Saturday, February 09, 2008

Clouds have descended

Clouds have descended, fugitive soul has got more tired than usual, hence the lapse in writing or reading. The mind seethes with tiredness, the written word leaps up with fangs, ready to maul a fragile mind. What use words or music when everything is so mute? I know that today, spring like day, has brought out many winter weary souls out into the sun, but night will follow soon followed by frost, by darkness again. And I, reckless and ceaseless will have forgotten how I feel now, and shall give in and abide by the rules, rules of this world, intimate rules between people and I shall wear a morning smile and an afternoon one and return to my misery when day has ended, when night has spread a huge sheet for me to writhe in and cover what is basically sensitivity, nothing else.

There is no desire to read anything nor even to write, so many others have written, and well too and besides what is my writing anyway, dust falling from sandals, snow that will melt, a heart frozen, a discarded love letter, a burnt out cigarette end, the last look in your eyes and that train that just left with you, forever? Why should I write and why should I read when it is of no use, even to myself, when my words sound so foreign, so alien to me, when this is only an affectation, an artifice, a loner's map, an ambitious writer's nostalgia, a reader's lust, lust for books, for words. Let dust accumulate on my books, let my shelves grow heavy with pain, the pain of pages unread, of pages read, of paper fish dreams and wet thumbs, of moonlit poems, strange foreign poets in strange tongues, translated into my lap, thrown.

Why shouldn't I converse with strangers in unpoetic tones, and find my own tongue, my own reasons to stop or speak, and leave art and criticism to academies, to those who write well and have formed a clique, a league, an establishment of bloggery? My books will look better untouched, unread, as they grow old and as I lose the will to read. I want to be patient and wait for spring and then summer and I want a tan on my face for the first time and I want to run along some coast and shout too for the first time, and say here I am, alone but like yourself, having rid myself of books, from you, of you and running to stand still. I declare that I hate some words, like ontology, like semantics, like philosophy and poetry too and the only words that will gladden me are sunshine in some meadow, beside a rook.

Can this mood last, can I win, can I stay firm, can I think straight? The obvious answer is no. But I will try and refuse to read, refuse to touch my books, for there is a heaviness inside me, a surfeit of words, a nauseous feeling, like Montano had, and I want to run away into nothingness and discover that I cannot speak and then how easy life would become? For all these writers, they wrote with certain certainties, while I know that there is nothing certain, so how can words mean anything certain and one touch, one candle drip, one match stick, one false step leads into oblivion and dust. So why think of plausible things and high art and thus why not leave criticism and literature to establishment critics and high academies?

26 comments:

billoo said...

Kubla, hello.
Yes, sometimes it is good to close the books. Bulleh was right after all!

Is everything so mute? I mean, really?

"let my shelves grow heavy with pain"? Come on kubla-and I hope we can speak as friends here-isn't that just a touch melodramatic?

anyway, I know how you feel. I wrote a similar post two years ago and someone close to me read it and said what a load of tosh!

Can't agree with you though, words, music,and people and lots of other things sometimes come our way. You still have your Fassbinder or Herzog, for example. No?

"Is this still not the tent of scattered stars that love has made?" (Goethe).

Keep well,

b.

Kubla Khan said...

Hello
i had acknowledged my own naivete whilst writing this but yes, you are right, looked one way, it is a lot of rubbish, what i wrote.
but it expressed a mood, a feeling and this post was a response to that mood, that exigency, that muteness.
anyway, pleased to hear from you.

antonia said...

yes can relate too, but don't despair, mate.

"why not leave criticism and literature to establishment critics and high academies?"

- easy. can't let the Harry Potter freaks win, can we?

Kubla Khan said...

Hi Antonia.....we are such stuff as dreams are made of.....thanks though.

Ibitsu said...

Hi Kubla. This is really a great post, beautiful tone and mood as always!

