Sunday, December 09, 2007

No great loss

Daft not to notice it before: this blog's uncertain direction, or its slightly irregular tone. A little Blanchot, then much Bernhard. Can two other writers be any more different? Three years ago the daydream was to create a space for this kind of post from that time or this one from last week. Both promote an alternative to the prevailing way of thinking about literature. Sometimes I wish it was made up of these kinds of posts only. I've long admired Spurious' tenacious focus on the solitary encounter; its patience in face of the one true end. Last month's post on discomfort with critical distance in Alexander Irwin's Saints of the Impossible and last Thursday's on the devotional songs of Rickie Lee Jones are just so good; inspirational and tranquilising. The blog is itself a literary example of the voice "close to speech" that it wants to hear (albeit a speech in the densest silence of the night):
a speech-song, close to popular idioms, vernacular, and the devotion revealed in a happy deformation of song, the stretching of some part of its elements - its becoming jazz-like, improvisational. And a sense of that voice trying to find something, discovering, and not only the heart of the narrative (in Rickie Lee Jones' case, the Passion). A voice that also discovers something of itself - that looks for itself in the singing. That sings to dwell in itself, looking for itself, losing itself.
But one can't change who one is. When I regret not being Spurious I always recall EM Cioran's brief memoir of Beckett in Anathemas and Admirations:
He disparages no one, unaware of the hygienic function of malevolence, its salutary virtues, its executory quality. I have never heard him speak ill of friends or enemies, a form of superiority for which I pity him and from which, unconsciously, he must suffer. If denigration were denied me, what difficulties and discomforts, what complications would result!
How Spurious must suffer! And then there's my Bernhard:
You have to publish, so that you’re done with what you have to say. Or you destroy everything, burn it in the oven. Just like my mother out of rage burnt the one photo of my father, I burnt whole novels. No great loss.


Please email me at steve dot mitchelmore at gmail dot com.

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