and glow and blaze and fade and disappear

     Samuel Beckett on Finnegans Wake:
     "Here form IS content, content IS form. You complain that this stuff is not written in English. It is not written at all. It is not to read - or rather it is not only to be read. It is to be looked at and listened to. Joyce's writing is not about something; it is that something itself... Here is a savage economy of hieroglyphs. Here words are not the polite contortions of 20th century printer's ink. They are alive. They elbow their way on to the page, and glow and blaze and fade and disappear."
     It strikes me that this was written in 1929. To think that the overwhelming majority of work that is being published now (in both microzines and macrozines), 80 years after a comment like this and a book like FW, is still not much more than "printer's ink," is baffling. Our need for comfort, for familiarity, to vacation where others have vacationed, to go to the same restaurants, cafes, to write the same books and movies, story and syntax is strong indeed. Every one of these works is disposable. Every era is, of course, inundated with mediocrity, so strong is our need to communicate and be understood. The degree to which we repeat ourselves is nauseating.
     Grahm Greene has said that "when we are not sure, we are alive." To be unsure is the way, I'm sure of it.

No comments: