volume 2 of the golden west: december 1994 - august 1995  work & days: a lifetime journal project  






Miscellaneous dating. Deep breakthroughs in work. Perception without representation paper. TAing for Kathleen Akin, visit Read Island with Luke. In part 3 the miscellaneous dating tapers off and it's steadier personal work.

Mentioned: Constance Garrett, Hume, AS Byatt's Djinn love, Daniel Dennett's Consciousness explained, Ayn Rand, the movie Farinelli, Sharon Butala, de Kooning, Peter Manning.

January 6

"I am available. That's a short answer and a long story I won't bore you with." The extraordinary mass of strangeness I run into when I meet a new man. The bumpiness of the contact. I mean the way there's contact here and there, gaps and valleys of sheer noncontact between. I am available, I say with irony I know he doesn't hear. He says his things, I was thinking of you. I supposed you were, I didn't say. Are you mad, and if you are mad how do you make your living, I didn't say. You don't know I'm lame, I didn't say. You took longer than I expected, I didn't say. I know you're not the one, I didn't say. I'd be wasted on you as a woman, I don't say. I'll do what I can with you, I'll hear your adventures, I'll launch myself valiantly into the foreign waters you are, but you are not the man I think of every day. You're not the man I want: you are some other man. And with men at all, what is there but sightseeing? "Do you remember me?" It was another voice he asked that in. "Yes I remember you. Of course I remember you."

Jan 22nd

... one of the jobs he had was blood sweeper at an abattoir. He stood under old bulls with slit throats trying to sweep blood down a hatch before it congealed. His broom had a piece of foam a foot high. It had to be that high because it could happen that the blood would suddenly solidify in a pile.

31st Jan

Drops on the window, rain falling in silver light coming sidelong through almost transparent cloud in the west. There. It lies on the page strongly enough to form a shadow. Melts away. Do I imagine a pulse in the rain. I get my tea. The rain is finer, so fine the puddles on Koo's asphalt roof are not jumping. Drops winking on plum twigs. Birds coasting into the tree set them quivering. Small birds the colors of the bark. The tree to them is many positions in a net. They perch. They jump. They shake their wing. Starlings on the wire are stabbing at their breasts. The shortest way to the next wire in the next alley is a dip in the shape of the dip in the lines themselves, a dip that's a dive with wings held close. It isn't raining. The silver light is on the wall where the straight edges of the window melt and recover, melt, the strong silver oblong faded onto a grey wall skinned over with dull orange from the ceiling bulb. Gulls fly singly in lines crossing each other. They are not standing around. The steady way they fly makes them seem to have an errand. It is midafternoon on the last day of January. It is as if I am expecting to hear from you. Why is that. Where am I on this long closing-off of my feeling for you, that has its own shape I want to be patient and impatient in. A silver light at the heart. Explanation doesn't touch it. I want it to win. I want it to amount to something, know what it's doing.

It is so quiet in this afternoon with its noises, the oven's hiss, the colored twist of a siren. I mean there is so much air, such a depth of the open. One small person walking alongside the park with a loosely closed umbrella. Now the light is more black than silver. What are the branches absorbing or intercepting. Their relation to the sky is so eager and active. They are tugging at it. Small areas of unexpected color, pure strong blue, pure creamy turquoise, and one harder to see, a radiant lavender grey. Ragged shelves at different heights are moved east so evenly it seems the sky is turning as a mass.

3 Feb

I am afraid what I have been doing is not academic and can't be made to seem so. It seems to amount to very little: there are a couple of things I understand now. In fact I feel I understand a whole terrain of discourse about imagining. I feel I could situate anyone in the canon, see what they were intuiting, what they were running together that should be separated.

What else. I have a broad theory of art that integrates philosophers' use of metaphor and thus says why they go wrong. A metaphor is a temporary computer, a computational landscape. It distributes connections in many directions, it is a switching structure. It uses sentient tissue, when it does, because that tissue already has workable, not-wrong, connections with action, language and feeling. When a feeling/sensing structure is evoked, there are action structures evoked with it, and they are felt as the actions of thought, of the thinker. The ghost ­ the one whose actions are failures to act.

