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Page 233

So we've come back to the act of writing
as one empty mirror facing another, each filling up
with infinitely regressed reflections of emptiness
and a giddy resistance to falling in through
looking glass beyond looking glass ad infinitum.
(Does that describe network TV: infinity of ads?)

Here are some things that don't resolve the difficulty
of retaining sanity while spewing words onto pages:
Stop writing. (Writer, that's like telling a fish
to get out of the water.) Yes, we can talk away our ability
to have a world, but writing only about things (red
wheelbarrows, rain-slicked, petals on a wet black bough)
is, at best, a delaying tactic; at worst, an accelerant,
forcing chewy bits of world through the word-grinder.
The voices that want to supplant us can supply things
(often parodies of the things we know, like loved ones
in our weirdest dreams) as well as we can; and
(if the game is to dote on the most undeniably vivid image)
even more obsessively. It doesn't help to exclude objects,
to become a thinking machine (something else that
supplants us and our world); to be passionate (you think
your passions are your own? Perhaps some are,
but impostors crowd on all sides. If you are wise enough
to know your own passions – to know, for example,
when wife has merged with Mom and you with Dad --
then you have already solved this puzzle); nor does it help
to talk gibberish, let the mythically-endowed-with-wisdom-
or-vitality Unconscious pour out its slavishly unfree
associations – that is simply inviting a deluge of voices,
making a potluck of authenticity, a surrender likely to
plunge you rapidly to and below apathy, below death
(the body yet alive, but only as machinery) into syrupy
solemnity, hallucinatory binges of pity, regret, obsession
with bodies, rigid control, obedience, violence, solidity,
catatonia, the endless automatic possession of too many worlds
you desperately cannot have; you out here (out THERE),
separate from you, unable to approach that body (once
someone's), now obscured; you can see through it –
down there, at the far end of the room, its appendages
twiddling something – is that writing?

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