He: Accidental harm & love are not unlike time. We can look back & ahead only so far or so wide. Pleading anything more, successfully or not, is pretense, unavoidable though it may be.
* * *
I originally read your note in the dead of night, having awakened at 3 or 3.30 in search of a glass of water, and have ever since been toying with the notion of what happens to silent compliments — the ones stowed for later in the pocket, or under the hat for safe-keeping, or even under the ground for memorialized forgetting. The words not said, don’t the poets & mystics talk about how they’re the ones with the most power? But do words need to have power to act? I’m not sure.
Clumsiness, awkwardness, trains of thought that’ve skipped the tracks and emptied their cargo — compliments regrettably given, praise painfully accepted — these are the moments, the silences that aren’t the terminal sort for which poets & mystics clamor or yearn — that occur along the way … to what, exactly? … frustrating all our noblest intentions and greatest efforts — such as when you excitedly read aloud the most ‘beautiful thing ever’, whatever it is, to a kindred, and hear their coldness & inattention as you do; and, oh, you’re loathe to continue, but you do, and somewhere within (but not identifiably because) the persistence something happens — perhaps to neither of you — for you may remain disappointed and she bored — that redeems the frustration and inattention — that doesn’t change a person or circumstance so much as affirm and allow both — doors thrown open and welcomes met with wine — and upon reflection, maybe, sometimes, one of you, maybe neither, maybe somebody sitting nearby watching, is pleased to have bore witness.
* * *
She: Uncertain accidents, then, though inefficient, these acts of love & hate. Often indistinguishable, they have been woven into the everyday of our common sense. This is simply what one must or must not do these days, dear. That’s how it is, son. Etc. We who cannot fuck are left only with fucking up.
* * *
Could we perhaps say that something is only “artless” to the extent it inspires no further creation? That is to say, when it requires and elicits neither interpretation nor comment, and it does not intentionally engage the greater world of the creative arts (past, present & future).
But what of inspiration, you ask. (Of course you do.) My sense is that inspired art, to put it blandly, endures — if not brimming with life, ruined with decay, which may be a way of saying the same thing. Of course, there is the necessary element of art needing also to be discovered, and I don’t want to discount the possibility of undiscovered inspiration. What we must avoid, however, is making art instantly identifiable as such.
* * *
No, perish the thought, at least momentarily, resurrections having been said to occur, you’re not being annoying. You ask me what brings me joy. And my response, I admit, potentially sounds like a moan, but it’s not intended so. What brings me the most joy is a well-wrought & wrung sentence — sometimes just a phrase — & when I’m desperate, a misshaped but (in my estimation) appropriate word. There may be greater pleasures, but alchemizing a noun into a verb or vice versa rarely carries the same baggage from room to room than these greater pleasures do. The untainted joy, perhaps because largely unnoticed, of communicating with myself and the few I make a practice of including in my exhibitionism.
* * *
All this is to say, a great deal of art is consumed by the surface-skimming toxic algae, art culture, that attends to the personality of the artist, movements, etc. It’s all a kind of pornography: barren promiscuity offset by sterile consumption. Might it all become potent sometime in the future? Was it ever? True, the freeing of people (well, those with the disposable resources of time and money) to pursue their aesthetic whimsies is a liberating thing. But liberations are always noisy, self-assertions crowded become rowdy and riotous, and within the din it can be difficult to tell who is who.
* * *
In spite of everything, not least itself, a certain religious thinking remains a fertile ground for these kinds of sentences, phrases & words — not least because there is in it an unexpected joy — an outsized joy in a world bent, on many of its best days, on pleasure. Joy, I think, happens not at a remove from pleasure, or pain for that matter (after all, somebody, sometimes the screamer himself, more customarily the screamed-at, finds pleasure in all manner of pain), but rarely are they so similar as to be the same.
* * *
I count myself as lucky if even this letter should find its destination.
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One thought on “Serialized Short Story, Conclusion: “I count myself as lucky if even this letter should find its destination.””
Thanks all, any, who read. This one is very self-indulgent, I know, intentionally, but consumptive all the same.
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