San Diego December 29th 1999
And then somehow we're through. We have an hour together, the first morning
we've had together he says. He tells me how he sees me, he tells me how
he sees two of his new plants. His mind has relaxed. I relaxed when I held
him last night and said how much I like his love of his room. Now I wonder
what was the difficulty. There he is. It's as if in our separatednesses
something in each of us, unknown to ourselves, winds tight. It's automatic.
It's an animal response to aloneness. When we get together we hang onto
our coping ways, we don't realize we're together. When we relax it's okay
to go on together. To get to that relaxedness we have to go into feeling
separation: the love, fear and relief. We have to feel and say all of those.
It's completely about relaxing.
"It has something to do with First Corinthians 13, what I need to
remember is that I must be truly my best and most personal self with you
as more importantly I have to remember that when I am open and honest I
have always been dealing with somebody who has been honest and open with
me. Our love for each other has always been at its highest when we both
possess that trust and confidence. And finally my last thought is that we
should never fall prey to the initial sense of despair because with our
best and clearest selves we made a commitment that always works when we
return to our best and clearest selves. It can't even be recognized or remembered
when we're not those selves. So my promise to you is never to fall prey
to that initial despair. I can see I'm the person that has to chill out
and get on the wavelength."
"I always expect you to be a bitch. I tap dance around it."
We need to be able to say every bad thing we're thinking, about separation,
freedom, etc. Despair needs to be able to speak but action on despair needs
to be delayed.
2nd Jan 2000
Yesterday morning in room 20 of the Pacific Surf snuggled in a high bed
contented with talking and poking. On the way home in the dark waiting at
a bus shelter for the 34, talking to a Pentecostal assistant pastor with
shining patent shoes.
Writing has never been as chaotic as this. I am wondering whether I've
had a stroke that has damaged my brain. I kind of dab away at it. My outline
is so organized I expected I knew what I was saying but the writing self
has a different job than the outline self. The outline self was an extreme
self, very concentrated and sparse, creative, not very verbal. The writing
self has to make transitions and explanations and in trying to do those
things writes generalizations that are seen to be false, and then erases
and thinks and tries more. This is not how it used to be. Moreover I hardly
know why I'm writing this stuff. It's as if I'm working from a reorientation
that's deep and correct but finds the habits of language carrying it off
the track. Could I work from this structure if I didn't write it? It would
help to have talked from it.
Suzi Gablik in Utne Reader writing that in 1984 there was a movement
against the isolation and corruption of modernism. That was me going to
the community garden. I didn't know modernism went too. So has it gone from
community to deep theory also?
Don't want to work. I'm here now.
Last night me an' Tom had supper on the balcony at Nordstrom's, in the
cold, with powder evening bluing under the bridge. Walked to the park, walked
to the Upstart Crow and had delicious cocoa but were embarrassed across
the small table, walked on to the end of the park, walked and walked home.
Were interrupted by a train so we stood near its rush. In the last stretch
Tom got to riffing about the incomprehensibilities of having me in his room.
Why is the tiny little spoon never on the ceramic spoon holder, why is the
green print napkin folded and hidden under the cushion?
We went up in the elevator with two black men, one young, one old, both
tall thin things with small heads. Is he in love with you? the old one said
to me. I think so, I said. The young one poked his head forward. Look at
each other, he said. Are you the captain of this elevator and are you going
to marry us? Tom said.
Walking on the street, when Tom said something hoggish I fell back half
a step and touched my red left toe to his back pocket unexpectedly expertly.
As he began to lay out blankets on the floor I stretched myself to the
four corners of the bed and said Thank you for giving me your bed, and broke
into cackles of laughter.
What I mean is a joyful ease came over us.
These dawns from the bed, orange at the hills, fading up through gold
to almost white, darkening up to royal night blue with bright Venus alone.
It has its best moment when Tom in his underpants brings coffee.
Yesterday at Black's Beach. We rode miles on the sky-reflecting sand
next to the water. When the flattest creep of a wave caught me I felt it
pulling sand out from under the wheel.
It was interesting beach with lots of kinds of detail, endless to see.
Colors of stones: rust, robin's egg, mustard, oxblood, oatmeal, slate, jade.