My comment though is a question posed to you but drawn from Billoo’s comment. I’m assuming (apologies if I am wrong) that from the comment Billoo knows you personally, hence the ‘melodramatic’ comment. Now this is by no means an attack on Billoo, as you seem to know where he is coming from, an understanding which I again assume is from your relationship. But this is my point; a concern for these relationships which are carried into blogging. I have this too when writing and I often think about the nature of blogging ‘anonymously’ and what purpose I feel it is meant to serve. And yet we blog anonymously and for what, to only be renamed superficially but never severing our words from our ‘identity’. Yes, it is beautiful to share ideas with people you know over blogs. But how do you feel when you write knowing that your most frequent readers know the face behind the words, such that they may read your posts and have the authority to deem it melodramatic? Should your words ever be able to be brought under such personal scrutiny, or should they be cast away from you and abandoned as soon as they are submitted to the blog? To preserve a certain unanswerable post and author do we not need absolute anonymity? To blog in the night and silently, speaking of it to no one in the hope that it never finds its way back to you? To put it another way: should your writing, particularly of this style, ever be answerable to ‘who you are’ in the manner Billoo’s comment perhaps suggests? I also wonder how comfortable are you in writing such personal posts when several of your readers will know the writer?

Like I said, not an attack on Billoo as I found the comment very interesting but it made me wonder whether or not you feel such knowledge of ones character and situation from such personal relationships should be considered when reading such posts?

Kubla Khan said...

Thanks Ibitsu.
no, i do not know Billoo personally and the points you have raised are vital.

it is important to examine a written piece, in whatever format, after reading it. i have always been critical of what i write the morning after, for i never write in the morning and yes, what billoo termed as melodramatic might be his reflection from what i wrote but in my reply to him, i clearly said that i was loyal to a certain exigency which prompted what i wrote.

i believe that reading is an art too, like some writing and one must discern, from the jumble of our thoughts, the train of words that have seen some moonlight. now this might seem rubbish, but what i meant was.....the words must reflect what was the essence of a moment or moments of our lives.words, as Eliot once wrote, should revivify our existence, sometimes.

regarding, knowing each other, well, the few who read me do not know me, apart from those who read it and do not acknowledge it. perhaps the tone of our posts might suggest some kind of recognition of who we might be from who we actually are, thus giving us an identity that is fictitious and positioning us into responses that are un-natural. however, that said, most of these comments are contributory to a participation, for these blogs in essence are collaborations.

i am aware of so called British literary blogs which acknowledge each other rampantly, down to the exclusion of everyone else and talk about the same things essentially. praising each others writing and yet, to me, an averagely read person, they are naive responses, smacking of an establishment bourgeious sentiment, obsessed with the same writers, same stances etc

i am comfortable with what Billoo suggested, my melodrama,he thought, though it wasn't exactly that. and yet, what you have said is important too and opens new vistas and ideas for me.

Kubla Khan said...

Hi Ibitsu again.
re whether these personal posts can be discarded or whether they can be read as critical of us by others, the answer lies with us.

After writing a sentimental poem, i w'd gladly get rid of it but not pretend it was not mine. we must have the ability to tolerate ambiguity of what we write, for mediocrity predominates in most what i write and the aware reader, poor soul, tolerates it out of a sense of solidarity with lesser mortals.
yet, as night discards we discard our words and perhaps, sometimes, we must let these words and posts adrift, in this flotsam of artificial encounters.

billoo said...

Kubla, could I just make a few clarifications and offer an apology if it came across as if I was criticizing you or your writing.

Firstly, as I said in my first post to you, I think you've got bags of talent and I hoped that you put your thoughts into a book.

Secondly, I am NOT saying that this post is rubbish-that was a comment on my own writing!

Thridly, I am NOT saying this is melodramtic but a TOUCH melodramtic.

Agree, hard to catch tone in these correspondences but I do hope that you consider the comemnts in the spirit they were meant-as coming from one friend to another.

Best wishes,

b.

Kubla Khan said...

Billoo....you are welcome to anything you comment, i was only replying to Ibitsu. i also hope you reconsider breaking your sabbatical.

Marta said...

Like Kubla, I am sliding more and more into life. I have lost my idealised reader recently and am now confronted by this ‘reading and writing’ without ‘the other’. I am admitting to myself that all this became when there was someone I was writing to. Someone I loved deeply. Now he is gone, and I have to definitely accept to write for the clouds, if I want to continue. And trying to maintain that truthfulness that came to me so easily when I could imagine my love among those clouds.

