Sunday, June 27, 2010

talk about “love”

If one wants to understand love (beyond “love”)—presuming one doesn’t adequately understand it so far (safe bet)—look to a woman rather than a man, right?

Not strictly speaking, but history’s in my favor. So, Vendela Vida (lovely name!) published this month her third novel (accomplished writer), The Lovers—a good bet for better understanding love? Maybe, maybe not. So far, I’ve merely read a review of her novel, though I bought it last week.

The Lovers is about a widowed woman on a quest for self.

Your face, Vendela, seems to expect an authentic directness while you offer an authentic receptiveness. The world sorely needs that. It’s part of what deep friendship can take for granted. (I bet, though, that you more usually take the matter-of-fact stance of someone who may be a little tired of marketing her book.)

I suppose the lovers of the novel are the main character’s—Yvonne’s—self-conscious construction of a past in which she is both a part passed and a narrator presently defining her part in that past (and herself going forward), as the novel is overtly a quest (the reviewer implies), including (as Yvonne travels) reading Duras’s The Lover, which is about no valid lover at all, rather about Duras’s ambivalent love of colonial southeast asia, a book so well written because Duras was for so long rewriting her autobiographical story, as if the quest can be never captured; or one’s life is compelled to distill into some singular story, for the promise of a singular sense of self cohering the years, drawn nearer by the next version (or veiled in a new narrative presence). Vida’s The Lovers is, according to a reviewer, not only Vida’s third novel, but her third exploration of grief. Duras might be understood, too, as having lived an entwinement of love and grief (in the lack of true love that was burned into her discovery of sensuality).

I know grief. But I’m writing for love before the grief; or for life afterward. Love without the grief is not about a sense of life without loss. But what else ultimately heals grief? Not necessarily love of some one new person (though, what could be more elating?); rather love of whatever: the days, the gardening, the trails, the trees.

I’m confident that those whom we survive would have wanted us to let the love prevail over the loss as we move on, in light of them. I trust, Vendela, that such a sense is part of what you found: an origin ever drawing you on.

“You do not know who I am”

So says Emma Recchi (embodied by Tilda Swinton) to her husband at one great plot point of “I Am Love,” which I saw last night.

According to a reviewer: The Italian Director/Writer Luca Guadagnino “calls food ‘a tool to express the utter giving that a lover can display to the other without words.’” At an earlier great plot point, Emma dines on glazed prawns (atop ratatouille with sweet and sour sauce)—a sparse-covered plate looking like prototypical California cuisine, a matter of delicate flavors and textures to be savored, not quantity to fill (but it’s genuinely Italian, evidently: inspired by a well-known Milan chef, advisor to the film). She convincingly conveys an erotic experience of the flavors (seriously, not comical; it’s revelatory for her character Emma) “Ms. Swinton herself calls the moment ‘prawn-ography.’”

Biologists say that olfactory sense is the first mode of intelligence to evolve. Indeed, it’s arguably as primordial as life gets, as cellular “communication” or chemical signaling is, in a sense, smell between cells. Biosemiosis is chemical signalling, and smell is literally a mental translation of chemical sensation intrinsic to cellular bonding.

The point’s not academic. Consider that one’s Self expresses a whole-brain-mindedness (more than a mentality, which a mind contains)—mindality I like to say: Self is The All of “I” flowing in doing whatever, the doing. Savoring another may touch one’s emotional heart in a literal way, thereby seeming to express something eternal, as if tastes weren’t already colored, if not orchestrated, by confabulations of desiring mind: that “you” be so savorable forever.

The modes of Self that we may distinguish as adults emerge from the modes of mindality made possible by the brain growing in prenatal ontogeny. The brain stem generates olfactory sense early on (primal Self), and other senses form later (other capacities of oneSelf), lastly the prefontal cortext that makes a refined palate possible or complex appreciability of each other. Smell and flavors touch the emotional heart of mind, of Self, giving such value to that part of The Sensuous, a primal aspect of our being, as if the savored thing or lover is belongs to oneSelf intrinsically (or one belongs with the other) because s/he is primally appealing—which may be valid beyond the the primal appeal.

But True Love’s savorability, another’s appeal to and of mindally-refined “palate,” is a highly derived phenomenonology of Self conception, though potentially engulfing all of me showing in the Flow of my going on, into the appeal of all the world through another.

So, the heart’s drawn into all its flavors of savoring, perceiving, understanding, comprehending, enjoying—exuberance, ecstasis, awe—according all that may be with my own potential for appreciation, thus to be savored, my full concert, my expansive complement of mental flavors embodied, being delicately or passionately taken into or taking, giving, being given over to, or giving in.

At first, little does Emma know that she’s implicitly longing for an ecstatic synergy of Self in nature (and as a Russian), sensibility, sensuousness, and rapture for/with another who appreciates her for herSelf, rather than class symbolism (a treasure of the industrial collector). The appeal of such synergy is primordial—a thought expressed in a final and lingering shot in the film (after the titles have begun, then fade to show one more scene, barely discernible in its literal darkness)—call it the eerie origin of our folktale of The Garden.