A fine-grained sage green showing tiny flecks of red only when wet. Grain
coarse as chopped meat. Bird's egg ovals. A luminous pearl-grey moon. As
I was peering and collecting Tom was peering and collecting in the other
direction. There were our two towels, red and green, and our two bikes hung
with wet socks. Down a ways naked children and children in white underpants
running running over the slopes, uncountable, with a naked man and another
in white shorts. When it clouded later five children, dressed now, trouped
up the beach toward the trail, ages maybe eight to three, a lovely sight
in their tribal comfort and independence that did not look back to where
the grownups were slowly assembling two backpacks and a baby.
What else there was to see on the beach. The delicate suture-lines, fontanelle
lines, raised on the sand by the last wave at that height of the slope.
Black strings of seaweed and their shadows. Series and pouches of hard strong
ridges, sorted grey and black, black on the height of the ridge I think,
gouged and packed by backwash around rocks and even around small single
stones. Overhead a similar packing of white cloud. The ocean was lying back,
more grey than green. Military helicopters, fighter jets, the Fujichrome
One of the beach kids came from his camp to ours, stood around for a
while, examined this and that, a pretty sight in his shorts and socks and
fringed moccasins. Tom was standing watching him and said, He thinks very
well of himself and he is showing us how wonderful he is.
He did come closer and ask if we had come on the bikes and where we lived
and what I was eating. He was maybe four.
When Tom and I were having breakfast together earlier in La Cochina de
Maria on Broadway I realized the black man theme has changed - the way it
was when we met was that black men appeared with us and enraged Tom and
showed up his weakness. Our black man this time is a good spirit who blesses
us. Yesterday he met us in Super Junior's as we were shopping for picnic
food. "Is he giving you any trouble?" I put my arm around Tom,
"Only the best kind." "Congratulations," he says to
Tom. Whenever he addresses me I look at him very carefully and he looks
back out of a wide interested freedom.
Amtrack, Klamath Falls, 10th
Tom's brain is different from mine in this way. It flows, it's much busier
than mine, more deliberate, socially more involved, evasive. I live in a
lot of silence. It's a silence that lets me go deep when I try to. He has
to have ways of controlling his flux to avoid triggers. I'm solid and so
efficient I go dead when nothing is new. I bore easier and easier. Tom goes
on eager. He goes on having zest for every little thing in his room. But
he comes home and stays in, goes to bed at eight or nine, watches TV. Reads
the Herald Tribune, the LA Times, the NY Times, USA
Today. Is gobbling doughnuts and ice cream. Staying faithful and keeping
order, keeping his job, but it's at the expense of his liveliness. And me
- so grey and dumpty and grim and old - forgetting words. Last term there
were students I never did recognize even after three months.
We're out of the snow in wet fir and cedar.
Vancouver Jan 15
Three men, two playing the same piano, one I see later standing watching.
The music is wonderful. The man on the far side of the piano is playing
very fast but carefully, as if he is cupping his hands around groups of
notes. The man on this side of the keyboard is flashing his hands forward
again and again. They are playing together very aware of each other, enjoying
the way they are barely making it at that tempo. They are playing a difficult
piece perfectly. I notice the third man after a while. I'm breathless with
pleasure in the way the music is being made. That's when Louie appears next
What I'm thinking about as I remember this dream. My best papers, how
well they are written. Damasio getting the company of musicians and poets.
Duras intercepted at the entrance to a theatre by a man who said "I've
known you for a long time. I want you to know you are more beautiful now,
so ravaged." The longing for company of my own kind that made me try
to be with Cheryl, Trudy, Rhoda and Jam, who still weren't my own kind enough
so they could like me.
- Look how the handwriting changed in this paragraph. Distress. My failures
to belong in accomplished company, for instance most recently Fauconnier's
seminar. Louie's good company. The way writing more than any other art lends
us the skilful motion of another mind to try for ourselves and learn if
we want. What's called a voice is an entire organization of a brain. Music
is that too, in a manner I know less about, although I bore readily in music,
meaning I'm as instant to know when it is only doing what I don't like to
West coast swing class.
How strongly but secretly I feel the physical presence of people. You
immediately feel poor contact or good contact, presence or fright.
There were a couple of women I loved to watch. A girl learning to lead,
who had the compact motion I like in men, what is it, concentration. She
was staying on her own axis and moving her partner like a - like what? -
a yoyo - a counterweight. Mainly it was the hips kept over the feet and
clicking sideways. Somehow it suggests something at the forehead.
