Monday, September 1, 2014

Reason's Overgrowth, a Calculating Kudzu

A.R. Ammons to Charles Simmons, July 6, 1966

A writer is a spiritual whore: he begins writing because he simply loves sex - that's the innocence. Then the public enters, appreciates his love-making, wants to watch: or detests it, and wants him to hide. In any case, he can no longer proceed by innocent instinct. If he is to last as a spiritual whore, he must take to the role, consciously, deliberately; he must feel himself up, as one who is watched and, maybe, blessed - different. He must get out the paint and the bright phony flowers and carry away into sublimity by pure nerve the emergent whore. He must be contemptuous and vain, fretful and flamboyant: most of all, he must maintain that the notice he has gained is the valuable thing this world affords. 
Your trouble is you want to stay a human being. You can't do that. You must assume a public role - and keep your humanity safe and to yourself. Learn to posture a little; try some personality fictions, till you get the right one. Bring it off. That's the only way to hide.

  • At the top, taken this morning, is my ink/paint box, undisturbed for nine months. I used to do shit like the above, I'm beginning to imagine I might do so again. Not today.
  • This post, today, because a novel I'm reading like I haven't read in more than nine months has as it's main themes performance and complicity and self-production and posing and that's what the fuck I yodel about all the fucking time everywhere, and because today is one of the seven slowest days of the year in Blegsylvania which of course requires I spend hours creating a post more important to me than most that hardly anyone will read (as compared to how many usually hardly will read).
  • Ideology.
  • The role of proxy terror.
  • The return of Karl Polanyi.
  • Reading Hamilton from the Left.
  • From the annals of higher education.
  • BroadSnark's things you might have missed.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • The New Inquiry's Sunday readings.
  • Unanticipated nostalgia.
  • Jacob (IOZ) gets a mention in the New Yorker.
  • Another round of moving the moribund to Moribund today. It includes friends - remember, I do this so I see when you stir. Blegsylvania is (though there's no fighting on the dance floor) a


Heather McHugh

Insanity is not a want of reason.
It is reason's overgrowth, a calculating kudzu.

Explaining why, in two-ton manifesti, thinkers sally forth
with testaments and pipe bombs. Heaven help us:

spare us all your meaningful designs. Shine down or
shower forth, but (for the earthling's sake) ignore
all prayers followed by against, or for. Teach us to bear

life's senselessness, our insignificance, and more;
let's call that sanity. The terrifying prospect isn't some
escapist with a novel, fond of comfort, munching sweets—

it is the busy hermeneut, so serious he's sour, intent on making
meaning of us all, and bursting from the towers to the streets.

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