Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I enjoy close textual reading of literature of the kind we did at college in English 11, intro to studies.  An interpretation might hang on a particular word or a phrase.  Here, for example, the 'threatening verticality' of a young woman's apartment to the married man means something in particular crucial to understanding an Updike short story, as we learned studying with Professor DeMott.

But I have to wonder.  Considering the creation of a literary piece, and probably even the reason why the species writes, I see writing as coming out of a place that sees its own meanings, deeper, subconscious, secretive promptings that are discovered through writing them out.  We grasp and wrestle, we try to find an appropriate form, maybe a poem, or maybe trying a Hollywood story line even, who knows, maybe a longer work.  With each attempt we come up with something speaking of a here, a there, a moment, a mood, and in that success, we will feel that we made a good attempt, but that to a large extent all we can do with conscious words and statements is to circle in on something, come close, closer than if we didn't try to say something about it.

And maybe that which is deeper, which we must always try to find, pinpoint to a satisfaction, can never really be said, at least in a logically convincing away.  There's always something like that vague sense of a morality, like the morality of the current Pope, or of Franciscan humility, that strange love for humble things, animals, plain miserable people without good position, a love of deeper reality.  Our words might be clever, but must mutely address our dreams, so combatting native cynicism.

Here we are left on the same playing field as the cat, the dog, the bird, the elephant, the whale, or any other animal or beast, even those who might only gesture at best.  Words go far, but not far enough.  Words are a way to get to that big blank high thing we all have in us, call it love, or understanding, or other things we might be embarrassed to admit, sitting close to the living fire within that leads us on.

So is there the stuff that lies under all of mature Chekhov, and probably immature Chekhov as well, the deeper empathy, compassion, spiritual sentiment, love, that lies under the religious system.  Yes, the barroom is full of conflated wine-tweeked moments where egos come out, but...  That literary curiosity would even go there to such a story-lineless idle place...

An act of understanding, literary and worded, must invoke the inner world of the soul equally, go beyond the specifics and the explicit.

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