The other woman was a girl with a long neck and very short hair dyed
yellow. She had a beautiful shape of head and was, Graeme said, an advanced
follower. Her name was Grace. She had on a black sweater and khaki cargo
pants. Loose clothes over a loose undefined body. She was beautiful to see
dancing, the way she held her head, a light chaste softness, a carriage.
Graeme himself, with his sideburns and technical terms, professional
kindness, interesting to watch in his comfortable ownership of the event.
Sugar push, right pass, left pass, sugar tuck.
There are people who know the moves but aren't good dancers. I don't
want to watch them. There are people who are good dancers but their motion
is locked into a style. I don't know exactly what that means. Some of the
advanced students and the woman instructor.
I was meeting people in a lot of confusion.
My car again.
I'm startled, with Gillian, how much she seems to enjoy me.
How is it with Tom these days - look at this little handwriting, it's
time to work - a dwelling-on of peaceful love and gratitude. He buys 80-minute
phone cards for five dollars.
He has the livest, malest, street-smartest voice in the world. He laughs,
he listens, he asks, he takes turns. He doesn't rant, or not often. He doesn't
swear. He doesn't threaten to kill people. He comes home to his room and
it's two ways different, he says. It's more home because I was there, it's
less home because I'm not there now. He's going on thinking about his room,
he's going on watching his plants and feeding them jump-juice, he's feeling
his responsibilities to his kids, he's earning his connections. He's racing
around Shelter Island on his bike timing himself. He's measuring his middle
with the tape I gave him. - And I, and I, I'm here and my solar does not
hurt. I have my task, my tasks.
Teach logic. Write thesis. Revise total theory of mind. Learn to dance.
Somehow get Rowen schooled. Get livelihood for summer. Find out what to
The flat look of a day like this. Everything is there and it's light
of a kind, but as color it's not worth mentioning. Yesterday at the end
of the day the sun broke out for half an hour. It was on the aspen brush
like a spotlight - this at school. I saw the buds were red. The beginning
of the pink haze. Behind the ranks of trees and deep beyond them there was
the huge vitality of the blue mountains exhaling white in their clefts and
slopes. Walking the ramparts later, looking south after sunset, I could
see a tanker in the strait at Tsawassen, and the south arm of the Fraser
gleaming pink through the dark miles of land.
You - I have a core sense of you - it's my sense of who you are and it's
a feeling - I wonder if I can say it - I was lying in bed before I'd turned
the light on, thinking of you standing on the road when you'd left the hospital
after Vic died. For one thing, there was the way you told the story. Standing
on the road. You stand on the road in yourself feeling how your terrible
losses free you into the adventure. The feeling of you is a squeezed heart
in an innocent eagerness.
The heater fan starts up. There's light frost on the shingles. Real daylight,
it's bright behind the chimney. There is the fateful table.
What it is, I don't know where to start, I guess it's with an essay on
primary organic aboutness. It's where I left off with the MA. Just write
it. Give myself a deadline? Two weeks, Tuesday Feb 8. Gee it's so big.
Yesterday Tom's note, read at a computer upstairs in the Publab. I was
replying and had it in front of me.
- rowen's note was full
- of inarticulate heartspeech
- and some other kind of reserved brightness
- that uniquely is his,
he said, and
- there was excitement walking here
- just now in cobalt-true night.
I was stopped short by inarticulate heartspeech, a sharp pang. You're
here. You have come true.
I was really stopped. I signed off.
This is also to say I'm engaged in an adventure whose scope I'm not realizing.
What does this adventure need. Patience. Bravery. An extraordinary stamina
in meeting and reworking other people's formulation, so I can use what's
correct in it without being mis-organized in the way they are mis-organized.
Long long willingness to lie low and be unacknowledged while I work it out.
Strategy in managing mental ability as it starts to fail. What does it need
that I'm not giving it yet? A mother, it says. I need a mother? Yes.
Oh how is Joyce - so little, so old, a squeezed look in her face as if
she's in pain.
Because I learned to trust someone, I learned to trust myself, she said:
that's what I'm feeling when I'm moved when I read the line that says I
find her standing beside me. I wanted to tell her the dream before she dies
- I wanted to thank her before she dies - I wanted to tell her she reached
Rowen and Luke and Tom too, and other people.
She said if I could do anything I want to do, what would I do. I said
working with color is so much fun, but I've got a talent in the work I'm
doing. I can go in and say, If you thought about it this way it would work
better. She said two things, she said it's important not just for me - that
made me cry - yes it is - and she said she could see I'm in love with the
work and don't want it to end. Is that true? She said it's the question
Who am I, and it doesn't end.
