31 May 2017

Another blog post

(I wasn't trying to be smart-alecky by positioning the image of the word below on its side: that's actually how it uploaded – it is a mistake, and I lacked the heart to fix it – I beg your forgiveness.)

Dear diary,

We painted our walls, finally. It took us two full days. (The actual painting, that is — the prep­aration took a month.) We thought that it would be a thankless task, and it was. The walls were white previously, and now they're white again; only they're fresh, clear of scuffs. The wall in the kitchen had greasy splotches all over it, left by the former inhabitants, who were trying to run a restaurant out of this residence: all of that is concealed now, like a pure coat of snowfall over a junkyard.

A sinless existence. What a bore.

My first duty will be to populate the walls with artwork. We have accumulated many original pieces from friends and students over the years, and I'd like to display those first. Then I will look through the artbooks that I own, and cut out pages and put them up. I remember reading that Andy Warhol would stick pictures to his walls simply by using transparent tape. Why not! I hope to display a generous amount of nudes.

The conversation that I had with my boss and his son last weekend frustrated me in a couple of ways: The Only Begotten continually disparaged creations by calling them weird, as if it were a bad word; also he giggled and dismissed the concept of the nude. I'll chalk this attitude up to immaturity; but let me state for the record that I myself am WHOLLY on the side of the nude. Erotica, even pornography: I see these things as sublime subjects (potentially) and perfect realms, although I agree that much that populates them at present is very low. But that's a reflection of the low time that we're coming out of. In conclusion, I aim to put some nudes on my walls.

Also I got a call from my brother-in-law, and he claimed that his sole reason for contacting me was that he wanted to know my opinion on the new Twin Peaks. So I told him what I thought, while privately wondering why he hadn't read my last blog post (for it contains these exact opinions). Everyone should pay attention to my blog posts; otherwise, if I sense that I'm being ignored, I'll start to say things that I don't mean, just to get a reaction. I'll become a shock-artist, whose entire goal will be to...

No, I won't do that. I hate shock art. I believe in bringing out the exuberance in what is commonplace, and making familiar what is alien. I think I learned this from Harold Bloom – here's a quote from his book The Western Canon:

Walter Pater defined Romanticism as adding strangeness to beauty, but I think he characterized all canonical writing rather than the Romantics as such. The cycle of achievement goes from The Divine Comedy to Endgame, from strangeness to strangeness. When you read a canonical work for a first time you encounter a stranger, an uncanny startlement rather than a fulfillment of expectations. Read freshly, all that The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Faust Part Two, Hadji Murad, Peer Gynt, Ulysses, and Canto general have in common is their uncanniness, their ability to make you feel strange at home.

Just seeing all those titles makes me want to read them again right this moment. I wish that my mind could take in millions of books at once. And yet I wonder: If that were the case, would I be satisfied? I think that if I owned all the worlds, I'd only yearn to own more.

That's why I'm fortunate to live in an era where there are drape rods lying in packages on the floor which need to be installed upon the walls. And the walls are freshly painted. So I am in need of drape-rod installation. And I'll get to do that today. The experience will offer a type of satisfaction that can be got no other way. Hence the adjective "lucky" in the exclamation: Bryan Ray is a lucky duck.

Other people may have said similar things, but I have the memory of the poet James Merrill writing somewhere in his works the wise advice: Desire desire. You can't tell me that humankind is not in the business of bettering its bibles.

Do you have time for a quick survey? How can I make this blog more appealing to you? Would you prefer that it please ME more? ('Cause there aint nobody else here.) Or should I let my writing grow even more shabby, so as to make the reader feel superior? Done. Should I include with every posting a fresh fish? Done. How about some money and a promise that your treasures will increase? Done and done. As Jesus always sez: It is finished.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

(I end with a few choice words from Psalm 22.)

. . . Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

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