Monday, February 24, 2014

"After the park and the street the interior of the building
seemed very silent. A long beam of sunlight, in which small
particles of dust swam about, all at once slanted through an upper
 window on the staircase, and struck the opaque glass
panels of the door. On several occasions recently I had
been conscious of approaching the brink of some
discovery; an awareness that nearly became manifest,
 then suddenly withdrew. Now the truth came flooding in with
 the dust infested sunlight. The revelation of self-identity was
inescapable. There was no doubt about it. I was me.'
Anthony Powell
quoted in Christopher Hitchens
An Omnivorous Curiosity
The Atlantic June 2001

I still seem to have lapsed into some form of winter doldrums
and am marooned in my own personal version of the horse latitudes.
I have spent, what is probably too much time thinking and reading too
 little doing, that said I will indulge in another trip down memory lane.

I have periodically in my life come to remember an experience
I had in my youth. I would probably have been in public school
possibly 9 or 10 when I came home from school and was looking
out the dining room window which faced our driveway. However it
was not the view that caught my attention but the golden light striking
the wide oak radiator cover under the window. In this instance I
experienced a moment of such clarity and strength that I remember
it to this day although nothing of significance occurred and it had no
lasting effect on my life. There are a number of words that might
encompass such an experience revelation, satori, epiphany ( indeed
epiphany has apparently become a staple of poetry and I have begun
reading Ashton Nichols The Poetics of Epiphany to explore this idea )
but all these terms seem to indicate some new found knowledge or
direction stemming from this experience. While I remember the power
of this experience I then or now eached no conclusion as to it's
significance if any in my life.

One thing that I do enjoy about reading and why I love literature and poetry
is that I  I feel a commonality with authors who are recording their own or
their characters experiences in a attempt to understand their lives or the
lives of the world around them. Even if the experiences or their conclusions
do not match my own I still find it a worthwhile experience. So while I have
nothing as yet to share about my experience I am offering quotes by some
excellent authors that may offer their "take" on such an experience.
"Against the gateway, against some cedar tree I saw blaze bright,
 Neville, Jinny, Rhoda, Susan and myself, our life, our identity.
 ...,. But we--against the brick, against the branches, we six, out
of how many million millions, for one moment out of what measureless
abundance of past time and time to come, burnt there triumphant. The
moment was all; the moment was enough."
                                 The Waves
                                          Virgina Woolfe


Sunday, February 2, 2014

I have not blogged for some time and the winter ice and cold  has limited my 
taking photographs. A few weeks ago I came across some cards based on 
Nick Bantocks's Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. If you have not read it it is the story
 of a couple who have never meet exchanging cards and letters when they
 discover they have a "magical connection" They basically tell each other 
the story of their  lives and then begin to share the stories of their current 
travels. The stories are accompanied by postcards, letters and stamps with 
striking images. I have to admit I liked the third book the least when an 
antagonist was introduced and a more conventional plot was introduced. 
I preferred just hearing their personal histories and the narratives of their 
travels.  I had not been rereading them  long before I began to sense a 
connection, at least for me to the works of W.G. Sebald and I reread my 
copy of Austerlitz, his works largely avoid conventional plot, consisting 
instead of personal histories, chance encounters, descriptions of places seen 
while traveling or snippets from his reading and he includes B&W photos 
in the books.

Both authors dealt with personal history, art, conversation, descriptions, 
memory and I think convey a sense of what I, at least, feel in the internal 
mental dialogue we conduct with ourselves.

For my quotes I have chosen one from Sebald's Austerlitz about how the things
 that comprise our mental landscape will fade with time and the second a quote 
by the astronomer Martin Rees about how much our memories mean in the great 
scheme of things.

“...the darkness does not lift but becomes yet heavier as 
I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly 
lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as 
it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects 
which themselves have no power or memory is never heard, never 
described or passed on.” 


"Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. It will not be humans 
who watch the sun's demise, 6bn years from now. Any creatures that then exist 
will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.”