A Dialogue (aside) with Inner Monlogue

A: "You're a painter? So am I!"
B: " Oh Yeah? What kind of painting do you do?"
B:(aside) Let me guess...
A: "Well, I mostly do abstract. Just, you know pushing the paint around. I really love shapes and color and contrasting them together. I've always been really interested in art. I haven't painted anything in a while though, but I'm looking for a chance to really get back into it. I've been studying shapes a lot lately, like in shadows and stuff... Juxtaposing them. I usually have a sketch book with me where ever I go, but I haven't lately."
B:(aside during A's insignificant ramble) Surprise, surprise. Ok. I have a decision to make. I WANT to tell you that you HAVEN"T been doing abstract. Please tell me you've seen more than one of Piet Mondrian's paintings. Please tell me you know that Gerhard Richter didn't just start scraping paint because he was totally into "art." Please tell me that you understand that abstract doesn't mean "I can't actually draw, and whatever I try to do I'll just call abstract so that the person looking at my "art" will think I have a profound understanding of art." I should tell you that abstraction is a type of nirvana that only happens after years of meditation and study. But my decision fulcrums here. You have an energy for art that I shouldn't turn off. I should encourage your interest. I have a feeling that you are not planning on asking me what kind of paintings I do.
B: "Sounds interesting. I'd love to see your paintings some time."
A: "Yeah, I mean I havent really, I mean I have a couple of..."
B: (aside) I'll save you...in a minute or two. I get a kick out of this.
A: "like things I've started and stuff, but I havent really had the time to really get into them, you know, really push the paint arou...
B: "So who are some of your influences?"
A: "Ohh Picasso...Ahh Van Gogh, Monet..."
B: (aside)Fuck those damn impressionists!
B: "Oh I love them! But I like Georges Braque more than Picasso. Picasso kind of pop-ized cubism, you know?"
awkward pause.
A: "Yeah. But he was a genius though! I'm just trying to put the world down..."
B: (aside)the way I see it
A: "...the way I really see it."
B: (aside)close enough
A: " So, what kind of painting do you do?"
B: (aside)Well I'll be..
B: "Well the last painting I did, was about the war in Iraq. In the Bible, there's this quote where God is dealing with Jonah. He says, 'But Nineveh has more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know there left hand from there right...Should I not be concerned about that great city. I drew a map of Nineveh, which today is Mosul Iraq and in the painting I switched my left and right hand..."
A: "A friend of mine is doing these photgraphs of silhouettes in sepia. You should check them out. I think you'd really like them. I think he has a show coming up at Cafe' ____. You should have a show. I'm sure you could sell your paintings for a lot of money."
B: "I can't say I'm too interested in selling my paintings. I'd rather just give them to people for specific reasons like Felix Gonzalez Torres' portraits."
A: "He gets like $250 bucks per photo. You should check them out. I think you'd really like them."
B: (aside) I should have been a ______. I hate being an artist.
B: "Yeah. I'll have to check it out. Don't ever talk to me again."
B: (Take care...Wait a minute...Shit.)
B: (aside) I make a lot of enemies this way. It's something I need to work on.



A Poem for Alan (and myself)

The Sometime Sportsman Greets the Spring


When winter's glaze is lifted from the greens,

And cups are freshly cut, and birdies sing,

Triumphantly the stifled golfer preens

In cleats and slacks once more, and checks his swing.


This year, he vows, his head will steady be,

His weight-shift smooth, his grip and stance ideal;

And so they are, until upon the tee

Befall the old contortions of the real.

-John Updike



When in Babel...

I think we do Borges, Magic Realism, perhaps Latin America a disservice by trying to "figure it out." If we look at the work of Jose Saramago or Garcia Marquez we find a poetry. Saramago writes of the passage he goes in and out of everyday on his way to work in All the Names. He refers to it by it's name, The Door of Communication, in a passive way, never aluding to its possible meanings. This affords him wonderful opportunites for little poetic one liners, "he turned off the lights and closed the Door of Communication for the night." Likewise it affords us the opportunity to plunge, descend and then slowly ascend until we surface again into the writing. We play an active role in Magic Realism. It is our duty to read the text and believe it as a truth.

The Magic Realists do these things because they can. When I first read the staple, One Hundred Years of Solitude, I thought to myself, Yeah, why not? Why can't a character be surrounded by butterflies when she is in love and delivered in that matter of fact way that Borges delivers The Library of Babel? Why not? Too often we force ourselves to figure it out, to define it, to limit it. I'm not arguing against an interrogation. I think it is neccessary. I just say save me the references to a premonition of the internet, or religious texts that Borges piece is a metaphor for. Borges himself spells it out for us. If we're looking for the story to be vindication of the internet or the Bible or some "treacherous variation thereof", we will not find it. Instead we are to contemplate the variations of the 23 letters. Their possibilities. The possibility or the impossibility of writing, of communication, of history, of now. For example,

You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?"

Of course not. I can not be sure of the translations accuracy whether from Spanish to English or thought's conception to hand, or hand to pencil or especially pencil to paper. I can't be sure that he even wrote this. And if I can't be sure why am I reading it in the first place? A book that comes from nowhere. Can we be certain where we found this copy of Library of Babel from? What if I revealed the secret here, that this is actually something I wrote. I sent the link to Kotsko. Did you check the accuracy of my link? Perhaps what you've read was my reaction to the actual Library of Babel.

I kept reading the text, looking under it's rugs for unswept details. I did not read it one hundred times. I even fell victim to my own warnings looking up things that were invented in 1741, which would have been 300 years before the text was written in 1941.

This finding made it possible, three hundred years ago, to formulate a general theory of the Library and solve satisfacorily the problem which no conjecture had deciphered:

The Franklin stove was invented and the first magazine was published, but I found that a little suspicious, because Poor Richard's Almanac had been circulating for a number of years prior. I even read Poor Richard's Alamanac from 1741 for some piece of advice that would have made it possible to formulate a general theory of the Library. This might be what borges was refering to when he said tautology...or the internet or the Bible:

Best is the Tongue that feels the rein; --
He that talks much, must talk in vain;

Thats just not the way to read this. We should read these texts the way we listened to our parents, and our grandparents speak. The disorder in which they speak to us as children who are unable to grasp their inflections and intonations is an order. The order.
My solitude is gladdened by this elegant hope.