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[W r i t e r' s N o t e b o o k]

I get nostalgic when I have to go down to the local bookseller and sell a few volumes to tie me over. There is the feeling of some unfinished business. I cull the possibilities out of the volumes I see until they form a continuity that I don't want to lose. What was I after in this particular volume? That is the final question I ask myself as it slips into the hands of the clerk.

I have encountered a tremendous amount of envy. Some of it I understand.

Speaking of bookstores, I always get in trouble when I'm in one or a library for that matter. A great immovable feast of many desires wells up. What does the tongue of the mind want to savor? Here are novels on one side. In the mishmash of garbage are a few, precious gems. The effort one must make is embodied in completed books by authors long dead. Gems in the mud and how one celebrates when one is found!

It's the desire to immerse in what one feels enlarges, reconciles, propels one toward the life everlasting. No commentaries. Philosophy. One would like to study philosophy. The desire to learn to think in a wise way without, I suppose, becoming a wise guy.

The intelligent heart!

History, yes. History of an idea, of a people, of a country, of a country, of a science. The historian is an agent for continuity. Hail the agent of continuity! They usually talk about their own time, their own cloistered existence in some tower, express some experiment currently fashionable that he abstracts from another discipline and applies it to the documents of the past. So be it. Through all the flaws you shall see! The spirit of things either lives in one or doesn't.

Pray to God that the spirit of things lives in you.

* * * * * * * *
Last night Emmanuel Kant appeared in my dream. Someone in the future had discovered my own work and commented on it.

The recklessness of a life can make interesting discoveries. I had accidently met an adamantly anti-military type. He had a group of anti-military types around him. I wasn't anti-military but I had had doubts and the doubts were enough to plunge me into this group for a time. Was I truly anti-military? I couldn't believe that. It did represent a failure in the ideal world but an utter necessity in the real one.

There are people who ooze a kind of hatred from their pores even as their faces and speech make an attempt to try and control what is coming out.

I interpret many of my dreams as the everlasting conflict between growing identity and the multiplication of all its decisions through the world.

To take a perfection and then complain about the falling away of the present in comparison is common enough. But, to take up the perfection in oneself and live them in the present world is an act of courage.

* * * * * * * *

A good art is hard and insistent because it has taken on responsibilities abdicated by most everyone and "everyone's representative."

The artist says now, "you people, come to us and entertain us. Make us smile. If you are good I will complete you through my work. If you are bad I will condemn you to the future."

Unlike the wrathful woman, the artist has endless dreams he is able to weave and puts them to the test.

Necessity flows effortlessly out of rationalizations like an old wound, received.

* * * * * * * *

In America, contradictions are a way of life. A 'type' rises up, is superseded, fused, annihilated, born again, sentimentalized: The 'cowboy', 'Indian', 'businessman' 'frontiersman.' At one end is the reality and on the other end is a sentimental image used to sell products. The writer needs to scrape all of this to the deeps where are found the currents of an inheritance. At the bottom of this inheritance is the seed of imagination. Out of the seed is a dyospora of traits limited and pushed every which way by social, political, geographical considerations. A man born of Norwegian blood can't help but feel compelled toward the Ice-lands of Canada and Alaska, say, without knowing a word of Norwegian or even having any connection with it. No matter how fastidiously he dissociates him or herself from this fact and identifies completely with 'being an American' he can't escape living out a great deal of the inheritance. Much of it has to do with the folklore of the family group, passing down stories of how and when grandpa and great grandpa came to this country; their struggles, difficulties, successes.

In France or Germany or Italy the artist can exhaust the myth of his national inheritance completely. He can even refute it, knowing what he is refuting. But, there is a distinction that doesn't work in America. Contradictions abound and abound. That is, if one believes that a 'nation' is an essential fact. It does seem to make some difference.

I believe that 'nation' is a fact. It was a fact which evolved out of an Idea. That fact is made solid by attacks as 9/11 demonstrated.

* * * * * * * *

The sharpness in art is determined by the time one lives in. In a particularly dumbed-down one the artist has to struggle a bit more to gain that sharpness but will find it since anything connected to the time one lives in is, in fact, the time. The feeble attempts to cut our time from all other times has failed. There is an art and skill to the ability to connect without becoming a puppet to the whims of some distant time.

Our mysticism consists in the very fact that what occurred three thousand years ago or three hundred is a living moment for us. Whether it is for others is irrelevant. And we don't try to convince them of anything.

Parenthetically, what will determine one's relation to the time one is issued into is the vain, rather pejorative nature in oneself but no need to punish oneself about it. You ask yourself some rather simple if not embarrassing questions. Does this art, thought, inspire one? Does the art, thought, take away precious moments? Will this art, thought make oneself better -ie. will it sharpen the sense- will it sharpen the feeling life- will it sharpen the intellect? If it dulls these then close the eyes.

Ignorant, we construct little schemas of fear, so that a memory will remain. We have no faith in the fiber of life that is eternal.

Being a composite mind the 'modern' mind seeks to place his old memory as artfully as possible in his present mind; rather than the old primitive way of dying an essential death to the old memory and being initiated into a new one.

People will forget and perhaps this is a good thing. Except they forget so much they end up re-living their lost memories.

The writer had a quintessential fight with a woman. "I have come into the world in order to pull the splinters together into fair, fine oak." I tell her this to explain why I don't care about her neurotic problems or, as she says, issues.

"I laid myself open to the knives of others because I knew the knives have been sharpened on the stone of humiliations and limitations. Yet one knife burrows deeper than the rest."

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David Eide 
© 2000 David Eide. All rights reserved.