Friday, June 25, 2010

being here now, there then

More quiet tonight in that high field, wind through the surrounding forest of eucalyptuses, soothing (if you need soothing), serene.

Walking back, a car with loud music passes: rhythm of voice and sound texture a hybrid of reggae and hiphop. What intensely-practiced performance-spontaneity pop music is.

Flow of play in true spontaneity—unwitting self expression (shameless incrimination)—bricolagic, impromptu, ad hoc truth of presence doesn’t resort to such terms as “unwitting self expression” or bricolagic et ceterationalites.

So, you wondered how our play could have involved mine truly, since I write like this: no tweety texting blogicality, rather as if everything is proem or serious conceptuality.

I loved you being there, however—play just flowing along happens so easily.

I choose to write deliberately. I act deliberately when that’s called for—apt.

But I’d rather play. Don’t we all feel that way.

Unfocused going with the flow is complemented by focused acting, “deep writing” (a coach specializing in creative efficacy calls it)—the Literary may be that.

The tissue of our being, cohering time, is, among other “things,” cordiality, graciousness, constancy, openness, rapport, empathy, cheerfulness, playfulness, being exactly who one seems to be; and appearance is reality.

I feel loving friendship is born in a sense of this and knows how to stay so.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

welcome, summer

I did not start the day intending to write a long letter that I didn’t send. But the presumption early on that I’d send a short email flowered into—what the hell—a long email that would surely be sent soon (actual intent to send draws it all on). I was indeed enjoying myself. Paragraphs became pages.

But it wasn’t sent; and won’t be. Yet, I got great material from the endeavor!—as if the agency of one’s dreaming prevails on the day’s freedom.

I can stand back from the result and recognize a character compelled to create significances in a landscape (basically implying the importance of the character to the landscape?)—the integrity of giving importance, the doing of that.

So, I get a study in the potential of a character to opt for meaningfulness over others’ pretenses of meaninglessness, at least exercising our character’s professed ease of finding meaning everywhere.

A tiny part of what he said:
All of life’s a kind of theater—tragi-comic at best, maybe ultimately ironic.... It’s not that life should be otherwise, such that we lament that we created the gods in the first place that would betray us. It’s great that we make the meaning that we sustain. That’s the essential message of the dramaturgical sense of life, and it’s wonderful. It’s the answer to the tragedy of so much life: that a new season is made. Out of tragedy (autumn, the fall) comes irony (winter), then comedy—and then romance! That was the Shakespearean cycle.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

days go by.2

Fermenting, gestating—synergistic liminalities—fission…. Flow again would be a good topic for writing to these luscious early days of summer so filling me with things to say. I want to revel in the pleasure.

I love the phrase “halcyon days,” though it’s not yet Walt Whitman’s sense of life waning.

Yet, I have your “gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover[ing] the evening sky,” maybe better than yours, maybe not; no matter.

Yes, “fulness, rest, suffuse the frame, like freshier, balmier air.”

But I have no calm of “turbulent passions” generally, though I’m glad to sleep easily and well—as the night portends “the…quietest, happiest days of all” to be ahead ”teeming”—to be sometimes “brooding,” yet to be, too, “blissful”!

Friday, 6:10 pm

Coincidently—unknown last night—there’s a review of recent books on Whitman in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, not that I’m going to dwell online with that (which I’ve not even read yet—but might next week).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

carrot love

In 2007, Michael Pollan, the culinary journalist, was being interviewed by the NYTimes when he blurted “But who knows what the hell else is going on deep in the soul of a carrot?” This became the epigram, on a page all its own, at the beginning of Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible: cognition, culture, narrative, by Lisa Zunshine, Johns Hopkins U.Press, 2008.

I could relate. Some time ago, I found a carrot with a violet soul—the color, it so happened, of my years-old “gary e. davisheader—a soul since staying near to heart.

Though I prefer the word ‘amethyst’ to ‘violet’, it’s a royal violet I like—still standing for ideas I love (in my name), now also influence made lasting in light of the finding.

Monday, June 07, 2010


The past few weeks have surely been flourishing, as most of what I intended to include in this last part of the conceptuality... project was routed out for more-detailed inhabiting.

The entire project (begun in January) has been a self expressive venture, but my sense of “flourishing” anticipates dwelling with others’ work on feeling (sense of self), value, and literary sensibilities. So, I’m committed to the conceptual character of my trOpical excursions.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

work finely made may be never finally done

version 1

Thanks to this medium, there is, when needed, rebirth. Elations of solitude bearing sketches among sketches, merged into a singular piece, pieces among pieces composing a clear horizon can inspire distant transforms returning to have been destined for somewhere else.

It was only literary psychology, aspects of a trOpical mind.

No, It was a sense of our Conversation of Humanity. It was a Conceptuality of progressive flourishing. It was a singular expression of scientific humanity, an Apology for philosophical life, a new comprehension of Literature, an anticipation of post-humanity.

It was a theory of feeling, elated embodiment, an odysseyic letter.

It was a journal of days going by: What great event, what original emergence may there be?

It was an art of living, a theory of happiness, a theory of value. It was The Good of a scenic mind in an ethical life no less in love with transgression.

It was a history of evolving artfulness, a self-begetting Earthling facing some cosmos.