Wednesday, September 3, 2014

From  Times Magazine blog essay by Karl Ove Knausgaard, "I Am Someone, Look At Me," June 10, 2014:

"This childish need to be exalted, which became uglier and more pathetic the older I grew, and which, based on what I’ve written so far, it doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to realize was nourished by shame and self-hatred, now suddenly met its opposite, for what I discovered when I began to write my first novel was that I could disappear in my writing. The self, and all the difficulties and pain associated with it, vanished. I had always disappeared when I was reading — that was almost the whole point of reading for me, to be no one for a few hours. Now it happened while I was writing. To disappear in that way, to enter a state of selflessness, is something I believe every musician, painter, actor, director and writer knows. It lies at the very base of creation. Like no other medium, literature is able to break the boundaries erected by society. It speaks with a voice influenced by all the other voices of time and literature. The paradox is that fame, which emphasizes the individual, is so closely linked to selflessness, which is the obliteration of the individual — that the desire to be seen is so closely linked to the joy of self-concealment."

This speaks volumes, to me at least, of catching a funny looking skinny creature staring back at you in a mirror;  it speaks of the liberating mode of art, a mode escaping that awkwardness of your own self and actions;  and I suppose there's also something Buddhist about it, related to the technique of meditation.  And if you let it, the observation allows an explanation of a lot of things, why you did you what you did, somewhat related to the Scandinavian attitude Knausgaard's piece makes reference to, or why you ended up as a bartender, escaping yourself for a while, often having it directly reinforced how people carry around their selfish self-based illusions, like the remodeling of a kitchen in no one ever cooks in, the dating experiences, the projects, the careers, to which, seriously, one might indeed want to say, who gives a shit...

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