Days, 1999

 

--.

 

Disorder is reckoned to be the opposite of order.  Evil is recognized as the opposite of good.  But this is not to say that order is good and disorder evil.  No, there is order that is evil, and disorder that is good.  Good and evil are more nuanced, harder to pin down, than by the mere mark of order or disorder. 

     Stasis is not the epitome of good.  The kingdom of heaven is certainly not an eternal stasis.

 

 

--.

 

Evil exists, but where does it reside?  Evil is not simply the "resistance of formless matter to God's creating will."  I'd have trouble in any case believing there is such a thing as "formless matter."  Evil resides rather in a kind of willful coup of some part of God's creative forming.  Evil is a willful coup of forms that, taking unto itself further form-like character, propels what might be called pseudo-creations.  Detached from the divine, pseudo-creations bear the stamp of non-being.  They ring hollow, and this hollow ringing can be recognized as their mark of provenance.

 

 

--.

 

The word is not an immaterial thing like the Platonic Idea.  Rather it is material.  The word strikes us as immaterial only because its relations with other more palpable material things are occult.  We can only begin to grasp that to which these relations refer, and so we conceive of the word itself as somehow immaterial.

 

 

--.

 

A blank notebook.  A slim blue spiral notebook made by the Koyuko company, a Japanese brand.  The notebook is new, completely blank, and it contains one-hundred narrow-ruled leaves of paper.

     I know that on the meeting of these blank pages with this ballpoint pen, upon the careful tracing out of the looping lines of written words, it is possible, it is at least possible, for this blue notebook to contain a text that would overturn the world, a text of such necessity as to complete what is essential in all previous texts, while relegating to oblivion all that is inessential.

     This notebook and the pen in my hand evoke the thought of what is there as potential: they suggest what could be brought forth in the act of their being used up.

     Michelangelo was supposedly able to envision the sculpture hiding in the block of marble.  Or at least this was one of his confidence tricks.  His work was to bring forth the latent sculpture, to chisel away the marble that still imprisoned it.

     What I'm thinking now of the blank notebook and pen before me--is this in any way similar to Michelangelo's thought of the sculpture waiting to be liberated from the marble?  Perhaps it is, but only in some slight way.  Perhaps the two instances of creative vision are at best allegories of each other.

     A sculpture is a three-dimensional object: one can visualize it in space, and so it can be there already in the marble.  The outlines of a text cannot be visualized, of course, or at least not in the same manner.  What kind of text would one come up with if one thought of writing as the chiseling away of all that one did not want to say, if one imagined the literary tradition, and one's language, as a sort of block from which one chiseled away all that was inessential?  Some have through of writing this way.  Certainly there are writers--I think of the American minimalists, or the melancholy Duras--whose poetics have elements of this.

     But the text I imagine above, the potential text in this notebook, the one text whose appearance would overturn the world--this text is surely something other than that of the master sculptor.  Its appearance would be something positive, something breathed into the writer, rather than something negative in the sense of having been chipped out of dross.  Its appearance would necessarily be a kind of theophany.

     Though certainly written in a fallen language (English, for example) such a text remains beyond all imagination as to its outlines and details.  Only God could provide it.

 

 

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