[W r i t e r' s N o t e b o o k]
The writer is a true American since he talks too much and talks around what he should embody. Well, the American writer has to face the fact that 99% of all literature, literary forms and so on were developed out of tyrannical, elite societies. The writers, themselves, struggled with this, but their audience certainly didn't. The audience was quite happy with the situation. Everything was written for those who ruled. It's only been in the last several hundred years that this relation has changed. After all, who rules? There are strong and powerful individuals but there are even more powerful classes of people. And the processes of rule are powerful. So, who does one write for? When I started to understand this I no longer moved in a society, described by my formal education, but in a living form both beneficent and malevolent. It had to be understood on its own terms. But, it couldn't be understood on its own terms. Looked at on its own terms and it seemed bankrupt and stupid. Having the belief in itself that it would progress and so forth it simply prepared for some of the worst tendencies of the tyrannical past.
One of the worst tendencies in a writer is to pander to the academics. What the writer must ceaselessly strive to attain is the core of his own work, then build-out from the core if the truth permits it. Then the protection of a perilous growth period. And finally, how to let go. Academics don't teach these things. The writer learns these things in the glory hole where he is transformed from a liquid to a solid.
No, a threshold is reached and then it becomes only the man and his work. Everything that does not add-to or teach how- to build from the core is superfluous.
There is a time when the present is a grotesque and mangled shape and we retreat.. Ultimately, one returns and lives in the present. Even the idea of eternity must articulate itself through the present. Anything less is an evasion.
We live in a fast world where the development of the individual is, predictably, slower than that of machines.
The writer has to confront the fact that the machines often advance more than the humans. Comedy and tragedy are embedded in the thought. He had read all about how technology dominates modern imagination, its mystery. He believed it to be the cause of most bad things and believed writers needed to burnish imagination and language to fight the scourge that would create a new and terrible myth. He came to the terrible realization that if people did not understand what structured their minds, then they became the slaves to the fantasies of others. The feeling of this had initiated all kinds of rebellions without the necessary knowledge to actually free oneself from the effects. But then, technology was only one source of effect and was becoming more and more absorbed into human sensibility.
In his naivete the writer viewed this as teetering between catastrophe and opportunity.
Another large effect of the modern world was knowledge of the nation state, its coherence, the variety of its myths, its systems, its demi-urge, its necessity. America had to do with creating history all over again while having full access to human enrichment and achievement. Can the myth survive its necessity as a nation-state?
There were the gargantuan effects of nuclear-war fear and environmental fears to throw into the pot. And yet, on green days there was the splendid body of the Earth, solid and real from the depths of space. A transcendent presence among the darkness.
The writer came to the conclusion that poetry was for creators, novels were for critics. Novelists were critics of life whereas poets were attempting to construct a new world using the raw material at hand.
There is nothing more profound than the shift in loyalties.
Intimacy brings us worlds but, as well, takes away worlds. There are brilliant shadow plays on the old walls of youth. But then, intimacy proves (above all else) that attitude is all; attitude determines whether we love or kill. Attitude determines the intimacy of the citizen as well as the lover.
When the woman finally realizes that pleasure can be given as well as taken, ah! a change appears in her eyes. Why use words to open the bitter and lovely fruit? Why not wild gestures and the laughter of the body?