thursday 31 :
we are nuthatches looking
into large holes in trees.
we are long-tailed tits
leaving the tit flocks.
we are ravens working on
our nests on cliff ledges.
wednesday 30 : a leap of faith
i think what life, the world, the ten to the power of five hundred universes and the eleven dimensions, asks of us at various crucial points in our lives is a leap of faith — and almost everyone says no and they go back to whatever stuff occupies their time and space and being — or they don’t even hear what is being asked of them because they are too distracted by their ‘selves’ and/or each other and/or white noise and/or stuff.
saturday 26 : a letter
friday 25 :
ten years ago tomorrow did become today.
thursday 24 : from an old notebook
my wisdom, your intelligence,
your speed, my vigilance,
and both of our fragilities.
— note to a lover, early 2000s.
wednesday 23 : the unknown known
according to my mother i am lazy (“it is unbelievable how lazy you are!”) but according to me i am not an obsessive compulsive do-er of things. as harry mulisch said in a rather good documentary about him by cherry duyns, de bevlieging : “…doing nothing is also an art…” (een kunst, zou ik toevoegen, die de mensheid grotendeels aan het verleren is.)
actually i do a number of things but my mother doesn’t know about them because i don’t tell her and she rarely asks. and when she does, she regrets it i think. the other day she asked, and what did you do today? and i said, i talked to a man who wants to die for three hours. and she said, oh. and that was it.
anyway my mother claims she already knows everything, and what she doesn’t know she quickly googles. but as we know, there are the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns — and how can you google them?
and then there are also the unknown knowns. žižek says the unknown known is that which we intentionally refuse to acknowledge that we know. but isn’t the unknown known also the entire content of the unconscious? and to what extent can the content of the deepest darkest umbra of our unconscious be said to be intentionally unknown?
one day my mother said ominously, old people can google too you know! and i thought my number was up. but she doesn’t seem to google me either. maybe she thinks it too unlikely that google would turn up anything about such a lazy person — or maybe she would rather that what i do remain, intentionally, an unknown known. and for some people it is probably best if their unknown knowns remain exactly the way they are, where they are.
tuesday 22 : the mourning disorder
Jacques Derrida considered various forms of mourning disorder — the difficulty we have in letting go of a beloved object or libidinal position. The inability to mourn or let go is sometimes called melancholy. Many of us have slipped into states of melancholic depression for one reason or another, for one unreason or another—one cannot always nail the object that has been lost or causes pain. For Derrida, melancholy implies an ethical stance, a relation to loss in the mode of vigilance and constant re-attunement. You do not have to know or understand the meaning of a loss and the full range of its disruptive consequences, but you somehow stand by it, leaning into a depleting emptiness. It takes courage to resist the temptation to bail or distract oneself. Entire industries stand ready to distract the inconsolable mourner.
monday 21 : a magnificent, perilous, vital situation
zondag 20 : verschijnselen
Volgens de Belgische filosoof en Spinoza-kenner Herman De Dijn (zijn boek Rituelen. Waarom we niet zonder kunnen verscheen verleden jaar) begrijpen (mensen) de wereld via objectieve wetenschappelijke metingen en waarnemingen, maar de wereld ‘spreekt hen aan’ door middel van mysteries en symbolen, mythen en riten. Die horen bij onze cultureel gedeelde ‘leefwereld’.
De wetenschap kan volgens De Dijn niet “verhinderen dat mensen, ondanks verregaand wetenschappelijk inzicht in de verschijnselen, die verschijnselen blijven zien als wonderlijke, fascinerende fenomenen die het gemoed beroeren en verrukking brengen in het leven, en het aldus de moeite waard maken”.
ja maar, zeg ik dan, wacht eens even. het ene verschijnsel is het andere niet. het gaat juist om de verschijnselen die een soort van licht werpen of het eeuwige, het oneindige, het onmogelijke, of die daar op de een of andere manier sporen (traces) van zijn, chiffren noemde karl jaspers ze. al die andere verschijnselen kunnen me gestolen worden.
maar, vroeg jij, waar en hoe vind ik dan die chiffren?
ze zijn overal als je je ogen en oren en je hart maar goed open kunt zien te houden en niet te de hele tijd op facebook (of tinder) zit te klote.
i wrote about the death of the poet f.starik last year. today i found myself tweaking the text and sending it to the monthly in australia : the untimely death of a dutch poet.
and, before you ask : i don’t know why.
friday 18 :
the new record by sharon van etten, remind me tomorrow, has some heartbreakingly, devastating songs on it. one of them is the opening track, i told you everything.
and yet half the time it sounds like a cyndi lauper record. i guess if you’re a genius you can just do that. oh and also in the seven years since her last record she did a degree in psychology.
ok so i was just kidding about it sounding like cyndi lauper.
or was i? how about ‘seventeen’ in which she addresses her younger self, the reviewer writes,
yet to hurtle into the abusive relationship that ran through her early songs like a livid scar, with a tenderness and insistence that are heartbreaking.
that made me go to the dictionary to find livid is also a colour, a dark bluish grey, and that this meaning is much older than ‘furiously angry’ which dates from early last century.
i am not there
one of the reasons i wasn’t in marble bar
on january 24 1916 or december 28 1902
was that i wasn’t born — but the reason
i wasn’t at moomba airport on the night
of february 17 2004 was that i was in wagga
— where it would have been hot at night
but not 35 — and i’m glad i was not there.
