Archive for April, 2011

Genius

April 21, 2011

C, a poet turned prose-ist, talked to me about time slowing down. For children, time is ever-expanding, always free, always accessible and at the same time irrelevant. Adults, however, note that time moves quickly because we’re constantly categorizing and therefore not taking the time to experience wonder and enthusiasm for the things that surround us—this we all know, this we all lament. Then I told him about my summer and fall last year, when music had helped to slow down time for me. Rather, it was an intense (and new) attention to sound in general. C grew even more animated hearing that, and posed a theory he’d been long nurturing: time exists as an actual fabric, and the geniuses of sound—Beethoven, Mozart, Coltrane—have the inherent ability to rip through it. I added: Those who are not geniuses and yet are sensitive to genius can respond to this fabric-rip easily, because biologically our own genius—which is too latent for us to access by ourselves—becomes triggered, unlocked, unraveled, though briefly, lightningly.

C and I went through the gamut of conversation about fabric-rips and multidimensional worlds. We believe. His theories are based on science and biology, while mine are based on dreams, fantasy, and a not-quite-developed intuition.

He has seen the eye of a whale up close; I have nearly fainted upon seeing a whale skeleton.

It can’t be said any differently.

April 11, 2011

The next few weeks will be frenzied: home renovations and the finishing of freelance projects and two stories, and meanwhile I will be staying with my parents in Flushing. During breaks I’ll be reading To the Wedding, though I have yet to buy it*; instead I’ll read the teaser pages online. I don’t mind. There’s no time to want anything more than that, not when my new six or seven large notebooks, two Moleskine and the rest Muji, accompany me everywhere, getting filled in day after day.

To the Wedding. So far: so yes. The first paragraph made me think of David Albahari’s Bait, though the only thing the two novels have in common, at least from the first few lines, is that a respect for storytelling is involved.

*

To the Wedding, John Berger

Wonderful a fistful of snow in the mouths
of men suffering summer heat
Wonderful the spring winds
for mariners who long to set sail
And more wonderful still the single sheet
over two lovers on a bed.

I like quoting ancient verses when the occasion is apt. I remember most of what I hear, and I listen all day but sometimes I do not know how to fit everything together. When this happens I cling to words or phrases which seem to ring true.

*

Bait, David Albahari

“Where should I begin,” says Mother. At the same moment I reach out my hand and press the button on the tape recorder. The tape recorder is old. For days I looked in all the stores and inquired where I might purchase such a device; the brand wasn’t important. The salesmen were kind; they smiled, they shrugged their shoulders, they showed me the latest models of cassette recorders. One of them, in a shopping center in the northern part of town, admitted to me that he had never seen a  tape recorder. He believed, though, that his father, actually his stepfather, had owned such a “gadget.” He didn’t have a better word for it, he said, because in comparison with today’s devices, he said and touched the row of new Japanese models, it can’t be said any differently.

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