Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I was asked about where A.N. was coming from in the talk referenced below -- my notes are either lousy or not, but what I put below is all I took down. Still, I do know this: Alice was coming off reading piles and piles of crime novels (not to mention the tragic death from cancer of her beloved husband, the poet Doug Oliver) and was wondering what it might all mean, all this death and killing, in the context of her poetry, and of Poetry in general. Part of what spoke so loudly to me about her talk, besides the fact that it was Alice, who is always amazing -- even if my notes are like telegraphic afterthoughts and don't put that across -- was that she seemed to be speaking to what we all need to take into account, at least some of the time, when we do this writing thing, this living thing -- yes, what exactly does it mean, what we do, in the context of all this death and killing, fictional and not?

The following, from Kierkegaard, isn't quite right, not the perfect thing, but it comes to mind around all this:

"If a man were a beast or an angel, he would not be able to be in dread. Since he is a synthesis, he can be in dread, and the greater the dread, the greater the man."

23 Comments:

Anonymous Paul Jessup said...

That is probably one of the greatest things Kierkergaard has ever said. One that I use to frame my characters in my own writing.

I've always loved stories with an undercurrent of dread. Some underpinning that is not horror per se, but rather something creeping across the mind. A weight on the soul.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

"Some underpinning that is not horror per se, but rather something creeping across the mind. A weight on the soul."

Nicely put. Makes me think of Sebald writing about a black spider running around in his mind -- though I can't remember where he says that...

Found it, in On the Natural History of Destruction -- a little different, of course, than I had remembered it:

"At the time, Tripp gave me a present of one of his engravings, showing the mentally ill judge Daniel Paul Schreber with a spider in his skull—what can there be more terrible than the ideas always scurrying around our minds?—and much of what I have written since derives from this engraving, even in my method of procedure..."

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