That: 'the mind' is a metaphor. The mentalist sense of mind, which is 'the world of the imagination,' where 'the self' looks at pictures alone in a room, so lonely, so unemployed. There is much more to notice about that computational landscape, a dream the waking are using to contain themselves. I see it as a little net within the global net, a local circuit which is 'inside;' which can feel itself inside.

What I know I don't know: all the rest. But specifically, how structural recognition works. Using a metaphor, how is it only this much is simulated, not more. Or when more is simulated, only this much is 'taken', whatever that means. How 'a structure' is recognized when it is seen ­ there must be something about an interplay of sentience structures and non-sentience structures. I saw a filter. The non-sentience structure is filtering sentience structures. I was seeing I have to go further into Pribram, probably. My conception of structure is too solid.

What else I am suspecting, as if out of the corner of my eye, is that the answers to any question could be in plain sight ­ I mean if I can watch the process.

4 Feb

... something happened to the space as if its grain were being polished. I was on my axe-axis, cleft solar to throat with pain, axis pain, right pain, glorious. I was saying - this is better than anything David MacAra would do, this is another level of art, this is opening up knowledge on another scale, where am I, aching with beauty and truth. Way beyond myself. and what was it - tissues moving at depths, ethereal they said. No. Not at all ethereal. Transparent but so strong, like sheets of rock seen by a god with X-ray eyes. It was fairyland, yes, but the land of fairy fighters. And then that stretched thread of the sound of a human instrument, like brass, like a bagpipe, but an edge of a shred of the sound, drawn into a bright line, human concentration vanished to a point on the horizon. I was physically so present in that space that I was wanting to turn my face to feel its air, bolt upright at the edge of my seat, cracked from throat to navel, turning my face in an occult north I wanted never to leave. I didn't understand the movement. It was like a tribute to the quality of the place I could honor more because some human had built or found it. In great pain, was it? The other kind of pain that is a joy.

March 31

When I leave him I walk north toward the second bus stop. There is a second-hand furniture shop with an old green armchair on the sidewalk. I sit in it in the sun. The proprietor is talking to a young couple about a table. I sit and gaze. I'm quiet, on and on. I don't realize the proprietor has gone into the store until he comes back out and stands over me. "Oh, sorry, I forgot I was here." Is he looking annoyed? Doubtful. "It's a nice chair. Good price." I look under the cushion. "I can't afford it but I'll remember it fondly." He laughs. We laugh, looking each other in the eye.

April 20th

I saw something about perception yesterday. I had spent the morning, seven to twelve, going through the first notes I had on imagining. Just before David was to arrive at noon I saw something, and then there were a few moments when I was collecting myself to know that I had seen it. And then I felt it. At the heart. What? Fright & joy, but dimly. A pressure of feeling.

What I saw was why there is confusion about perception. The terms - representation, information, even presentation - are mediation terms, x presents y to z, or y is presented to z by means of x. Perception is mediated - light, space, eye - by various things between object and brain. The physical story is a story of how mediation works. But perception terms - see, hear, feel - are not mediational. X sees y. The seeing body is made so it disregards the medium, doesn't see it, ignores it, sees through it. Some of the media might be seeable, if we look at them, but then we're looking at them.

2nd May

I was breathing very loudly and didn't hear him get up. I heard his belt buckle, I could hardly hear his step but I heard the downstairs door open. My entire body was rushing, arms, legs, trunk.

Went on breathing, lying on the pillow. When I stopped I could feel particles in my head, confetti in front of my closed eyes. My hearing was changed. Something that might have been a sound in my head or might have been water in the pipes, quite a wonderful loud fibrous tone. I wasn't angry, I wasn't hurt. I'd said "You're a fake" in a factual way, speaking for myself, as I felt it. It felt like something I should do for myself to defend the body who had been crying & who I had been stroking and patting. I wasn't hurt or worried that he was gone. I was interested in the rushing, how hallucinogenic it was. I wondered whether it was something unlocking or just hyperventilation along with parts of sexing that had been going on all day.