and the reason i was not in marree
on january 30 1973 is that i was in england
and the reason i was not in cunnamulla
on november 6 1965 : is that i was 7
and living in utrecht zuilen and i was sad
because my father fucked off
and he had a new wife and a new child
and little time or energy for me.
i am glad that for various reasons
i was not in wittenoom
on the night of january 21 2003
or february 21 2015, nor in
arkaroola or andamooka or belair
(kalyra) on the night of january 24 1982.
but most of all i’m glad
that for reasons best known to myself
i am not in noona now.
january 18 2019
tuesday 15 :
this is w a y too long to post here.
sunday 13 : decentering
i am interested in decentering three ‘things’ : the self — that’s tricky for one reason; the human — which is tricky for another; and time — that’s the trickiest of all, probably.
decentering the self is tricky because you encounter the ego — and it is always there! also, it hides in the shadows, there’s your dark side. moreover everything that is not the self (the other, ‘the world’) is continuously saying : be yourself! and asking, who are you? what do you want? (and then saying, well you can’t have it!)
decentering the human is tricky because you encounter a morphogenetic field which is being continuously created and updated by 7 billion other humans and the historical weight of the morphogenetic field that was created by the 109 billion humans that came before them.
decentering time is tricky because you encounter 7 billion humans all continuously looking at clocks and calendars and saying, time is money and all the time pieces and calendars in the world as well as all of history and culture and the self, which is continuously asking : how much time do ‘i’ have left before ‘i’ die?
all of this requires magical thinking, which itself requires decentering what the dutch poetically call ‘ratio’ — reason, in english. it requires an extraordinary combination of thinking/feeling and believing that decentering the self and the human and time are not impossible — or rather, it requires a connection with the impossible, a relationship with it. this is done not only with the mind but with an/other part of your not/self or perhaps with all-that-you-are.
oh shut up.
speaking of time, for the personal relics exhibition at the catherijneconvent museum in utrecht i sent in de sleutel van de klok van mijn oma. they put it on the website but they didn’t want to exhibit it. jammer.
saturday 12 :
i am a loon on a lake
wailing uncannily in a sinister
foggy movie scene.
wednesday 9 :
we are waxwings wandering
into supermarket carparks
looking for cotoneasters.
well don’t just stand there…!
monday 7 : subtiel
It seems the useful and beautiful word ‘subtle’ is translatable into Dutch as ‘subtiel’ but it’s rarely used since it’s not often needed here. What the Dutch are known for is being blunt. Subtlety is not their forte. But they themselves would not think of it as blunt (= bot) but ‘nuchter’ (sober, exactly as in ‘not drunk’) — in the sense of down to earth. This is why they invented a down to earth version of religion (Calvinism) and why they have wholeheartedly swapped going to church with going to the LIDL and the shopping mall.
Mark Moorman in De Volkskrant vandaag :
Nederlands drama heeft er nog wel eens onder te lijden dat zaken te nadrukkelijk worden benoemd. Dat elke emotie een naamkaartje krijgt en dat elke vraag zo snel mogelijk wordt beantwoord.
Tja. En niet alleen op TV en in de bioscoop.
sunday 6 : januahairy
you go away for a few days to a place without internet (or hot water) and what happens? you come back to a plethora of news.
there will come a time when no one will do, or indeed not do, anything or go anywhere unless their activity is sponsored and raises money for a noble cause like ‘cancer awareness’ and/or is part of a ‘special’ month like januhairy during which women are…
click here* to find out what women are being encouraged (not) to do during januahairy. and no, it is not to finally once and for all dismantle the patriarchy because no sponsor could be found for that.
(*every click will help a starving child in africa collect points which can be exchanged for a voucher for a free LARGE fries with any burger purchase thanks to the mcdonalds corporation.)
In other ‘news’ Billy Connolly has apologised for “depressing” fans by speaking about his mortality in a BBC documentary.
“I’m near the end but it doesn’t frighten me. It’s an adventure, and it’s quite interesting to see myself slipping away. Bits slip off and leave me. Talents leave and attributes leave,” Billy had mused in the documentary. “I don’t have the balance I used to have; I don’t have the energy I used to have; I can’t hear the way I used to hear; I can’t see as good as I used to. I can’t remember the way I used to remember. It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be on the shadowy side of the hill, doing the next episode in the spirit world.”
That sounds quite palatable to me but then I am an ageing comedian myself. However it seems Billy Connolly fans were devastated to learn that, like most human beings, Billy too will one day shuffle off this mortal coil and join the bleeding choir invisible.
Billy tweeted that he’s ‘not dying, not dead, not slipping away’ and apologised for ‘depressing’ fans. “Sorry if I depressed you. Maybe I should have phrased it better.” The tweet was greeted enthusiastically by fans, who expressed relief and praised the comedian for lifting their spirits. “Thank you for putting our minds at rest”, one commentor replied, “reading about Billy this week was stressful.”
Like Billy Connolly, I too am immortal 1 so all my fans can relax as well.
it seems weird that this is only ten years ago.
tuesday 1 :
ok 2019 : let it come. i am ready.
oh wait. i may not be.
this one was rather good!
and it still is : Metaphysics, Ontology, Immanence
My stepfather often confidently proclaims (usually not long after eating a large meal of meat and potatoes) : “We’ll live forever!” I don’t know for sure if the ‘we’ includes me but why wouldn’t it?↩