A complicate affair. A becoming, perhaps. There is something in the absence of the body that makes us taking out a part of ourselves that we really like, that we would even present to a lover. It is something unnatural though, because of the limited constrains of the environment, purity is much easy to be obtained and maintained. Can we keep this intensity for clouds? For ourselves?

I suspect that this technology is an instrument to teach us to love ourselves. I hope

antonia said...

i wanted to say how much i liked, kubla that you said: i stand by my exigency. My analogy was somewhat that writing such posts is as if one while being drunk confessed all sorts of things, like being in love with your best friend's girlfriend or things like that. and next day you think: dear god why didn't i shut up. but that's the thing really, these melodramatic things want out too at times and one just can't think straight all the time and have a polished mind and soul and so on, i think it is about embracing one's own imperfection/exigency or so, even in public, which can be very hard. but it is also a good test for those who sort of reject this imperfection are mostly also not the good friends one deserves. after all, drama makes us human and life is short, but the world is big and there is lots of space for all sorts of feelings and thoughts - so...al is good, (more or less) (amen)
well i just wanted to say don't worry. but probably you don't worry which is even better.

Ibitsu said...

Fascinating response Kubla, thanks for that.

Kubla Khan said...

Antonia....thanks. things one says and does can make one look sheepish. the things said in the loops of passion.....?
yes, it can embarrass one but God, that post relieved a suffocation. And yet, we must have a right to blow it to bits. your examples have lightened me, they are so true, this control kills.

Alok said...

Oh, I missed all the nice discussion here. We need more personal (melodramatic if someone insists) posts here and more literary criticism and essays.

what we probably need is a new word, a new category instead of sentimentality and melodrama which has a more positive connotation but meanwhile it should do.

I don't know I feel stupid even to write these words of encouragement. You shouldn't be needing any :)

Kubla Khan said...

I like what you wrote Alok. yes, more essays, criticism etc
i have been sluggish, but your posts at honey are so well written.

billoo said...

Kubla, thanks. Agree with you: control can and does kill. But at the risk of sounding terribly old fashioned, I have to say that I had to suppress my laughter at anton's mention of "confession". It seems we're on the way to becoming one big old Oprah Winfrey show! :)

I wonder if Hannah Arendt was right here: the gradual erosion of the distinction between public and private worlds, the growing importance of "intimacy" and "charisma" (R.Sennett) ?

Embracing one's imperfections in public, anton? Er..it's at this point that I prefer old-world duplicity and masks!

antonia said...

b - i mean sometimes. of course always better not to and keep the imperfections to oneself and i am all for your right to provacy for one really does not need to know everything, but if public "imperfections" happen - and they do, take them with pride ;).

billoo said...

Good morning, antonia. Sorry, don't know what you mean by "public imperfections". That's such a generalization! [sorry, couldn't resist:)]

But no, think you're right. *Never* acknowledging imperfections or mistakes -at any level-is negative, destructive even, and there's a terrible false sense of shame in some cultures (I like Kubla's word here: claustrophobia).

I'm just *suggesting* that this mania for confession, for seeing control as necessarily some throwback to Victorian prudishness, is equally mistaken (in my opinion). It's all a bit too convenient for the mentality and practices of late capitalism, no? 'Just do it!' I haven't read zizek but did come across one line of his which I liked: "we can, therefore we must".

Can't but help think that George Steiner was right here: a verbal hyperinflation!

antonia said...

haha point taken re the generalizations. i take it as the insomniac's right to use generalizations as aiding thinking tool for i haven't yet slept at all and it is 5.30am.
public imperfections was just mean as things like mentioned, getting terribly drunk and doing stupid things or writing melodramatic posts.
full well agree with what you write re control and all that - see, i am also conservative :). There isn't somehow a balanced middle anymore, where it is just plain normal that people sometimes "lapse" and that is that, but this confessionmania, everyone goes for the overkill in that and things inflate and secondly those confessions don't in the first place - don't have to say anything about a person, the person's own truth, it's just show and the question is how to save one's own integrity. haven't read Zizek either.

