05 July 2017

But X more quotes from GV's numerical title


Above is a nearly blank image that I found on my computer. Its file was named "back cover of a religious tract." I trust this description.

Also, NOTE:

The last two words in this entry's title refer to a scene from my favorite film Wrong Cops (2013 Crime drama/Comedy) where Bob explains to Officer Duke that "there are no stars" in the "really big" production that he's been contracted to direct, on account of the fact that the project is "a numerical movie". To which Duke replies: "Wow..." (etc.)

Dear, dear diary:

Well we ripped up all our carpet. (Just the upstairs carpet; the downstairs will be another outrage.) It's easier than you'd think. You just find a corner where you can grip it, and you pull it, and then you keep pulling until it all comes up. Then there's a layer of padding underneath that must come up too. Then the hard part is getting all the metal fasteners out of the subfloor. Plus there are wooden tack-strips that must be pried up. The last step is finding a way to get all of this into the trash.

I realize that I don't like the July 4 holiday. Have I mentioned this before? I don't mean to repeat myself, but the holiday reanimates itself annually, so I can't help reacting to it. The problem is this: it's noisy and chaotic. There's fireworks and big bass from e-music and bagpipe marching bands. What are we celebrating, anyway? Independence from what? Some country or other? But this planet is one single teeming mass of corporations – INTERCONTINENTAL!! What we call countries are only bounds remaining on the palimpsest from the previous rigging.

Anyway, I feel that we're celebrating something that has lost most of its meaning. The ancient folk fought the former empire and won (?): Good; they freed themselves from its tyranny. Now we moderns wish to free ourselves from something more tyrannical. Yet we can't tell what that next obstacle IS. (Perhaps it's ourselves.) I mean, I could answer that "globalism" is the new shackle, but that's almost like saying...

Forget it.

The fireworks made it hard to enjoy the evening. We were trying to watch a movie – Synecdoche, New York (2008 Comedy/Tragedy), once again – and our attention was constantly interrupted by the sound of all of the faux-bombs bursting in air. Then after we finally got to sleep I was rudely awakened at 4 a.m., which is before the sun ever has risen, by a chirp noise that I could tell was coming from one of our smoke detectors – it was just the routine indication that its battery needs to be changed – yet I couldn't tell which room the chirp was coming from. I crept upstairs and back downstairs, yet it always seemed to be emanating from elsewhere. Finally I discovered a unit behind the back of a door in our walk-in closet. Game over. Now try to get back to sleep.

So after a couple of hours of straining to relax into dreamland, I was awakened (yes, awakened while already awake) by the sound – SUPER LOUD – of my cellphone's company's jingle. I normally do not keep my cellphone by my side while slumbering, but, because we tore up the carpet in the empyrean, I brought all the furniture and fixings downstairs into the inferno where I sleep; and my cellphone was amidst the debris, and my cellphone was low on batteries, and when my cellphone runs low on batteries it emits a warning noise, which by default is the sound of my cellphone's company's jingle, thus it behooved me to rise and seek out and fetch its charger. Now the charger cord for my cellphone is of course never where I think I left it. So I had to travel back into my memory of the past day's events and re-envision the crime of translocating our living room's ephemera. Then it struck me that the cord is probably sitting next to the blue-grey headphones on the bookshelf; so I went to look and there it was; so I plugged in my phone, and my phone screamed the jingle again to assure me that it's charging; then I opened my laptop computer and began typing this here blog entry, because I knew that I'd never get back to sleep, and typing a blog entry is what a man does when a man lacks repose.

So don't expect this entry to be a good one. It is being composed under extreme duress.

Why is it so hard to find copies of Gore Vidal's books in southeastern Minnesota? I finished reading the one called 1876. And the next novel in the series is called Empire. I just ordered THAT via interlibrary loan, since they don't carry the book in our local system. So it'll take a week or two to get here.

In the meantime, I'll read a collection of "notes, articles, fragments of letters and talks to students, bearing on the concept and technique of picture making, the study of art generally, and on appreciation" (I'm quoting directly from its cover page), compiled by Margery Ryerson from the work of Robert Henri and titled THE ART SPIRIT. I sought it out because, in a recent biographical documentary film that I watched, which is named after the book in question – David Lynch: The Art Life (2016) – Lynch himself refers to this text as being a happy influence on his development.

But I only just barely started on that text, so I can't comment on it right now; so stop pestering me to offer an official statement about it. The only thing I am willing to do is share a few passages from Vidal's 1876, because I must return my (inter)library copy too soon...

First, a single sentence: the last from section Twelve.

I am so nervous that I sleep soundly, dream not at all, and enjoy perfect health, or its appearance.

This remark is from the journal of (the fictional character) Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler; its setting is Schuyler's aghast witnessing of the theft of the presidential election. I could give more background, but I won't; because I like how this and the following passages appear when naked of context.

These last two passages are both from the 3rd chapter of 1876's final section (Fifteen). Is the fact of their proximity coincidental? This one's found on page 357:

I have not a curious nature; do not read other people's letters; do not eavesdrop. Since I can usually imagine with the greatest ease the worst, I need not know it. In fact, I avoid confidences and hate all secrets. I assume that there are things even in the lives of those one loves that are dark, and I for one would rather not have them brought to light.

I salute that. I relate completely. I call this wise. Just think about how much trouble would be avoided if we all...

Never mind my reflections. Let me give a last quote from the very next page (358) and I'll leave myself to face all quotidian horrors.

Just one thought, though, before unveiling my find: I like to imagine that Vidal composed this passage NOT for Schuyler's journal BUT RATHER for this here weblog (the public-private diary of Bryan Ray). What I mean is that I wish sincerely, jealously that I myself had struck such meditative gold.

My pen delays . . . Stops. Why write any of this? Why make a record? Answer: habit. To turn life to words is to make life yours to do with as you please, instead of the other way round. Words translate and transmute raw life, make bearable the unbearable. So at the end, as in the beginning, there is only The Word.


I copy the following only because I fear that the future, having lost all its humans, might need help grasping that last quote's reference to the very first verse of St. John's gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Now also, since I plagiarized John's gospel VERY RESPECTFULLY in order to create them, I must share the first few paragraphs from the third section of my own book The Permanent Modes (available here and there), while I wave sayonara:

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