When I had read her the dream, the last line squeezed in feeling, I saw
her in the same state but more so, holding her hand on her chest. She doesn't
cut it short. She stays with it. I didn't know whether it was her own feeling
These new books on mind-brain topics, last few years, are like trees
grown for pulp, very loose of grain, a cash crop. I wouldn't want to write
like that. Real books are very condensed of grain. Edelman, Dennett, earlier
Churchland, Tiles. That's what my organizing and reorganizing is for. I'm
better this time through, I'm noticing. It's more differentiated. But not
yet better integrated. I'm still finding the same points repeated in different
sections, as if I hadn't set them out before. I haven't got last year's
version seen in terms of this year's version.
When I woke at 4:30 - it's 5 now and I'm at the table - I was thinking
of the ways my work has been resisted - is that the word? - the films, the
writing, the photos, most recently the Perception without representation
paper - and the ways I've been stymied - halted - the ways I'm still young
and baffled when that happens - and the ways I resist honor when it's given.
Except for the films, I feel the work is all ungiven. I'm not wrong in
that. I'm not wrong to think I feel the ungiven- and untaken-ness of it
as I do new work.
It's as if the website is my retrospective. I want to stand in a room
with my life's work, so I'll know how to think of myself when I go on.
Lovely Sean is Sara's sweetie, and Sara is Colette's daughter: Makara,
about 1974, when she would have been five. Sara was wearing black tights,
black and white dancing shoes and the perfect dancing skirt, a straight
flat A-line with discrete vents both sides so her legs show past the knee
only when she moves. She and Sean were doing the cakewalk. She's a thin
small thing and he is a fair nice-looking boy who is radiant about her.
It's a dance where he has his right hand on her back and is using his left
hand to pivot her by her right hand. They were kicking sideways - that's
all I know - I don't have memory for motion. I cannot at all say how they
were dancing. I go silent when I see it. Something about two people synchronized
but twisting oppositely from a shared pivot point, or more like clicking
oppositely, it's very light.
"Allow you to live the moment again and again." Ad for a wedding
videographer. What about it. It's not the moment over again, it is assisted
memory, which is this moment thinking of that one. Moments can't be repeated,
but when I read my journal I feel I am repeating something. Not the time,
because I'm feeling in thirty seconds what I may have been feeling for hours.
It is an act of summary, whether accurate cannot be known. I believe it's
that I partly reconfigure. What's repeated is physical structure, but there
has to be new structure too, because just repeating structure would be re-experience
but not memory. There has to be the added structure that is the sensation
of remembering. Not necessarily that. When I remember in order to write
I'm much besides the remembering. Here's the question. Am I setting up object-handling
structure in relation to the structure that is reconstruction? Am I simulating
handling? Simulating looking at, studying - that pouring of activation into
What I'm onto is functional metaphor. Imagining the brain makes it possible
to think what that could mean. Set up action circuits when I'm not acting.
That's action simulation. Set up sensing circuits. Connect them, probably
indirectly. It would be as if there's a handling of inner objects. It would
account for people's feeling of handling objects innerly.
'Indirectly' means forebrain, probably, the deliberateness of the - what
I imagine is lines from forebrain back - taut - tension of holding sensing
or simulating sensing while delaying, or trying out variants of, action.
Theoretical imagining, meaning take what neuroscientists say and use
it to build an ability to imagine something.
Here's what I thought suddenly in the bath. I was thinking of Cherry
Ames, student nurse. When I read it I was twelve or ten. Cherry on the
day she's going to the training hospital for the first time, her kindly
father driving her. She's wearing a cherry red suit. What I remember is
the suit and the father, the street and the house, and the sense of leaving
something and going somewhere. Starting something.
I was meandering from thinking of reading it again, to remembering when
I read Nancy Drew again, in my thirties, and analyzed it. The way I excerpted
it in my journal. From there to putting my journal on the web. I suddenly
saw I could put photos on the web with it. I could put the whole thing up.
Yesterday I bought a computer, $250, at Press Gang's going out of business
When Joyce has me in front of her I tell her how far I got and we go
on from there. I close my eyes and find the ache. "Breathe" she
says. I'm by myself in a blankness. Resist talk that wants to come in from
the right. She says presence has come into the room. There was a little
shift, yes, something in the space on the left. I look at her. There she
is, a little old woman bony in a long coffee-colored skirt. But the ache
is still there. She says it's wonderful I am aware of the mind wanting explanations.
