On Writing: All the Tedious Visceral Details of its Whatses



It often happens that I get the urge- the real urge, the real desire- to write while I am on a walk. The idea and the desire to share the idea occur simultaneously and quickly proliferate- in perfect order, along the trajectory of a sentence- into the words with which to translate themselves into being. Always in that moment I feel as though if I’d had a piece of paper and a pencil, it would get written perfectly, just the way I wanted, the way it was supposed to get written.

And it’s important, too. It is imperative that one writes. So there are layers of form: closer to the content are the ways in which it is given something like a shape (which words were used, under which generic persuasion was it written (or will it be perceived)), while all the way out at the edges is the formal significance that it was written, has been written, is (or will be) something written.


So the idea that an idea is coextensive with its desire to be written (that feeling I get when I’m on a walk) makes some sort of sense here, considering the cathartic experience of having finally written that which one had the idea to write (first, that what I wrote was the idea I had, second: the fact that I wrote something).

Similarly fitting is the fact that this all happens while I’m on a walk. Having been made into a noun, the verb- which usually takes place between the subject and the object (I walked to the bus stop, etc.)- becomes the object: here what I want to do is how I want to do it. The act and the object become smooshed together, and it is in the space of this short circuit that I desire to write. The aim is the object is the aim.


It happens too quickly: the realization that this sort of writing, this sort of thinking, is too brutally solopsistic, too selfish; that all desire- especially writerly desire- is (of course), simply narcissism.  And the feeling of how important it is that one realizes this- how easy it is to forget the feeling and how difficult it is to return to it- is too soon forgotten. I want to return to the feeling of something being wrong in order to find out how to make it right.



Dealing with the outsides of something- its formality, its contours and textures, etc.- can be very frustrating: dwelling at or around the moment of apprehension, holding up the composition of the problem itself to the light in order to look at it, taking up the desire for the thing before taking up the thing, constantly deferring the desire to say something solid about the thing, thinking about the importance of the fact of the matter- the that something is, or was, or will be- as a prerequisite for thinking about the what that thing is (and all the tedious visceral details of its whatses)- that’s also the domain of the thing that is the verb you use to get to it.



23 Scenes From The Surface*


Two men meet on the street; they shake hands with their right hands, exchange a package with their left.  After a few words they depart.



The first time I saw it was the first time I spent the night.  It was surprisingly uniform in shape, like a small pink worm that ran from the center of her sternum, to just below her clavicle before cutting a stark right-angled turn towards the indentation of soft flesh just down and to the left of her right shoulder.


I find great pleasure in placing my contact lenses in their fancy bubbly cleaning apparatus.  My eyes ache for both the cool of the lenses in the morning and the gentle sliding off of them in the evening.  My soul is soothed at the visage and the thought of those tiny bubbles silently scrubbing their surfaces for six straight and silent hours, in the dark, next to the sink, while I sleep.


Whether or not to insert a hyphen, whether or not to call it a dash, whether or not to capitalize, whether or not it is the time or the place for propriety.  These are the inane and mundane preoccupations of a writer with highfalutin aspirations (see: too big for his britches).  He had seen Dostoevsky use the term highfalutin, so had decided it was acceptable; he had realized at the time of remembering that he had seen Dostoevsky use the term highfalutin that it had been a translation; he had only realized that the two-worded spelling was the alternative to the one-worded variety when he finally looked it up on the internet.


“There were two of them, of course – you can’t have a duel with only one fellow… well I suppose you could have a duel of sorts with three or more, but not in the, you know, in the formal, traditionally cultural practice of dew-ullz.  Anyway they were wearing tights and blouses and everything.  Their hair was long, greasy and stringy and their goatees were far too perfectly trimmed.  They were best friends or something and one had been engaged to this beautiful woman who the other had fallen in love with and when the first one found out he started the fight and, well, yeah anyway, the guy – the one who’d been engaged before his lady fell in love with his best friend – the guy ran the other guy through with his rapier or cutlass or whatever.  It was actually really sad, when the fellow realized what he’d done. Horrifying, actually.”

* From the archives, slightly revised, and toward the end of some sort of experiment in hermeneutics / participation in the (muffled?) conversation or polemic surrounding just what it is we do, or should do, when “reading” texts.