Friday, July 22, 2005

dark wonder

dark wonder
Originally uploaded by k-girl.
fall down in pain; look up in wonder

Thursday, July 21, 2005


There is, sometimes, a dizzying feeling that I get. It comes when I begin to feel layers of past conventions being stripped away from me.

I'm beginning to recognise the thing that comes to do it: it is floating and insistent, like an ocean tide at midnight.

It comes.

I am surrounded by a sudden surge that seems ... ancient. It knows more than I do, and I am lifted by it until my feet can’t touch the floor.

And then the tugging starts.

It pulls on a thread that I’ve woven all through the thoughts and beliefs that hold me all together. It pulls on a thread that I thought held all the meaning in the world together.

You don’t need this, it whispers, with lips that brush the lobe of my ear. This pulls the world into patterns that distort what’s really there.

‘But I will fall apart,’ I say. ‘I can’t let it go.’

What do you want more? It asks. To be held by a net of meaning or to be let loose and, perhaps, understand?

I feel that I am being looked upon by eyes that ask me if I am sure.

And I concede with my breath held and with eyes that beg for it to be trustworthy.

And then what I once took for truth is cast upon the wind.

And I fall.

And remember, all over again, how close fear is to freedom.

The art of flying

Originally uploaded by eyecatcher.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

a quest for an undeceived voice
"You see why I read Vicino with such eagerness. His voice is wry and undeceived, but he has hope. He loves the company of other people."
from The Society of Others by William Nicholson.

Here's something I hope: that if you know me, you know why I liked reading those lines.

I like the notion that words ... well, more than words ... ideas ... can be consumed with eagerness.

I'm drawn to the concept ... more than that ... the attainment ... of a 'wry and undeceived voice' ... although it sometimes seems that untangling yourself from all the gentle systems of deception in life also involves finding yourself falling out of their safety nets. (I went and looked up 'deceive' and found out that it has roots in a Latin word that, apparently, contained concepts of ensaring, so the 'net' connection is possibly present in the word itself).

Anyway, I sometimes start to wonder whether hope itself isn't just a convenient tangle of deceptions, carefully designed to sustain me ... part of the complicated set of tricks played on all of us by our mental faculties, because, for some reason, these sets of chemicals we call 'ourselves' are keen on perpetuating their combined existence in what we call 'life'. (I have been well trained in thoughts like this by a lovable, local cynic).

Interestingly, 'hope' is, in fact, the name for a 'functional programming language' designed by R. M. Burstall, D. B. MacQueen and D. T. Sanella at the University of Edinburgh in 1978. Apparently you can buy a book about it. It's called 'Functional Programming with Hope.' Anyway. Its existence kind of seems like an uncanny metaphor for this line of reasoning ... 'hope' as a system of programmed thoughts that help us to function.

So I remember smiling to myself when I read Nicholson's lines and realised that there was at least one person who thought that a wry lack of deception and some kind of hope were possible, simultaneously: that maybe we can fall out of the net and land in hope.

And I enjoy the company of other people, so I liked that part, too.
Basically, I read those few lines, and, in them, I guess I recognised ... well ... not so much 'myself' as 'an image of how I want to be seen'. So I decided to use part of it for my blog title.

But, as you'll probably notice, I changed it.

I changed it because I started thinking about the impossibility of an undeceived voice. For one thing, to be a 'voice' at all, it has to use language, which is full of all kinds of limitations and deceptions ... so, in a way, an 'undeceived voice' is a tautology, and you're screwed from the outset. And language is just one of our systems of knowing and being in the world that relies on our abilities to select and modify information until it resembles something we can a) understand and b) don't have to totally remodel ourselves in order to absorb. How can we know we're not simply inventing system upon system of deception for our own living convenience?

So saying that I'm on a quest for an 'undeceived voice' is maybe just another way of saying that I'm on a quest for 'truth'.

Saying that I write with a 'deceived voice' is perhaps another way of acknowledging that the process is complicated ... and, maybe, impossible.

Do you know these lines?

Oh, the distance is not do-able in these bodies of clay, my brother.
Oh, the distance makes me uncomfortable ... guess it's natural to feel this way, oh ...
Are we locked into these bodies?
Are we anything at all?
Let's hold out for something sweeter.
Spread your wings and fly ...
Live 'The Distance'

So here's something else I hope: that, if you know me, you know I'm a fan of impossible journeys. Because maybe the impossibilities are within us. But maybe there's a way to untangle the nets. Maybe there's something more than a body of clay. Maybe we fall out of it all and land in an 'undeceived voice with hope'.

And, if there is, I'd like to do it in the company of others.

So thanks for reading. Hope you feel like you saw something new. Hope you have something to say. Hope you come back.