Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Quiet as it's kept.


Dear Readers,

Follow me now, and it won't be easy, because the way things happen is not a straight line; the way things happen is meandering at the minimum and tangled at the max.  

A good pal of mine read a book a several months ago.  She read a book, like she often does, but this time it was harder to read, because she was worried about a pandemic, and fretful.  She made a plan and a schedule and a time to read each day, and she traced with extra difficulty the words, and pages, and books.  

And one of the books was this one:  The Book of Delights.

It's made of small pieces, this book.  

And my pal gave it to me, knowing I would like it.  I read slowly, or nearly slowly, because I wanted each piece to really last, like a a hard candy that I would not crunch down on.  

And I wanted to read you so many of the pieces.  Or pieces of the pieces, like this one:

Prose, though, I often write on the computer, piling sentences up quickly, cutting and pasting, deleting whole paragraphs without thinking anything of it.  for these essays, though, I decided that I'd write by hand, mostly with Le Pens, in smallish notebooks.  I can tell you a few things- first, the pen, the hand behind the pen, is a digressive beast.  It craves, in my experience anyway, the wending thought, and crafts/imagines/conjures a syntax to contain it.  On the other hand, the process of thinking that writing is, made disappearable by the delete button, makes a whole part of the experience of writing, which is the production of a good deal of florid detritus, flotsam and jetsam, all those words that mean what you have written and cannot disappear (the scratch-out its own archive), which is the weird path toward what you have come to know, which is called thinking, which is what writing is

For instance, the previous run-on sentence is a sentence fragment, and it happened in part because of the really nice time my body was having making this lavender Le Pen make the loop-de-looping we call language.  I mean writing.  The point:  I'd no sooner allow that fragment to sit there like a ripe zit if I was typing on a computer.  And consequently, some important aspect of my thinking, particularly the breathlessness, the accruing syntax, the not quite articulate pleasure that evades or could give a fuck about the computer's green corrective lines (how they injure us!) would be chiseled, likely with a semicolon and a proper predicate, into something correct, and, maybe, dull.  To be sure, it would have less of the actual magic writing is, which comes from our bodies, which we actually think with, quiet as it's kept.

Meanwhile, another pal heard Ross Gay on the radio (or something like the radio- a podcast, possibly) and she told me she was instituting a daily delight practice based on the book. She was looking, now, for delights everywhere.  

And finding them by the bucketful.

And, I saw a delight on Sunday that I want to tell y'all about:  Ambling down the highway towards the East, I saw the Three Mules!  You may recall me mentioning the Three Mules here on these pages some time ago.

And, now it is time for you to go out and read this book, or find a delight, or maybe you will even do both.