Another evil flower
Mallarme only lived to be forty-four. I am not sure how what correlates to modern lifespans, the life expectancy of the average bon vivant in nineteenth century Paris couldn’t have been very long, even though Victor Hugo lived through most of the century. Even so, forty-four seems young to me, cut down before he had to confront the true cost of life well lived – eventual decline and passage on, out of this reality into whatever comes next.
It has been two weeks now and I am still thrilled by this machine, my Dell Windows 8 Tablet. Typing is still a little slow but my accuracy is getting much better. Got it loaded with a nice supply of magazines, a movie that I am going to try to watch (The Seminarian), a handful of records (from which I will extract my favorite songs to a new songbook), and three book lists.
My reference books are The Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, The Oxford Companion th Philosophy, and The Norton Anthology of Poetry. My current folder contains volumes that I am currently working my way through: Badiou’s The Rebirth of History, Belk’s Biology for Life, The Windows 8.1 Bible, Mallarme’s Collected Poems, Peterson’s Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels, Teach Yourself Visually Windows 8 Tablet, and Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. My dock folder has a whole bunch of stuff that I am looking forward to working through.
I remember discovering Mallarme’s Dice Thrown while I was floating around in French culture and language and becoming transformed, transported to an alternative reality, I got an intimations of the true beauty of Plato’s Theory of Forms.
The next morning
Beautiful morning, but that’s to be expected in the desert southwest. A blustery Winning-the-Pooh kind of day is the rarity, the rare flower in a perpetual garden that is to be cherished when it finally decides to bloom. The magnificent glory of near perpetual sun and clear skies appeals to the optimist that I am at heart.
Of course, my optimism is conditional, irrational. Exceptional is the hope with which I greet each day, a faith not founded on proofs or commands but the acceptance of a promise and an honest, willful life lived sincerely seeking always to do as God wills.
Finding Mallarme’s Collected Poems and Other Verse (Oxford, 2006) was a wonderful thing. I am sure somewhere in all my boxes of books I still have my Mallarme, the volume in which I discovered, simply by turning a page, a marvel whose mysteries fascinated me and into whose icy depths I plunged like those crazy people I see on TV, diving into a hole in the ice of a large body of water. The shock to my awareness was instantaneous and thorough, it rocked the very foundation of all those psychic systems that maintained until that point an entity that I had thought was myself, and really was just not entirely.
I even remember how I got into it. First the note explaining that the translation isn’t face to face but follows because the poem has to seen as a whole. I had been working hard on learning to read French and so I followed the large print as I took a few seconds letting my mind absorb each two page spread as a whole. When I got to the translation I read a little deeper, let the odd word or phrase catch my attention.
The visual worked because it was, for me, the first time I had ever encountered such a marvel. I dove into it, read the translation slowly, word by word, phrase by phrase, thought group by thought group. I realized that God had done me the favor of giving me earlier a fascination with Roland Barthes whose writings on writings gave me a handle with which I was able to pry open Dice Thrown and take my own treasures therefrom.