ‘Swift boating.
You can yell just the right word in a crowd and get a panic.

You can throw them casually up in the air to see where they land, maybe to draw attention…

On Writing, Everything

Writing and the theory of everything

I was reading an article about the ‘Theory of everything,’ a math deal-ley and out of my league, because all my math skills consist of ‘close enough.’ What struck me was the concept of elegance-- for a thing to be truth, it must also be elegant. The world, to them, must not only make sense, it must also be pretty, simple and, in the end, obvious.

I think that I see words the way mathematicians see numbers. I think that there is one word or small group of words, that, when placed in the context of a time, can say everything. that needs to be said. That the correct placement of individual words on paper can bring about individual enlightenment on a Buddistic scale.

Words stand for things as sound, tone and meaning. They exist in a culture and can be given cult like status or depths of meaning far beyond the letters they symbolize. Say Hitler or even Adolf, and the words that follow will take on different meanings no matter their intention. Words get …