Thursday, February 10, 2011

E.Moon (2003) via K.Wilhelm (1976)

The Speed of Dark, winner of 2004 Nebula Award for Best Novel, this was the book that set the bar too high and resulted in my not being able to find anything worth writing about for months.

I project autism is a next stage in evolution for all of us (as a species) as we overstimulate ourselves into multimedia stupors, myself included, don't get me wrong. I'm one of the worst. Plus, I already much prefer my privacy to dealing with people and would be benefit from a happy "bouncing room" like the one made available at work for our gifted narrator and protagonist. Even the little spinning fans might serve a purpose in helping to quiet the churning thoughts under bombardment from the incessant stream of interruptions and the Sisyphean task of rolling that boulder of email, listservs, twits, and posts up the mountain day in, day out.

Total identification with the quiet voice of our author, who speaks volumes:

"If they aren't going to listen, why should I talk?
I know better than to say that out loud. Everything in my life that I value has been gained at the cost of not saying what I really think and saying what they want me to say."

The book (one our narrator is reading on neurology) answers questions other people have thought of. "I have thought of questions they have not answered. I always thought my questions were wrong questions because no one else asked them. Maybe no one thought of them. Maybe darkness got there first. Maybe I am the first light touching a gulf of ignorance."

"Maybe my questions matter."

"I do not know what the speed of thought is. I do not know if the speed of thought is the same for everyone. Is it thinking faster or thinking further that makes different thinking different."

Must check out more Moon. See Remnant Population, a finalist for the Hugo Award.

In Kate Wilhelm's Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang we see a post-apocalyptic world where cloning strips the ability for creative, independent thought.

There's something about the eyes they just don't have. Theirs only see outward, I think, and yours, and those in the other men in the picture, they can look both ways.

Perhaps the greatest threat from floods of media input isn't how much we take in, but whether or not we take time to process and apply what we learn, that we look inward to test what we see and hear against our own internal, pattern-forming awareness.

And this is what distinguishes therapeutic, or the active reading that I think of in terms of bibliotherapy from passive reading, in general. In finding the right book at the right time, the one that speaks to us in the quiet whisper that we must be still and quiet to hear, we come a little closer to finding ourselves able to be the protagonists in our own stories.

Time Must Have a Stop by Aldous Huxley

"Perhaps dirt is the necessary condition of beauty."
"Perhaps hygiene and art can never be bedfellows."
"Remorse is pride's ersatz for repentance, the ego's excuse for not accepting God's forgiveness. The condition of being forgiven is self-abandonment. The proud man prefers self-reproach, however painful--because the reproached self isn't abandoned; it remains intact."
And because knowledge, the genuine knowledge beyond mere theory and book learning, was always a transforming participation in that which was known, it could never be communicated--not even to one's own self when in a state of ignorance.The best one could hope to do by means of words was to remind oneself of what one once had intuitively understood and, in others, to evoke the wish and create some of the same conditions for a similar understanding."
"But whereas any particular manifestation of beauty--in art, in thought, in action, in nature--is always a relationship between existences not in themselves intrinsically beautiful, this was a perception of, an actual participation in, the paradox of Relationship as such, apart from anything related; the direct experience of pure interval and the principle of harmony, apart from the things which, in this or that concrete instance, are separated and harmonized. And somewhere, somehow, the participation and the experience persist even now as I write."

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

"Everything is biographical, Lucien Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross."
"We would study ourselves in this evolving portrait. It made us secretly competitive."
"We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell."
"...retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are songlike in their refrains and lines, making up a single monologue."
"...what is most untrustworthy about our natures and self-worth is how we differ in our own realities from the way we are seen by others."
"We relive stories and see ourselves only as the watcher, or listener, the drummer in the background keeping cadence."

Have you ever wanted to personally thank an artist or writer for giving you something so exquisite, for adding to your being by way of their wisdom tethered to life. Aloha nui loa, you kind, beautiful, brilliant man.