Minication. New york and back, less leisurely than my usual trips since I'm on a bit of a schedule. Last night was Anne Carson reading from Nox at Poet's House, the small conference room downstairs filled with interesting and uncomfortable people, and Anne, and her collaborator Currie, and someone from their publisher, with mics that weren't loud enough and a needless overhead display. The people upstairs watched the feed from monitors (live monitors in such a small venue?) and had overall a much better time seeing and hearing everything. We ditched our spots on the windowsill during the Q&A and went upstairs to get a head start on the wine.
She read quite a bit of Nox, I have no idea how much of the text of it was read but it seemed like most of it. And still it was incomplete: the photos and drawings and clips and cut-outs provide the bulk of the impact of this book-in-a-box. The text itself, Anne's sad, lost, analytical voice laying down the facts and experiences of her relationship with her brother, absent from much of her life until his death, is a small voice, like someone trying to categorize pieces of a thing they can't hope to understand. She describes herself here as an intellectual, an analyzer, a "pinhead" as her brother called her living mostly in her mind. Then we have the figure of her brother, who seems (though how can we know?) to have spent his life at living, passionately, unhappily. And this living tore a hole in the life of her family and her life, so Anne is left, as usual, with pieces. Which is where she always tends to end up. This is a world irreconcilable, being always late to the party, walking into the middle of conversations, wandering in ruins that when they weren't ruins were built on some other ruin. A translation of a translation of which the original is lost. Even the playfulness, which is one of her strongest responses to this feeling, was more subdued in what she read on Thursday, or at least more painfully ironic.
Currie is a strange little man and I wonder what precisely she sees in him. They teach a class on collaboration (they said), and the line they give the attendants is "Now that you've completed it, what are you going to do with it?" Meaning she's started treating her own work like a text, ready for exegesis and adaptation, or maybe more like a scrap of cloth that can only be admired so much for the garment it was once part of. If I had a question to ask her it would be if she has a concept of the original anymore, or has everything in life become like catching hold of a wave you can't know the origins of, can't know what shores it might wash up on.
I wouldn't ask her this question because it is not a question but an answer, and not her answer but my answer, and not a complete answer but an unfair one.
The meaning of the wave of course is loss. The wave is not where it once was. All the mind can really know of the world is loss if it looks hard enough, and I start to wonder if this is a property of the world or a property of the mind. Is loss mind-colored?
Spend the rest of the night in bars, some full of drunks and some not, the bartenders all evenly unsmiling. Headed back to jersey around dawn, got to see the sun rise there on the road. Dawns are so strange and fragile, they have their own color. White instead of red.
I can't remember actually seeing city lit up with dawn before. My knowledge of the city is all evenings and midnights.
It's a different beast in the morning. It's almost kind.
Snapped this photo on the walk from the bus stop, trying to catch the sun as it pushed this dark and hazy avalanche ahead of itself. Didn't capture it. Some photos are to remind you of things, some photos are to remind you of things you didn't see the first time, some photos are to isolate a thing which out there in the world is too lost in the world to be seen. This one's a failure of the first type. I put it here so I can write: this is a failure of myself to remind myself of anything.