grist

 

Thursday, July 25, 2002
And when they went to the windows there clashed beyond the howling, bristling mob of the world: collectors of deliquent bills knocking at the doors, moneyhounds, makers of war, killers, thieves, beggars, fringers, imitators, the chic; the eternal daily human traffic at their windows. Yet they knew that they too, were among the crowd outside their own windows, that they were on both sides of their windows: outside: their own enemy come to remind them of their brotherhood; inside: two people saving back, like thieves, a stolen redemption.

Another from Goyen, describing a pair of lovers in an apartment as a destructive mob gathers outside. His rhythm here, and the progression is wonderful--"the chic" in particular is lovely. And his idea of their kinship, of those aspects of themselves, of their internal conflict mirrored in the world outside brings a real richness to their struggle. Often, I think, especially in more philosophical fiction there is an impulse to set up allegory that functions like chess: a=trait 1, b=trait 2, set pieces in motion and watch conflict resolve appropriate to my belief system. Edward Said wrote (in a passage, I believe from his autobiography, and that I'm kicking myself for not writing out because I think of it often) about his own nature as a set of streams that well up and recede, so that there is a consistency (the same set of streams) as well as fluidity, and that there are moments when one or another is dominant, and others when it is muddled, dilute.

This drew me to the idea of rivers within the ocean (like the one Kane tracks) and the maps of the sky that the Doctor attempts to make, as well as the molten rivers that have shaped the rift valley and the islands--the complexity that lies within what we perceive as uniform--and that we desire to be uniform in order to give our poor struggling brains some chance for rest and at the same time point to the limits of our understanding of the things that lie directly before us and around us.



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