“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”—Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island (via observando)
"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter the Kingdom."
"What have you been doing to your flower?"-Thich Naht Hanh on True Love.
"Love is defined as practice…The intention is not enough." Love as understanding, love as the continual prevention and mending of suffering. As the desire, ability, and commitment to trying to end suffering. Love as work. The work and discipline of love. Love as "bringing him or her the right thing.”
I guess the 21st century is because no body is watching, not because everyone is. Where are we seen? Nowhere. Who sees us? No one. Hence blogs, hence Facebook, hence Twitter. But it’s real people and real places we must return to. Run towards. Learn to stay with. It’s actual presence that we’ve forgotten to give and receive.
“In a way—maybe I’m about to be completely crazy—when I was the age of a daughter I thought if I had a bad experience with sex, even though the man was brutal or ignorant or whatever, I always took it for granted that this was my problem. That this was the problem of women, to keep it for ourselves. On déplace le problème. [We shift the blame.] I remember when I was very young and coming home and thinking: ‘Well, this is my problem. There is nowhere I can go and complain.’ There’s not a guiltiness of being a woman, but women deal with their bodies in a very complex way, a total way, a global way. Not like men. Men, they have a hard-on or not. The feeling of a woman is so much more complex, because she can pretend, she can fake, she can also be terrified and hate and not show it. I think to be a woman is a complete sexual experience in a way. And this makes everything more complex.
Anger is part of my relation to the world. There is hope, always. After a tragedy—let’s say a Greek tragedy—everything is ending, but not the world. Sometimes a tragedy is a sort of jump you have to make to scream something. It doesn’t mean the world is finished. It’s like a scream; it’s necessary sometimes.”
—Claire Denis, interviewed by Kiva Reardon in cléo: a journal of film and feminism
Before my reading yesterday, I sat there and sat there and sat there (nervous, sitting through my nerves, the life of nerves, the work of nerves) waiting for my turn to read and thinking about how I now know there are things we can only say to each other, about each other, about living, in writing. That we can only respond to certain things in writing. And how we can only know and recognize certain things when they’re written down. And even once we’ve learned those things about someone, about something, we can only retain and access that knowledge as a feeling in writing. How writing is an interstice of knowing that we enter in/through writing. And when the page isn’t there we are somewhere else, again; with our knowledge, with our understanding, with our feelings. How we go back to not-knowing, not-feeling. Again. How this used to bother me and bother me, how it isn’t enough, shouldn’t be the only way, but how I now feel at least we have this.
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it… . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
Sometimes my wrists feel broken. Why does the word, the idea, of arthritis scare me so much? I think because it means my sadness went all the way through and settled. Sadness as connective tissue, as cold draft, as soaked to the bone. I’m terrified of damage. Terrified of no repair. Of downhill after (devoted) uphill.
"My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest" (Job 30:17).
He said: “It’s like you came out of the blue.” He meant biologically (that he wasn’t surprised I have no siblings) but I took it metaphysically which is also how he meant it. Like I am both from the blue and out of the blue. I thought of Derek Jarman’s film. Of Venus. Of perpetual solitude. Something/one always on its own.
When it comes to my heart, sometimes I wish it was 10 years ago, or even 5, or even 2.
Writing is for forgetting and expelling, as Kathy Acker noted, not remembering. Writing tells us (and others) what we’ve lost. Sometimes people hurt you so badly you automatically forget them. Or you lose the desire and ability to remember them. The pain supersedes pain. Cancels it out. Forgetting is rare for me. It is not my go to move. Not forgetting but blackout. Coma. Like it did not really happen. There is a limit, memory says, and that limit is forgetting. Good thing I write about the things that happen. The things I couldn’t keep. This way I know what they were.
I wish men would stop getting upset that women don’t believe them and ask (listen to) why instead. More or less every man says roughly the same thing and more or less every man breaks a promise in roughly the same way. It’s a stale and formulaic script of promise-making and promise-breaking. Like a sequel to an American blockbuster. Even the constant surprise at a woman’s cynicism about the male courtship ritual is stale. It’s like voting for a president when you know they all suck in the same way under the same increasingly corrupt system. It’s not even upsetting anymore. It’s bored and boring. It’s not just disaster capitalism, it’s disaster masculinity. Disaster all around.
This morning (here in Bangkok—yesterday evening, I suppose, in her home of New York), Masha Tupitsynposted a photo of herself, with the accompanying text, “Today I wanted to remember what I look like. It’s been a while.” We then had this brief interaction on Twitter:
My new film essay "On Robert Bresson" for Necessary Fiction, part of their film writing series by Nicholas Rombes.
“What we do with our hands…The hand finalizes and seals a deed. Commits one to an act. Sets one on a course. Hands are cause and effect, sending out distress signals. Recall Gena Rowlands flickering hand in A Woman Under the Influence, like a little white flag or SOS. She opens — shows — her hand before she opens her eyes. Hands are give and take. Hold and let go. Hands tell and think and show. They are: how we touch, who we touch, what we touch, how we are touched. Love and hate. Why else would Robert De Niro’s hands in Cape Fear and Robert Mitchum’s in Night of The Hunter feature the four-letter word pair? And Lars Von Trier with the word “Fuck” splayed across his knuckles. In the films of Bresson, without the catalyzing and notational (from Latin notātiō a marking, from notāre to note) hand, there is no life, no consciousness — no destiny either.
The hand epitomizes human-ness, as Heidegger points out. We choose to be human and inhuman with our hands. We mark the moments we are one or the other, or both. In What is Called Thinking?, Heidegger writes that the hands not only distinguish us as humans different from other species, they are craft, which “literally means the strength and skill in our hands.” If, as Heidegger asserts, “the hand is in danger,” this is never more true than in a Bresson film. Over and over, Bresson uses hands to signal various kinds of danger, irreversibility, and precarity. Hence, if the hand is in danger, so too is our human-ness. The Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh puts it this way, “Love is action and the symbol of action is the hand. When you enter a Tibetan or Vietnamese monastery, you can see a Bodhisattva with one thousand arms. It means the Bodhisattva has one thousand ways of loving and seeing.” Similarly, Rowlands’ playing hand, flashing on and off, is the state of her heart, which is also in a state of emergency.”
Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, and scholar, Thich Nhat Hanh, talking about happiness and love. Or happiness as being able to really love. I am happy (relieved?) that he says this because DUH. I’ve always said this. Maybe I would have been a better advocate for love as a monk. For years I dreamed of being one. I certainly live like a monk most of the time.