Friday, November 30, 2007

blind contours

These blog writings began as things that could not be included in my dissertation. i suppose at some point, my feelings about the dissertation began to change. i think at this time, the content of what was included here also changed. though the dissertation is hopefully changing in positive ways, what is here is not. and that is largely because there is very little here. this is very sad to me. at the same time, the fact that there is not very much here seems to be one of the phenomena that i am trying to explain in my dissertation. i am writing about how poetry is able to theorize about political activity. one of the outcomes of this is that i am able to see and to say how poetry can engage in political action. in the first chapter, which deals with the Bertolt Brecht, i suppose i am trying to see how poetry sees its removal from the realm of politics, and how Brecht theorizes its return. one of the consequences of this removal from politics is the loss of external reality. by external reality, i mean things that are registered as belonging to the world--the "many-sided world," according to Brecht. i feel like not being able to write things in this blog is related to the loss of external reality, of my external reality. i think this relationship--that is, to external reality--is always very tenuous anyways. i think it takes a lot to maintain it, but the "work" of its activity is not always that clear. in fact, i think the work is downright murky; it is dark.

One of the things that has made the dissertation writing go better is that i am slowly realizing how slowly i need to proceed in order to present an intelligible argument. sometimes i am surprised at how "beyond me" this has seemed. i have begun to think that this process is somewhat like drawing blind contours. i have held onto this practice for quite some time, since high school, i think. the task is to move your pen as slowly as your eyes trace the object you are drawing, not looking at your paper until you have finished tracing the whole object. what results is, of course, never realistic, but it is rare that the object that is traced is not at all intelligible on the paper. i have never grasped the idea, exactly, that in writing, my pen might have to move as slowly. the value of the patience of sticking with it blindly to end goes without need to say more. so perhaps that is something

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