Kubla Khan said...

Billoo....Hi
i am intrigued with your word play but then you are much well read it seems, better than myself. concepts like late capitalism and hyperinflation....what are these? i don't understand them....the simplest and lasting things are not found therein and this distinction between behaviour linked to economic nuances is a drag, a bore, a theory flouted by academics, looks good in classrooms.

the thing is this..... right now, there is a half moon out there, and looking at it, i get un-understandable pain. where does it come from...i don't know. i call it the heart....in Arabic these are things belonging to Qalb, also heart like, and somewhere else we say, poetry, it gives us pain and relief too. now, some poetry is squeamish, nauseous( for eg i find Gibran flowery and unreadable but so many admire him) and some poetry just brilliant, becomes it conforms to our taste at a particular moment. afterwards, restlessness returns.

confessions.....why not? isn't all writing a confession. my favourite poets are all confessionals. isn't revelation God's confession too?
how can we live without saying to some people...I love you?

But my understanding is based on certain tidal waves of inner emotion, which rise like a fever chart sometimes. coldness, dourness isn't the prerogative of restless poets. even in a desert, the most mystical and the most obdurate exist only in some form of love.

But you might be right too.....maybe certain more enriched minds see beyond things and then invent definitions and concepts which people like me ignore because of a lack of understanding.

the moon outside, myself, maybe the howling wind, dogs baying at the moon, words flying, and some, like me, wide eyed, praying for a rain of words, for the heart of poetry, for a white sheet to be littered, for all exiles and all partings to end.......if these desires are signs of weakness and so be it then.

btw.....your Hannah Arendt.....if she had written philosophy like Genet or Bolano,i w'd think of reading her then.

But this too is a momentary opinion.....nothing is fixed, only poetry remains.

And i agree with Alok.....the most personal posts are the better ones.

Antonia....this could be an idea for a Proust post soon.....the melodrama of his memories?

Kubla Khan said...

Billoo....Hi
i am intrigued with your word play but then you are much well read it seems, better than myself. concepts like late capitalism and hyperinflation....what are these? i don't understand them....the simplest and lasting things are not found therein and this distinction between behaviour linked to economic nuances is a drag, a bore, a theory flouted by academics, looks good in classrooms.

the thing is this..... right now, there is a half moon out there, and looking at it, i get un-understandable pain. where does it come from...i don't know. i call it the heart....in Arabic these are things belonging to Qalb, also heart like, and somewhere else we say, poetry, it gives us pain and relief too. now, some poetry is squeamish, nauseous( for eg i find Gibran flowery and unreadable but so many admire him) and some poetry just brilliant, becomes it conforms to our taste at a particular moment. afterwards, restlessness returns.

confessions.....why not? isn't all writing a confession. my favourite poets are all confessionals. isn't revelation God's confession too?
how can we live without saying to some people...I love you?

But my understanding is based on certain tidal waves of inner emotion, which rise like a fever chart sometimes. coldness, dourness isn't the prerogative of restless poets. even in a desert, the most mystical and the most obdurate exist only in some form of love.

But you might be right too.....maybe certain more enriched minds see beyond things and then invent definitions and concepts which people like me ignore because of a lack of understanding.

the moon outside, myself, maybe the howling wind, dogs baying at the moon, words flying, and some, like me, wide eyed, praying for a rain of words, for the heart of poetry, for a white sheet to be littered, for all exiles and all partings to end.......if these desires are signs of weakness and so be it then.

btw.....your Hannah Arendt.....if she had written philosophy like Genet or Bolano,i w'd think of reading her then.

But this too is a momentary opinion.....nothing is fixed, only poetry remains.

And i agree with Alok.....the most personal posts are the better ones.

Antonia....this could be an idea for a Proust post soon.....the melodrama of his memories?

Alok said...

Hi Kubla, That's an intriguing reply.