I say I don't want to call it the mind, it is all the mind. She wants me
to want the emptiness, "like stepping out of the world," like
the space between breaths. I say I know that space and it's nice, but the
sore heart is still there. Alright, we'll go to the sore heart. Put the
heart of your hand onto it and breathe into it. Immediately I feel energy
moving in the left side of my body. She wants to know what's happening.
I say it's like a big strong dark person in my left side. I think of the
big faceless man from last fall.
Here I have to go back. I told her what the days are like, nothing to
do after nine, that I don't like to be alone any more. She said write to
Tom, no, the Tom in you, because there's a Tom in you too. It's about touch,
she was saying. I don't have this in order. What does that allow you to
be that you can't be when you're alone?
Being the big strong man. She said, Look at the other one over there.
Just a little thing. I don't see much. A thin light little thing. My thin
leg. The light transparent feeling on my right side.
From the filling-in of energy on the left, the sore heart was gone. I
had relaxed, leaned back.
The big strong dense dark male one looks at the other one and can't see
much, almost nothing. Just that feeling of slightness. A kind of blank bemusedness
trying to look at her.
I sit on the other side. Who do you see? I don't see anyone, but I do
have something to say (remembering that big guy). I say I feel sorry for
him because he's so strong and big and competent and he is unemployed.
I go sit in the big helpless man's chair. "She saw you, how did
I know the hour is going to end any minute.
How did it feel. I don't know except for that helpless sad feeling. She
says ask if the other one knows what I should do. I ask her.
In the other seat, I don't know. But I agree that he's disengaged. After
nine I go off and leave him, Joyce says.
We agreed they would have to find out together what to do, and that I
don't know what that means.
She said when he feels seen by you he would start to feel hope. I agree
he feels hopeless. He's disengaged because he's hopeless.
He's disengaged and she is disembodied, disenfranchized, Joyce says.
It was all interesting, every minute, and it all made sense, and I don't
have that fretty dull feeling. I was working very clearly with her, and
she was working with me with her old fast intuition. I'm calm.
It's interesting to think that there is something I've done for or with
Tom I could do with myself, or whoever that big sad man is, who sees me
as small, maybe the way Tom does.
His silence. The big man in black clothes.
His hopelessness. He sits with his forearms on his thighs and his big
hands dropped between his knees.
I'll sit with him. I see his depression. He doesn't see it himself, his
dejection. I want to take his big hand and hold it.
I'm going to talk about perceiving, imagining, and thinking, and about
the ways representing artifacts and practices are used to support and extend
those more basic kinds of cognition. These topics have had a long history
in philosophy of mind, and a history among the empirical cognitive sciences
that is so brief and recent that they are still being thought primarily
in the forms they were being thought when almost nothing was known about
how they were done.
Where it is unrevised, this inherited manner of speaking about mind actually
disrupts our ability to imagine cognitive processes as they are being discovered
in the cognitive sciences. We are in an uncomfortable transition, which
is also full of interest because we are talking about mind by means of the
very same structures and processes being investigated.
Rightly understood, rightly imagined, what we learn about how cognition
works will have immediate implications. What we learn about how we use written
language, for instance, will suggest how theory should be written. What
we learn about how we use pictures in the presence of text may suggest how
this text should be illustrated. What we learn about metaphorical uses of
language or pictures will make us more careful with the cognitive effects
of inherited metaphor.
It's Saturday morning, a bright morning, cold. Erasing, erasing. What
is it I want. I want to want.
I like seeing the crows these days.
Do you feel discouraged when you see men like Dewdney? You're not a technological
man, you're a physical man. And yet you are not a simple man. You feel no
one can see you. I love your strength and beauty and your desire to live
What's different. I did start writing - then I started cleaning too -
it is a more meticulous state that wants to order everything in the house.
It started this morning by washing the work table. Tonight it cleaned the
stove. The I-don't-want-to sullenness began to go. In the writing state
I go for walks. I am not all the way there yet, but I have a week and a
day. Tonight I lit a yellow candle, whose light is flapping on the blue
wall. The all-out all-day work writing is, somehow earns pleasure. Thankfulness.
