Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Collage of Modernism

A Letter.

You say it’s funny, it’s very funny. And it’s a lot of fun, too, to be in love. You say that in a way it’s an enjoyable feeling.

But I think it’s hell on earth.

For three years, or almost three years, I have never seen beyond you. I am sure I have never been in love in my life.

The trees were buzzing, and the grass…

The blossoms that were unusually luxurious and beautiful that summer…

The roses…

All trash, m’dear.

I could hear the water.

I had picked you up because of a vague sentimental idea that it would be nice to eat with some one.

But what was the scientific explanation (for one must be scientific in all things)?

Listen, don’t you ever get the feeling tha

t all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?

One evening the panic was on me—that I could not feel.

It’s been a silly, silly dream, being unhappy.

I could hear the water.

There is a dignity in people; a solitude, even between husband and wife a gulf; and that one must respect.

But it is unsatisfactory, we agree, how little one knows people.

To love makes one solitary, I think.

How odd it is to know you and yet not know a single thing that had happened to you.

And between us… nothing happened.

I did not expect anything to happen…and I was entirely happy.

Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.

I hated you: I loved you.

My gift is my watch: I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

It might be possible that the world itself

is without meaning.

I couldn’t hear the water.

This is a collage I constructed out of lines from three different modernist texts, as a break-up letter, or maybe just a letter, to/from/about modernism/love.

Anyone recognize what novels these are drawing from?

I'm pretty sure I want to focus on American modernist (and post-modern?) literature for my PhD.

Why do I love modernism so much?

Maybe it's the lyricism of the prose by such modernist heavyweights as Woolf and Faukner.

Maybe I'm drawn to, can relate to, am heartbroken and uplifted by the themes of isolation, insularity, inability to communicate, the paradoxes of human relationships, the search for meaning and non-meaning and the self-inflicted loneliness that perpetuates.

Maybe it's because I know how love can make you lonely.

And maybe reading and writing about it helps me grapple with that.


PS. Ready for winter to hit.

Monday, November 1, 2010

On the Vice of Napping

Leonardo da Vinci: "O you who sleep, what is sleep? Sleep resembles death. Oh, why not let your work be such that after death you acquire immortality, rather than during life you make yourself like unto the hapless dead by sleeping."

Touché, Leonardo. Touché.