I think what you termed Billoo's "wordplay" or intellectual talk is also a kind of personal defence mechanism, a way of dealing with pain and understanding one's experience through the process of intellectualization. Not all of us have verbal gifts or skills which are essential for a truthful and personal communication, much less the courage and confidence that is required for any such opening up of self. (actually in our society, it has become so easy to manufacture false emotions that people become invariably suspicious of melodrama, which is what I think Billoo was pointing at too).

But if someone reads a highfalutin essay on say, "the problem of alienation in late capitalist societies" and it strikes a chord with him, I don't think we need to be judgemental there. I know I don't like my job, I feel lonely and frustrated. Now I can write a (so-called) melodramatic post which will move some and embarass some, depending on one's temperament or else take refuge in these theoretical explanations and derive comfort from the fact that I am not alone in the way I feel. It can be explained and understood and many others feel similarly frustrated and hate the job the economy assigns to them too.

Even for those of us who aren't well-read and don't know the meaning of these big words, we are always trying to understand and make sense of our experiences by trying to search for patterns and looking for causes. In that sense the two approaches are not that different. Only the language and sensibilities differ.

Kubla Khan said...

Alok hi...
I think your comments reflect what i wanted to say. your rounding up of this melodrama issue is perfect and sensible. as you said, we all differ in our ways or approach but might be feeling similar. a question of language or lack of. well said and thanks, as always.
ciao

billoo said...

Hmm, I see that you and alok are not going to rest until you draw blood! :)

so, at the risk of repeating myself, could I just say that I've already apologised if my words caused offence. But I do so again: sorry.

I'm quite surprised that you both continue to misread what I'm saying. I am NOT saying that YOU are melodramtic or that this POST is melodramatic. Er..and this is just plain English, not some sodding high-flying technical jargon: "let my shelves grow heavy with pain"? Come on kubla-and I hope we can speak as friends here-isn't that just a touch melodramatic?"

Hyperinflation isn't such a difficult word ! Come on guys, what's with all this fake you've-read-more-than-me nonsense? How bizarre! It's quite a simple word: an excess of something can mean that its value is diminshed (a bit like Banenboim's point about music in his brilliant Reith lectures, or Illich on the proliferation of images).

"late capitalism". Point taken. A cumbersome term, no doubt. But I think it goes back to what Said might have said: texts exist within contexts. The very feelings of 'freedom' or 'confession' or 'authenticity' (what alok might call "truthful and personal communication") are themselves, *in part*, a product of the system: rebel sell! I can see why some people might want to overlook this. It's probably too discomforting.

Interesting point about Revelation, Kubla. Perhpas it is. But God also deals in secrets and "the Book" is also a reflection of the 'Guarded Tablet'. Not everything can be named..and one doesn't confess the name of one's loved one to eveyone, but to the beloved. No?

As you rightly say, to *some* people.

Best wishes,

b.

Kubla Khan said...

Billoo....perhaps we are all right, in our own ways. but there is no need to say sorry.....sorry for what? as i replied a few days earlier, you are welcome to say anything here.
surely we can express ourselves without feeling bad about it.
so there.
take care
cheers

billoo said...

Kubla, hello.
I don't know. I hear what you're saying but when I read alok: "I think what you termed Billoo's "wordplay" or intellectual talk is also a kind of personal defence mechanism, a way of dealing with pain and understanding one's experience " I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I mean, that is to *assume* that pain" and/or "suffering" is at the root of all our experiences.

I don't know, it may be for *some* people or it may be for all people *some* of the time but still...

And I find it quite disconcerting that you guys who are so fantastically well-read would make a point about "intellectual talk" (whatever that is).

Please excuse me for being so blunt Kubla, but since we're talking about expressing our feelings, let me say that I find this "talk" about "highfalutin" words, about "big words" all a bit phoney. As the rap singers put it, "keep it real"!

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I do cringe a bit when people talk all the time about "the truth" or "authentic feelings". (please do take a look at Sennett's book ,The fall of Public Man, if you get the chance). Still think there's something to be said for secrecy, for duplicity, masks, hypocrisy. Or, to put it in a more positive light, for what Gawain would call 'courtesy': knowing what to say and when to say it. This, to my mind at least, strikes me as the absolute antithesis of the modern temperament.

Salaams,

b.