I'm playing my own tape, the one with Suave sia il viento, the Bulgarian
women, Frontenac waltz, Barry's Wings of Nike, Spem in
There Tom phones. He is sitting in the dark in his room with the window
open on a strong west wind. He had a beautiful Sunday. He walked into the
wind, which was a sea wind, not warm, not cool, salty. Because he was walking
not riding the bike he crossed through the new subtropicals in front of
the County Building. He was wanting to tell me that he sees plants now.
He was walking in the wind repenting of having hurt my feelings by calling
my inner man an oaf. Repenting, he imagined a wild boar skittering through
the litter of last year's oak leaves, turning its head a little left and
right to be able to see. There's no such thing as love, opposites attract,
deal with it, he said he was thinking as he walked. Were you thinking it
in a rueful spirit? Not at all.
I adore your spirit, he also said. In that case, I'll keep you posted,
He was under his black and yellow plaid sleeping bag looking at white
and amber panels of light on his walls, thrown from street and parking lot
lamps half a block away. The shadow of his papyrus jumping. I was on my
red plaid blanket in the shaded light of the lamp on the work table, looking
at one bare foot and one foot with a big blue slipper on it.
I'm basically still finding the idea, I'm still testing it, although
I'm sure of it. I'm testing the particulars.
For instance I know I want to call it aboutness but today I had
to spend a lot of the day discovering why that's the word I want, what to
make of it, what it is I mean by it.
I wanted to see David and did, and discovered I'd needed something. I'd
needed to be safe to feel. I came to his door and said I needed a hug because
my friend died. I was in tears the way I couldn't be last night. What is
it David does, that my mum doesn't, Louie doesn't, Tom doesn't. Joyce does.
It's as if he gives himself to be the amplifier. I see him feeling what
I'm telling him. He absorbs. I told him what Jan had to go through before
she died. He said, She was thrashed. Yes, she was thrashed. I'm aware that
what he does is partly technique, he knows how, he is in a way not whole
enough to stand behind what he offers. It would melt if he were tested,
and yet I'll take it with gratitude. Really the hardness of stoic hearts
Tom last night was a torrent of mediocrity about Bush and McCain. I stopped
him and asked why. He was in stress and remorse about my birthday present
because he had promised marvels and not come up with anything and the day
has come very close while he waited for payday. He was spinning in self-scolding.
I patted him down some and he was a contrite little boy and I was his kind
mum but when I hung up I thought, no - this is wrong - that's not how it
is - this is the man whose energy and boldness and imagination and vision
and trueheartedness have given me what nobody has been able to give me.
There is no gift lacking.
I haven't written about talking to Louie [on the phone] on Saturday evening.
I wanted to talk about Janeen but by then there wasn't much to be said.
She was talking about how she is with the best people she's attached to:
she hasn't given the attachment credit. I said she's like that with the
book too, which led us to ask to talk to it. She said, I don't know whether
it will talk to me since I'm stuffed with chicken. A pause. A shout of laughter.
It's very witty, she said: it says it's stuffed with chicken too.
Talking to the book, at first about Janeen and then about feeling other
people's difference, Louie started seeing her room as beautiful, and later
I also started looking especially at the light lines thrown on the wall
by the glass cullet, from two small candles set together in front of it.
I was seeing a face bent forward, at first I thought Rowen and then I was
thinking a woman with a veil, a darkness from her forehead flowing forward
around the top of the lit area. She was looking into the source of the projection,
a bit like looking into a little fire. Writing about it now I feel the trance
state. It was a beautiful hour together, not what I expected, the zone of
new being, not relationshipland. Access as if to the softness of embryogenesis,
I had asked whether it's possible to as-if look into anyone, and whether
it's safe. It said it's safe and it is possible in this way: there's a door
whose handle is in the abdomen. You don't go into them, you meet them in
Where am I in the whole project. In my thirties I mined for a kind of
poetics. I looked for structures with a particular feel of resonance. I
tried to use them in writing and photos. I looked for principles. That work
was unsuccessful, in the sense that it wasn't taken up. I still want it
to be taken up.
In my forties I gave up and made the garden and went back to school.
The garden saved my life probably but it doesn't amount to anything. It
was intensely successful.
There are two parts to being in school. One is getting the basics sorted.
I got to the bottom of philosophy of mind, to my own satisfaction. I made
my ground in philosophy, rewrote it. The second was getting an acquaintance
with brain science, how to think it. What I've learned confirms the poetics.
