people who stand alone + burn

‘There’s an image system at work in the world. To behave in accordance with these images bored me, to deviate from them filled me with anxiety. We wait for an experience large or brutal enough to break it open completely. I had to break it.’

NW (2016; film naar het boek van Zadie Smith)

‘I had two longings and one was fighting the other. I wanted to be loved and I wanted to be always alone.’

 Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

‘There was something wrong with her. She did not know what it was but there was something wrong with her. A hunger, a restlessness. An incomplete knowledge of herself. The sense of something further away, beyond her reach.’

⤷ Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘Dear Antigone,
I take it as the task of the translator to forbid that you should ever lose your screams.’

⤷ The task of the Translator of Antigone, Anne Carson

‘You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.

Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?’

⤷ The Glass Essay, Anne Carson

‘Mad people = people who stand alone + burn. I’m attracted to them because they give me permission to do the same.’

⤷ As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh, Susan Sontag

‘Most everything I do seems to have as much to do with intuition as with reason. . . . The kind of thinking that makes a distinction between thought and feeling is just one of those forms of demagogy that causes lots of trouble for people by making them suspicious of things that they shouldn’t be suspicious or complacent of.

For people to understand themselves in this way seems to be very destructive, and also very culpabilizing. These stereotypes of thought versus feeling, heart versus head, male versus female were invented at a time when people were convinced that the world was going in a certain direction — that is, toward technocracy, rationalization, science, and so on — but they were all invented as a defense against Romantic values.’

⤷ Susan Sontag: the complete Rolling Stone interview

candor/ anne carson

Could 1

If you are not the free person you want to be, you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to lie unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name.

Uit ‘Candor’, Float; Anne Carson.

variations on the right to remain silent/ clichés

Sinds de verkiezing van Trump denk ik veel na over identiteit, en de laatste dagen in het bijzonder over de invloed van stereotypes/ clichés op identiteit. Vooral het idee dat we een conclusies kunnen trekken over identiteit naar aanleiding van wat we (hebben ge)zien, of niet gezegd kunnen krijgen, steekt me. En het ongeloof en wantrouwen ten opzichte van onbegrijpelijke taal (poëzie/ zie hieronder). Toevallig vind ik in het essay ‘Variations on the right to remain silent’ van Anne Carson (opgenomen in haar nieuwste publicatie Float) iets dat me verder helpt.

Carson schrijft in het essay o.a. over Jeanne D'Arcs proces, over de wens van haar berechters om duidelijkheid te krijgen over de herkomst van de stemmen die ze hoorde, over Jeanne's weigering in clichés te vervallen:

Joan [of Arc] despised the line of inquiry and blocked it as long as she could. It seems that, for her, the voices had no story. They were an experienced fact so large and real it had solidified in her as a sort of sensed abstraction—what Virginia Woolf once called "that very jar on the nerves before it has been made anything." Joan wanted to convey the jar on the nerves without translating it into theological cliché. It is her rage against cliché that draws me to her. A genius is in her rage. We all feel this rage at some level, at some time. The genius answer to it is catastrophe.

I say catastrophe is an answer because I believe cliché is a question. We resort to cliché because it's easier than trying to make up something new. Implicit in it is the question, Don't we already know what we think about this? Don't we have a formula we use for this?

Jeanne D'Arc blijft, vooral in het begin van haar proces, dingen zeggen die niet herleid kunnen worden:

And one day when the judges were pressing for her to define the voices as singular or plural, she most wonderfully said (as a sort of summary of the problem): 

The light comes in the name of the voice.

“The light comes in the name of the voice” is a sentence that stops itself. Its components are simple yet it stays foreign, we cannot own it.



ada limón adrienne rich alejandro zambra aleksandar hemon ali smith alice notley alice oswald andré aciman andrea dworkin andrea wulf anna burns anne boyer anne brontë anne carson anne truitt anne vegter annie dillard antjie krog audre lorde ben lerner bhanu kapil carry van bruggen catherine lacey cees nooteboom charlotte brontë charlotte salomon chimamanda ngozi adichie chris kraus christa wolf claire messud claire vaye watkins clarice lispector deborah levy durga chew-bose elif batuman elizabeth strout emily brontë erwin mortier ester naomi perquin etty hillesum f. scott fitzgerald feminisme fernando pessoa han kang helen macdonald henri bergson hermione lee herta müller jan zwicky janet malcolm jean rhys jeanette winterson jenny offill jessa crispin joan didion joke j. hermsen josefine klougart kate zambreno katherine mansfield kathleen jamie katja petrowskaja krista tippett layli long soldier leonora carrington leslie jamison louise glück maggie nelson marcel proust maría gainza marie darrieussecq marie howe marja pruis mary oliver mary ruefle olivia laing patricia de martelaere paul celan paula modersohn-becker piet oudolf poëzie rachel cusk rainer maria rilke rebecca solnit robert macfarlane robert walser robin wall kimmerer sara ahmed sara maitland siri hustvedt stefan zweig sue lloyd-roberts susan sontag svetlana alexijevitsj sylvia plath ta-nehisi coates teju cole terry tempest williams tjitske jansen tomas tranströmer valeria luiselli virginia woolf vita sackville-west w.g. sebald yiyun li zadie smith