truth be told

Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room. — David Sedaris (2018)

Ocean-chart

  He had brought a large map representing the sea, Without the least vestige of land: And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be A map they could all understand. … A perfect and absolute blank!   Lewis Carroll The Hunting of the Snark (1876)  

Intimacy is not a quality in itself

I have just read a poorly written book about abuse and strained family relations. A novel which, to my surprise, is winning a lot of praise and awards here in Norway these days. A kind of book that I suspect get most of its attention for what it possibly reveals about public figures (even if…

Edouard Louis

I have yet to read any of Edouard Louis’ books, but I still found this interview: Fact or fiction: autobiographical novels with Édouard Louis – books podcast very interesting & thought provoking. I’ve rarely heard any contemporary writer – or thinker – reflect in a clearer and more precise language on the relationship between identity and…

Notes on Melancholy, part 4

In my first note on melancholy I quoted the following question raised by Jacky Bowring, she asked: How can things that are sorrowful be beautiful? Louise Glück’s First Snow is not a theoretical answer, but a wonderful demonstration of something deeply sorrowful becoming almost unbearably beautiful – First Snow  by Louise Glück  Like a child, the earth’s going to…

More or less profound feelings

or: who am I to talk about Anxiety …? further notes on anxiety and fear Notes based on Sianne Ngai’s Ugly Feelings From chapter 5. Anxiety Anxiety has gradually replaced melancholia as the intellectual’s signature sensibility, indeed becoming the distinctive “feeling-tone” of intellectual inquiry itself.  Moreover, anxiety has a history of being gendered, not least through the influence of psychoanalysis, where the centrality of…

A note to Harold:

Harold asks: Do you read that as Beckett saying that he is writing not from “nothingness” in an existential sense but from “a place without intellect or the observation that could declare something to be ‘nothing’ or ‘something’”? That latter seems likely. I’m not sure if I quite understand your question (and this uncertainty of…

Maelstrom

I ended my last post by claiming that the nothingness of anxiety echoes the nothingness at the center of Beckett’s writing – but (how) can nothing function as a source, as the origin of creative production? Beckett offers two different ‘nothings’ as interpretative keys to his writing: If I were in the unenviable position of having to study…

Better to be afraid of something than of nothing …

Further musings on Edmund de Waal’s exhibition During the Night at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Edmund de Waal,  Albrecht Dürer, Samuel Beckett & the concept of Angst A man (Albrecht Dürer) awakes from a nightmare in the depths of the night. He writes down his fears and illustrates them with a painting. 500 years later, another man (Edmund de Waal) is inspired…