Sunday Notes

This week I wrote into my current notebook something that Samuel Beckett is purported to have said in a 1961 interview with Tom Driver: “To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.” Beckett, Joyce, Woolf, each exemplified the search for a form that gestures to a reality that exists beyonds the limits of language. Are there contemporary writers that have an interest in questioning and transcending these boundaries?

Where is the fiction with something serious to say, that reveals what cannot be spoken, in a world of omnipresent data and the incessant chattering of ill-informed charlatans? I find assurance in some of the happy melancholy of Jon Fosse, Peter Handke, Gabriel Josipovici, Friederike Mayröcker, and Gerald Murnane, but I cannot help but think that finding new forms to accommodate the mess may no longer be taking place in books.

I’ve been immersed in Beckett, directly and through Andy Wimbush’s Still: Samuel Beckett’s Quietism. At these times I wonder why I stray too far away from my old chestnuts. I could happily spend the time I have available with my tutelary spirits, but for the old rogue of curiosity.

More time than worthwhile was spent reading multiple news sources to comprehend the situation in Ukraine. It serves merely to emphasise the death of investigative reporting and intelligent analysis. I read, with bored compulsion, half of John Calder’s The Garden of Eros, about the goings-on in the post-war Paris literary scene.

In the post this week: Wittgenstein’s Secret Diaries: Semiotic Writing in Cryptography by Dinda L. Gorlée, preparation perhaps for the publication of the first translation into English of Wittgenstein’s Private Notebooks: 1914-1916 later in the year.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Notes

  1. “The old writer couldn’t write anymore because he’d reached the end of words and the end of what could be done with words. And then… ” WSB.
    Last year, with Frank Garrett, I joined in his monthly Nietzsche reading and discussion group. More and more I felt that words or philosophy or ideology were totally inadequate when looking for, or finding that space. Sometimes in poetry it’s there. Jan Zwicky is pretty good. Particularly Lyric Philosophy and her poetry. And sometimes in haiku.
    It’s been in silent movement, particularly in Nature, that I can find a form for myself that’s adequate to it. And that rarely.
    I’m enjoying your Sunday posts a lot.

    • Thanks, Des. I’m pleased that you are enjoying these posts.

      Poetry: yes sometimes, most of what passes for poetry is so awful, but Zwicky is good. Philosophy these days just writes and reads itself.

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