Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That Albatross Has Really Big Wings
I’ve spent the past few weeks designing a personal curriculum for my next couple months here in the dregs of Hood's Canal. I’m hoping that with a teapot in hand and Che Guevara finger puppet (courtesy of the Wengers) on my finger I will be able to begin to “render visible” in the words of Paul Klee the workings of a practical philosophy. This is an ambitious provocation as it will require thought experiments, interventions, reflections and certainly concentration which in Senator Stevens' tubular world of libraries and high-speed Internet seems less and less possible. I’m going to have to read with an agitated, underlining and commenting pencil the works of Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin, Fredric Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, not to mention their practitioners Michel Taussig, Liu Xin, Rebecca Solnit. As digressions into the material poetic world I’ve mapped out readings of John Muir, Terry Tempest Williams, Pico Iyer, Mike Davis, and online lectures with David Harvey. The point here, again Paul Klee, is not to “undertake analyses of works because we want to copy them or because we suspect them.” But rather, “we investigate the methods by which another has created his work, in order to set ourselves in motion.” (Notebooks, V. 1: The Thinking Eye p. 99 in The Essential Foucault, vii)
Today I made my first run through the Tahuya State Forest on the hill behind our retirement community. The place is fantastic, all silver trees and mossy branches with tiny muddy tracks right through them in disorienting quiet. It will be the perfect place to spend a week among the stones when May comes with the warm dry weather. Until then I’ll be here at my fake oak table listening to music from the Folk Alley in Kent, Ohio, breathing in my Dragon Ball Jasmine tea and trying to “stop regarding as superfluous something so essential in human life and human relations as thought.” (Michel Foucault from “It it really important to think?” in Politics, Philosophy, Culture, p. 155)
I’ll make vegetarian food "as good as Berkeley" for Jennifer every evening and steam up the car with her at the drive-in on the weekends, but otherwise I plan to be here watching the water and the thousand dancing birds or in the silent pines, thinking and running. Hopefully writing this down will give me some will to power, some “set (myself) in motion.”


Anonymous jon said...

Given your location on the Pacific Northwest, you might want to add Annie Dillard to that list, if you haven't read her already. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the classic, but I'm partial to Holy the Firm, For the Time Being, and Living Like Weasels (an essay printed in Teaching a Stone to Talk).

Here's to thought.

4:37 AM  
Blogger darren-jenn said...

thanks for the great suggestion jon, I might take a look at her book of literary criticism and For the Time Being. My notebooks are already full of quotes and exclamation marks from Teaching a Stone to Talk and Holy the Firm.

Terry Tempest Williams writes in much the same way, and she has a new book I haven't read yet.

7:19 AM  
Blogger "Tati-Pagès-Soulbizarre" said...

salutacions anticapitalistes!

8:51 AM  
Blogger matt said...

who made the portrait of Jen? I'll be happy if I read half of your itinerary by the time I die. you're starting to sound like a runner - and you look like you're aging, which is nice in a way, to know that you are not eternal. I've been reading the works of Maggie "two week illnesses throughout your winter" and "the sleep you though you needed" as well as the works of Olivia "love me till I die" and "a life of expectation:the neurosis of want" - good stuff!

5:52 PM  

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