Life in Hypertext
In which the magnus
opus begins, perhaps, or it doesn't matter: but that this is a point
of entry, a secret or not tunnel
into that underworld
in which all the writings, files are one, all connected as the organ-chambers,
the circulatory system or nerve-network of the life this Life,
whether daily journal, reading or writing journal, spiritual journal
or treeplanting log . . .
This file or entry
being the key: just another key, that is, on the infinite chain of being.
And the plot skein unraveling or raveling as you will from this point,
namely the search and finding of organization or purpose or motivating
center, the basic raison d'etre for the telling of story: dramatic tension
being the somewhat romantically ironic search for decisionary teeth
in this project, this direction or life-core,
the search for meaning and personal
validity, in that sense universal, and in my case applied to this vain
or not pursuit of a pattern, a way to tell, a voice, an identity, a
soul, a friend, a long or short-distance listener in a time of lying
(fiction) or truth.
And all the journals,
all the logs and diaries, all the troughs and crests and forced entries
and exuberant overspillings are pieces of it; all tell of the struggle,
which is that (or like that) of life, or Life.
All the fictions,
dreams, though some might be actual-born
and have their own lives as well. Here I might at least tell about them,
whether contained herein or born free of this work to live independent
lives. I the hunter, the collector of works written and unwritten, the
of words both bright and serious, which is, Henry,
the attitude toward life which is complete and true for me. Both self-absorbed
and self-effacing. All
things to all men. Not that all will appreciate--it's a personal
taste thing. Of course and all right. But to proceed. There is a certain
level of confidence attained, a threshold of battery-charge to set the
pistons thumping, sparking. Then we're on our way.
The plot sequence
winding, unwinding, from any point forward or back. To ramble
along the way with digressive loops, embellishments of the organic
machine, and to come back to the tale--composed
of loops too and wondering where the thread is--dangerous waters
there--where is this madman taking us in his little boat, his finger
on the button . . .
But we trust him.
Wherever he's going--perhaps that's the mystery, the divine mystery.
I Ching principle of randomomeny applied to plot construction, character
development, theme-choice and word-inspiration. Mood swings, triggered
by association. Beware. Yet . . .
coddle the madness of digression, humoring it. My mad
friends. Worthy human
beings, with stories to tell. The sane listener, nodding, enjoying.
This is real life, value there, here.
The yowling cat, crunching its jaws as Sonia on the phone complains
about her just-severed boyfriend slurping hot soup too noisily. "And
what will we do with all our funky leather things?"
Bury, burn, black
market? She raids the dollar-a-pound ragshops and resells the designer
outfits to consignment stores for a cool few hundred a month. Dreams
of creating more funky leather fashions for the burgeoning Boston S
& M trade. Trips to Thailand and Java for fabric imports. To Turkey
for cheap thrills . . .
Hide nothing. Is
the necessary thread? Yes and no. The but not the only. This or that,
as a principle of order.
The quest for art:
the coherence of parts, in
scale. The natural lumping of paragraphs, akin to universal creation.
Matter congealing, planets, molecules, life . . .
evolving: seeking the great beauty which reveals itself in the perhaps
inconsequentially random spilling out of order . . . that Saturn, Jupiter,
Mars, Earth, Venus, for instance, all have a part in the whole, a band
in the rainbow of Sun. A magnus opus of a different order, part of a
greater unwritten galaxy, too far as yet for such detailed contemplative
appreciation except as distant whirling arms of white light. Too far,
that is, Until the
inner or outer telescope reaches there. And then . . .
More worlds to explore.
The science of fiction.
This is lit
crit, autobiography, essay, journal, spiritual exercise, home-wiring
for the literate contemporary reader. A little bit of English for the
third world child in all of us. A primer in the modality of it all.
A holographic survey of an articulated
experience unfolding. A time travel in human terms. Forward, back .
. . flexible to the organic truth-holding of it all. The spherical shaping
of the skein. Ball to thread, thread to ball, winding, unwinding. Umbilical
cord, death-shroud, cat-toy, home wiring . . .
And in this search,
if I postulate Search
as being the prime modality, I stand to lose said thread. What then?
More's the drama,
as I seek to find it again. And research its secret adventures, in the
byways of the larger heart which is the chamber of the world. The red
thread, beating, pulsing with the greater pulse, the throb of being.
Again the question
of fiction/nonfiction is gone beyond
as all boundaries are herein/therein transcended. Transcended as in
the saying of herein/therein, because even as I say here it becomes
there. I become he, an other. Father-Mother-other to my self-child.
This the birthing, the unwinding of
thread from my heart, the ball of my string my life being my time my
exploration in this cave of life. Unwinding, to find my way forward
To depart sometimes
into the lives of my alterego children still lying in fetal chambers
within, sleeping, kicking, gestating.
He said this, thought
that, moved a knee . . . Or she . . .
The spark of life
already, now ignited. Not to turn back until it (he-she) this child,
is delivered into the world. Unraveling into hearts of others, winding
around those organs beating, carrying messages child-telephone-toy style
into those nervous systems, pulsing other blood systems into this frequency
as by drum
group or radio, harmonics twinkling on the strings.
echoing through the fuzz-box of the brain,
wagging in the wah-wah of the tongue, the hungry baby all of us any
is. The thread of milk, squeezing sucked out of the breast, nourishing,
sweet and fresh blue-white, silken in its fineness, warm to the touch.
as in photographic art or sculpture, memorialized. Bronzed for the ages.