Tells me what the intuition was.
On the way back up through the trees David taught me how to recognize
grand fir from below, by a silvery flatness of branch. I kept being stopped
by the cedars - the trunks with their long strips of bark in vertical lines
that draw the flow of the tree both up and down. The round limbs of the
roots. I don't think it can be said. The cedar has a quality of another
order. It's a quality of surface and of form. The dry live skin of the boughs
that are not needles but knitted, a sensory surface maybe, like a monkey's
palm. Looking at cedars is like seeing an aristocratic bloodline. The bark
on a Douglas fir by contrast was like scab diagramming a confused milling
in the tree.
What I'd do if I had money - go back to my pagan studies and make films
- I would make films for the far future - immaculate states of beauty -
I'd have a big light workroom and fine equipment and helpers - a tech pagan
- I'd go to New York and stay in a hotel - work would be all I'd need.
Today I'm going into chapter 2, Wide nets, how to imagine the
brain. Imagine it as a wide net with a bright net overlaid inside it. Imagine
the bright net dancing over into an area, segregation and integration.
Somehow the brighter net within the wide net is the means of sentient
aboutness - not just being structurally codetermined, not just acting effectively,
but the sort of being with this is. I'm with the table and the lamp
by being about them structurally. And that's as much as we know. Is that
as much as I need to know? Yes, it says.
What I want from this chapter is to set up a vision of the wide net,
so I can evoke it in the next chapters.
What I want to say specifically about spatial perception and sim, also
in its rep uses which include metaphoric, is that it is integrated and segregated
and can be integrated and segregated in different ways.
The wide net vision is itself a spatial metaphor. I am thinking about
my whole brain by using that part of my brain.
It is a very comprehensive vision. It is high creation. Can I carry it
off? Will they accept it?
It was a confused session. I was saying many things I need to say about
work, I was crying, I was glad to be showing the grief and pleasure about
work. But nothing was resolving. She said I should feel the grief of not
being seen by my father. I didn't like what she was saying because to me
it seems worth grieving that the beautiful work is not seen in its arena.
Ideas are like trying to nail egg white to a wall, she said. No, papers
can be very clear, I say. I have written beautiful papers. No one will read
them. That was one of the moments where I burst into tears.
I went to the grain image workbook and took out two pages of descriptions
I think are of brain-structural change. Every time, the notes in that book
shift me into a state of rapture. I'd like to know why. I've distilled a
drug. It's very concentrated, very swift. It's a relation of vision and
language. In vision it's motion and color, slight and faint; in language
it's brief and exact, precisely rhythmic, aural. I feel I could work out
of it forever, joyfully.
There will be a fight. I am getting ready. What is the fight. To make
people better by making them able to love the world and their own being.
Could I do that?
If I love the world and my own being is that enough? No. I want to support
it in all people. A woman on Art Bell who said, "The way your wrist
moves, it's a miracle. God loves you." I'm like that aren't I. The
difference always and only is quality. Mary Tiles writing about set theory
doesn't have to say, god loves you. Her work says, I love you, in the sense
of, I've done what needs to be done to make this good. Quality isn't the
only thing that makes people better. Guided access to early love needs quality
of attention. Quality of attention encourages me anywhere.
Another project - all my journals.
At this point I feel the objection. It would be like vanity publishing.
Real writers don't want to preserve their own lives. It's sleazy. I think
- that's him, isn't it. I tell him, people write autobiographies. This would
show actual changes in writing.
Reading VW, The shorter diary, which I plucked from the PR6000's
on the way to the elevator from the Fine Arts Room.
Noticing that I'm noticing differently this time. I am more technically
interested in what it took to make her the one who wrote The waves.
I'm more like Dorothy, and Dorothy is more the philosopher. VW is astonishingly
active. She has Leonard keeping her involved among the powers. Politics,
publishing. "I love the chatter and excitement of other people's houses.
I want to make life fuller and fuller." Leonard sets up the press and
it brings them the best new writers wanting something they've got. He edits
The nation and she gets her pick of books to review. (Her brother
publishes her first two novels.) She brings her own dowry of course - income,
and the best connections. But her left hand man is perfectly her promoter.
Dorothy did it without. Dorothy - here's a fact I have never noticed - is
wonderful at conversations; though she is called egotistical she has a huge
steadiness. VW dashes.
Would I like wonderful famous friends? What I have is odd people plus