Sunday, November 06, 2016

November 2

Yesterday  Nov 2  Va went to Larson’s for the EEG test.  We did that about two years ago?  Same young woman who likes riding motorcycles.  Larson has a new haircut, beard even bigger and fuller, comb-over still there but much diminished and the rest almost shaved off completely.   Looks better, really, even sort of hip by today’s fashions.  He said he thought Va looks better than ever and that this last event was nothing even though it was good to go to the hospital and take the cautious route. 
On the way to Concord I stopped here to drop off a package for UPS and learned that poor Mark has died that morning.  Talked with Barbara T about it, she was in shock, her business next door. 

We’ve been drinking “golden milk” each evening to encourage good sleeping, a recipe Va found on Facebook.  Basically a sort of Indian coconut-tumeric chai, heated.  I made some last night that was too strong.   All day yesterday and this morning I’ve had the urge to fast so am doing so today.  Is it a seasonal thing?  In November do we want to eat less, hibernate more?  Brad Pilon had a tweet on twitter and that reminded me of what he urges. 

Phil explains his use of the Whitman quotation---I must say that phrase is famous and I had never thought of using it in the way Phil does---“contain” as a defensive stance, against, it seems exploding from within. 

“I included the quote from Whitman's Leaves of Grass at the start of "Damaged Lives."  "It's usually quoted as "I am large.  I contain multitudes."  I included just the latter because my story was going to be about people who weren't the childlike victims of events that today's psychology insists people are, but, rather, were adults who could contain many disturbing thoughts and experiences within themselves.   Tim and Libby weren't children.  If they occasionally suffered PTSD, it didn't overwhelm them.  They contained it.”

Whitman’s sense I thought was expansive.  He turns it into a contractive sense of meaning.  Containing the damage, limiting the effects.   Hmmm
No response to my Schaumann anecdote.  Maybe I had told it to him before?

Maybe also I read Edmund White’s novel before.  I suspect so but cannot recall for sure.  Bugs me.  Few more pages in and I think not. 
Sped through the letters between Porter and Schaumann.  She certainly led him on, or they both deluded themselves and each other, perhaps because the war had just ended and everyone was wounded and needy and confused.  Not many of his letters.  He was only thirty-five.  Affair with an older woman, a famous writer now out in Hollywood.  Starstruck and in denial.  She was sympathetic to a young soldier with ambitions to write.  The letter-writing itself was the vehicle of romance. 

Friday am  Phil explains what I didn’t know about K A Porter---that she was a tough, hard-drinking broad.  Guess it does make the tale all the more sad.
his reply this morning---
My big scabs are slowly healing yet  last week got VERY itchy.  I tried several kinds of lotion but found that aloe vera was the only one that really relieved the itch.

Professor Schaumann sounds like a very sad, lonely man even if he knew Hamilton and K. A. Porter.  The latter, according to what I know, was a tough, hard-drinking broad.   Not exactly the kind to render some lonely guy some emotional support.  I also think he considered you a smart, sensitive kid and was looking for some positive feedback from you.   Did you really just say "thank you" and walk out?  On the other hand, I admit it must have felt more than a little uncomfortable.  Was the guy gay?  Married or single?  

This story comes across as rather sad.  

The inner experience of that whole tale is, I guess, what I don’t want to try to explain to anyone, try to tell.  I experienced it as another sort of illumination, an immersion in a bright warm glow of comforting light and a dropping down into it, into its bottomless depths, much like the experience of the yoga lesson had been in Ammendale.  Linked to my time in the hospital, linked to my whole spiritual autobiography as I suppose we would have to phrase it were it to be spun out as a more full narrative. 

While swimming---Schaumann’s relationship with Porter fits perfectly as patterns go with our own Hans and Mary M.  He must have been about 45 when he had a flirtatious romance with her, even lived with her for a while, until, Va says, she asked him if he really preferred men.  She might have been 5-7 or more years older?  So younger gay man romances older, tougher woman, a complete Jungian archetype counter-transfer going on, I suppose.  The anima in the gay man responding to the animus in the tough, hard-drinking older woman.  Son-mother, but moreso, romancing knight to the unavailable queen.  Courtly love.  And as the letters show, the delusion and then disillusionment for each. 

Sunday  Nov 6  Nicaragua club ladies came and planted the bulbs.  Starting to clear up.  Maybe if I write non-stop for three days, Hillary will vanquish Lump.  Maybe if I fast.  Maybe if I praise the surge in Latino women voters. 
“It has often seemed to me in England that the purest enjoyment of architecture was to be had among the ruins of great buildings.”—H. James
from Levi Stahl on twitter 
“The mind makes something out of nothing or turns something into nothing.  It adds to and subtracts from the sum of things.  What it find harder is to refrain from doing so. “   Paul Valery, Analects

Over my crush on Van Dusen.  Like most his late book, Returning to the Source because in there he is relaxed, warm, embracing all and everything and urging us to enjoy the mystical or contemplative life without worry about special techniques or special devotions or this or that practice.  It’s all good, all natural, and all leads to the same One.  Yet you can see how he and Swedenborg fit perfectly as exemplars of Jung’s or Myers-Briggs’ INTJ.  Clear demarcatiions and strict hierarchical structures.  Feeling gets its place but as the origin of Thought and Thought is superior and dominant.  Amazing how clearly they demonstrate the theory. 
So we’re still looking for a VanDusen of the opposite type.  Blake, of course, for the P and perhaps for FP.  But I’d like to find a contemporary or 20th C FP version of Van Dusen.  His work was a great reminder to me and woke me back up a bit.  Gary Lachman’s work is still the most vibrant and interesting I’ve got in tow now.  Kripal has faded as well although I must still look at the closing pages of Impossible. 
Sent Gary Lachman my three dumb questions.  Wonder if he will reply at all and how. 

Something strange about Kripal’s conclusions after all of his investigations into the paranormal, the roads of excess, the experiences of religion reported by the various writers he studies.  He decides hermeneutics, interpretation of texts, of narrative, is the key figure for the nature of the cosmos and our place in it.  “writing can become a paranormal practice.”  “An author of the impossible is someone who knows that the Human is Two and One.” 270
Ok, yes.  But isn’t this making of writing and reading something akin to the oversimplifications of any thinker---and can’t any human activity become a paranormal practice?  Why privilege writing? 

    “I sat at a sidewalk table of one of the cafés facing the Charléty stadium.  I constructed all the hypotheses concerning Philippe de Pacheco, whose face I didn’t even know.  I took notes.  Without fully realizing it, I began writing my first book.  It was neither a vocation nor a particular gift that pushed me to write, but quite simply the enigma posed by a man I had no chance of finding again, and by all those questions that would never have an answer.  . . .  A girl was walking under the leaves of the treese along Boulevard Jourdan.  Her blond bangs, cheekbones, and green dress were the only note of freshness on that early August afternoon.  Why bother chasing ghosts and trying to solve insoluble mysteries, when life was there in all its simplicity, beneath the sun?”  --Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences 180