Yet pulsing, within. Leaving some discord for the tension of irresolution,
the blues chords crying.
We seek the
groove, the unifying pulse. If only in the rhythm,
the actual literal even bass beat of the music of the words themselves,
lyrical word-meaning aside, the music in the beat, the flow, the rap
a tap tap of the keys.
That tenor is not
monotonous, but has melody too. These instruments can sing as well as
dance. They can even speak, when they have a mind to. All of it, I say,
is a song, or rather a collection of lines within songs within albums
of experience, all here-collected, the output in one big bundle . .
angle works simultaneously, appealing to the eye which perhaps is the
majority sense touched in reading, as even Swinburne found out to the
imagists' delight. Thus we see a mounting wave of vignettes, scene-setting,
Dialog that's pithy,
Snippets of thought--sketched
descriptions of face and body, movement and background.
Sterile, unmoving, life on stage.
Breaks in the music, like stop-action music videos.
The use of black and white stills in the fast moving slide show.
Glimpses of the
band, the boys in the band backstage.
When the music's over, in the dark room.
candles burning, red lights on.
And the cool blue ones, for effect.
of the blue sun, the hot red sun.
On the beach, at midnight.
What happens next,
I don't know. I
honestly don't know. Will I go fishing, swimming, playing baseball like
a kid? Go back to bed and f- or whatever the f- you say to use the word
f- without sounding so f- coarse . . . go on to writing something serious
and safe, a short or long programmed or formula ditty for the mass paperback
trade? All of this says be unafraid.
But it's not the
fear; it's just, doc, this chronic indecision. Y'see, I'm waiting for
these books to arrive, how to be highly effective, how to make decisions,
how to fly time's arrow backwards and so on, and in the meantime all
my other Dr. Ching will tell me is be
creative, after all these years he finally tells me what I want
to hear, not once but twice in a row, see, for summer and for the whole
forty-second year of this bleedin life, and I don't know what to do
with it, know what I mean? I mean, and I have this fortune inherited,
a guy calls up, my supervisor Brian, and says, what, Don't you want
to go back to work, are you independently wealthy or something, and
I say, well, yeah . . . and yet, what do I want with it? I don't know--there
are so many, too many possibilities. I could, you know, travel--and
there alone is a whole world of choices, I needn't even bother outlining
here, just look in the atlas--and then there's retirement, staying here
I mean not spending any more than necessary,
so that I can write, say, about all the places I can imagine going to
but don't have the time or money to visit all of, I mean really visit,
you know, or live there--because I only have one life, and to spend
more of it (it's the time, see, which is more the issue than the money)
than I need to on any one activity, in any one country, on any one obsession--it's
like the man who can't decide which woman he wants--or woman, or man
who or woman who can't decide whether he or she wants to be a or be
with a man or woman--or dog, or horse, or sheep, whatever.
Like the little
Himalayan boy who in the bardo in the story book is given all these
choices for the next existence.
It's like that every
moment for me.
Who to be, where,
It could be anyone,
anywhere, doing . . . whatever.
Let me count the
ways I've tried. Just this month, for instance: treeplanting, fishing,
swimming, drumming on the beach, jamming
at the hall, writing, reading,
love, playing with my kid, playing computer games, gardening, cooking,
washing dishes, cutting firewood, taking down the original homestead
fence, dreaming, going to town, soaking in hotsprings, working at the
hall, having a party, meditating,
yoga, jogging, not yet hiking . . .
Repairing the washing
machine, alternator and sliding screen door . . .
Losing and gaining
hope, talking with old friends on the phone, and my dead parents' lawyer,
and my sister and brother, scratching my cat . . .
A million things,
to be honest, and for what?--this is the despairing mode. The exulting
mode is to say, for this: the breathing,
loving answer to every question, the this, the the. The genuine, so
to say, article. The real f- thing.
But what is it?
For anyone, anything. For me, this thing, this communication. Expression,
impression, depression, lesson and lesion, legion and religion, reason
and beleaguerin, needful and beautiful.
The charm of periodic
(never say ultimate, except in raptures of groundless faith) resolution.
Ultimate all right in the sense of immediacy rooted in the eternal.
The timelessness of the flower snapshot. The quickness of death, the
quick beat of the pulse right now alive. Resolution even--and perhaps
especially--in such vital basic terms, such elemental matters. Plot
reduced to life and death struggle, not out there, no imagined mystery,
but the universal mystery of life and death, its maintenance origin
destiny and all manner of appreciation for it, its uniqueness in human
or any other form, its to-be-savored beauty all of a piece, which is
after all (or is it?) our projected sense of order and coherence and
organic form: no, deeper, there I venture to say and is this human pride
and arrogance or humble awed reverence to say that yes even without
us there is order and harmony and beauty and nice coherence. It is a
principle of nature, after all, and to savor is perhaps the one most
uniquely human feature, to see and say wow, look at it. Listen. Isn't
it wonderful? Not tritely, but truly . . .
Yet to portray and
herein celebrate Life implicitly, can do more justice to its true appreciation
than to attempt to say in greeting card fashion,
isn't it wonderful?"
7:00 a.m. sharp.
Begins a Sunday.
July 19, 1992 / May
This my meditation, my bread and wine.
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