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Conundrum - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Conundrum
If you write something that closely matches the stream of your consciousness, right down to the temperature of the water, knowing that it will come off as excessively precious, exaggerated for effect, but also knowing that to write something more "real" would be to indulge in illusions, does that mean that you are being true to yourself?
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Comments
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: August 21st, 2005 03:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well maybe if you're only ever partly touching truth the other part can hardly help going with favored indulgences. Indulging in conundrums, for instance, in their ironies? But then perhaps I'm one for almost precious love of quandries. And we all know there is no hope in sight about my mental health.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
No hope in sight?!!
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: August 21st, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh, there's much in sight. So much. It's just I like my mad moments as well, you know?
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 21st, 2005 07:40 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Conundrum

To the currently dominant version or permutation of yourself, at the very least.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 11:15 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Conundrum

But what if that currently dominant version or permutation is a tyrant that cries out for a coup d'état?
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 21st, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Conundrum

Hm. I think most versions of the self (or of myself, at least) are somewhat tyrannical. They all have their brief reigns, and then are overthrown in their turn--often remnants of them will survive and be integrated into the selves that follow them; other times, they go into exile only to return triumphantly at a later date. Few are squelched forever.

Bleah. Sunday is the wrong day for this sort extended metaphor. --Emily
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Conundrum

There's never a wrong day for a good conceit! I like your formulation quite a bit. It's nice "micro-level" match for Raymond Williams's distinction between dominant, residual, and emergent formations. I know that suppressed selves, ones ostensibly consigned to the dustbin of personal history, have a way of resurfacing during times of stress.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: August 21st, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Conundrum

When my undergrads were reading the metaphysical poets, some kept trying to read for a "conceit" as, well, conceit. Sometimes it wasn't such a bad idea. Poets are dangerous :)
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: August 21st, 2005 11:52 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
does that mean that you are being true to yourself?

I would think that would depend on your motivation for writing it in the first place. I can assume from "it will come off as" that you are not talking about something written solely *for* yourself (i.e., as an exercise in private self-examination in a paper journal or something) and, in my opinion, the motivations for sharing something is often times much more telling than the method used to present it. At least as far as "being true to self" goes.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agree. But in the case of the mundane recounting of idiosyncracies, the how of the telling -- "discourse" -- is hard to separate from the what of the telling -- "story." For my part, I'm always struggling with the sense that readers will regard what comes most naturally to me -- long, self-involved sentences that test the patience of their audience -- as artificial and what comes artificially -- short, sweet, and "real" confessions -- as natural. It took me years to learn how to communicate in simple sentences and it still doesn't come easy. Seriously.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: August 21st, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
long, self-involved sentences that test the patience of their audience


:) These are my forte!!

And yes, now with that explanation, I have a better sense of what you are asking. I run into much the same problem (not necessarily on my LJ because what I am moved to express on it -- it's function for me -- doesn't lend itself so much to that kind of thinking/writing) occassionally with people I write my most 'heart felt' or, for that matter, 'self-examinatory', stuff to. Once I had someone say, in response to an email that was *completely* stream of consciousness, in that it was every word in my head coming out exactly as it was in my head with no 'premeditated thought', "well, that was certainly a dramatic email." My response was: "::blinkblink:: dramatic?!?! That wasn't dramatic. That was just the thoughts in my head. *Dramatic* would have been half as many words, with exact punctuation, and more stylized *effect*."

Or so it goes in my world.

I think, in terms of judging your effect on your 'audience', that it can't really be done. People truly do think in such different methods. And I rather suspect that, in my case, the long self-involved sentences, with many commas (and let us not forget the tangetial parentheticals!) come across as 'dramatic' (or 'artificial') because the people I am saying to wouldn't think a sentence like that in a million years. In their heads/methods all those extra words *must* be "added".

and it still doesn't come easy.


:) This is why I still, almost completely, prefer written communcation to verbal. It seems much easier to 'get away with' such sentences in writing. Because I am prone to the same sort of long sort of rambling speech "in person" and god knows it's sometimes nearly impossible for people to follow verbally.

So it goes.

But, as a bottom line answer, I think that what comes most 'naturally' to you (as in the way you would say it if you were saying it *only* for yourself) is the most "true to you".
From: e4q Date: August 21st, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
thing is. this is something that i have tended to think. somehow i got into the short is best thing. lots of times it is useful, good, adequate, fit for purpose. funnily enough i was at an academic conference and this bloke was also a literary writer, jonathan kemp. he talked about the final sentence in ulessys which was v long, and about how it had a different relationship with time than if it had been broken up (and also to the body, which i am not sure i understand fully, but am willing to suspend disbelief for the duration). i think it certainly has an existential angle which particularly comes home when read out aloud rather than silently, although when i first read the super long first sentence in lyotard's libidinal economy i was not reading aloud but i was so struck by it that i phoned people to read it to them. and it is so very long that i cannot bear to write it all out, but here it is on amazon, and sorry for not being clever enough to make it a live link http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0253207282/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-5337949-7858504#reader-page
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This is one place where the literary and theoretical types diverge, in general. The formal are generally taught that less is more, while the latter have a hard time getting around the idea that more is less easy to misuse than less. One of the reasons I started reading theory in the first place is that it felt like something my brain was already doing but suppressing. Thanks for the Lyotard reference.
From: e4q Date: August 22nd, 2005 04:00 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
it's wild, isn't it? there seems to be a lit/theory crossover which starts with, i think, deleuze & guattari which i believe is the frankfurt school, then you get lyotard, and battaile, who did both but don't know if he did crossover, and then baudrillard, and i really don't know that it didn't stop there, perhaps i will risk asking the academics, but i am a bit afraid of them as they are a bit violent...
anyway i have read bits of baudrillard, a couple of battaile thoroughly, but have only just discovered lyotard, and i never got into the deleuze & guattari, because it seemed too hard going. i like the french in general, people like barthes, especially a lover's discourse, and perec who was a literary structuralist, do you know him? i am kind of interested in the idea of writing a fiction or similar, to a preconcieved structure - it worked v well for a lovers discourse, but i got bored reading the castle of crossed destinies by calvino, which was based on a tarot spread. does this kind of thing interest you?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 22nd, 2005 09:52 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yes, I like that stuff a lot. Perec is a favorite. Queneau is also fun. His Exercises in Style is great for teaching too. As far as the theorists go, I'd actually say that hybrid form starts with Bataille, then Maurice Blanchot, then Michele Butor, with Deleuze and Guattari etc. following later.
From: e4q Date: August 22nd, 2005 10:14 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
cool. i will follow that lead up, ta. i am about to start a practice based phd, the proposal of which i wrote to be nice and loose, but which now suffers from vagueness, so i have to find a project-able hook, and this has been bubbling somewhere on a back burner of my mind for some time. have you seen spohie calle's exquisite pain? she is interesting to me cos she is an artist using this form for an art book, hybridising further. this is a trajectory i am also interested in from the pov of accessibility - i have always been jealous of musicians for having lps and writers having books, so they can have a broader, less heavily financially invested public than artists. i hate that if i did paintings my friends would not be able to buy them, only 'art buyers'. yuk
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