Friday, November 25, 2011
Into the Matrix?
Perhaps one doesn’t forget events, but it’s easy to lose hold of what they meant to one at the time, and the precious details. Never was this plainer to me than yesterday, when I happened to glance inside a notebook from five years ago. It’s in a large page-size and heavier than the handy ones I take around these days, so it’s lain neglected, half the pages still virgin. Its hard covers have proved handy as a base for cutting out shapes with a knife, so its silvery surface is a mess of scars exposing dull grey cardboard. I never thought the content could be of any interest now. I thought it was like my other old notebooks: worthless scribbles. At least that was the reason I threw them away.
I came across a series of entries, starting with one written idly on a flight to Holland, to pass the time. It was the beginning of a strange adventure, one I’ve ignored since as rather fruitless. But reading back what I wrote at the time, it takes on a different flavour, one which may be worth sharing. I’ll quote verbatim, with explanations in square brackets where necessary.
I note my reluctance to read—not just novels & newspapers but anything at all. It is as if they would pollute my brain. Same with thoughts. Even writing. Prefer to keep almost empty. Yet—emotions grip me!
Unless I can explain something in words, I am not sure if I understand it! Thought I had a frosted window but it was obscured by a sliding door.[must be a reference to the window on the plane.]
Who am I? Neo. Also the reader, also a member of a triangle, also the scribe. Also an interpreter. [Apparently, Neo is a character in a film called The Matrix, which I once saw, but cannot now remember at all. But my handwriting for once is quite clear on this point. I did write “Neo”. I think the following sentence relates to the adventure I was on my way to join. It had been set up to take place in Eindhoven over a period of five days. I understand “triangle” in the sense that there were to be three of us: two men and one woman. I wasn’t entirely clear why I had been invited. Hence my question “Who am I?” It may have meant “What is my role in the adventure?”] We are to make something new. We are to give attention and it is a kind of alchemic process, whereby something new is produced. Tell the story of my abandonment aged 5. [I’ve written this up here] The story of Elaine—how she got involved with this. & Bart too. We came together. And so did the reader [I still don’t understand this. I already knew Bart, but I hadn’t yet met Elaine. So what was I on about? I think I was already planning how to write up the adventure, before it had yet happened.]
Listening to people’s holiday reading [where? On the radio? Perhaps I saw myself as jotting down notes, to be filled out later in a more extensive piece of writing] I felt that everyone is avoiding the issue of what it means to be alive. A listening void. That for each of us is shaped by one NEED. When I won a competition (well, not exactly) for my essay on “A journey you would like to make”.
I spent the night composing a wonderful book about Elaine, awaking with regret to discover it was only a dream. The piece I had written was a gem, summarising as it did all that was discussed and even thought, before we had gone our separate ways to bed last night.
I awake to a beautiful morning and a grateful awareness of Holland. Not only that, I’m on holiday. For me that means every little thing is special, both the new and the recognized, the old friends and the strangers. In reading or writing I savour every word: in time, every second—though it slips by imperceptibly. In sound, every bird-chirp through the window of this meditative attic, with its very own Rietveld chair [See top illustration, and click on it for information about its significance in art history, particularly in the movement known as De Stijl.] and its otherwise timeless Dutch good taste reflected in books, fittings, lamp, bed, works of art, even this desk. Several distant clocks severally chime the hour, and through the little window, I admire a brick-and-tile dovecote (or chimney, I know not which) and domestic architecture from I know not which decade, but which are proudly, unmistakably Dutch.
Why are there so many children’s books in this house, toys too? Modern toys of bright plastic. Yet chosen with the same care as everything else. They are available, they are in various rooms, but they are tidily put away. (Of course, no child in the house at present.) And Bart occupies a children's room.
[Later: there was no time to write more. We were in session! I had brought two pocket dictaphones, one as a spare, and 16 double-sided microcassettes.]
Day 1. Friday.
Tapes 006,005, Creativity, 002,001, 21-22, 23-24. [with vertical lines splitting these into 3 sessions]
Evening session side 22 starts in Dutch—quite a session about beelddenken. Sensory thinking / non-conceptual. focused.
[Click for a description of beelddenken. Elaine’s real name is on that page, but at this stage I am concealing her identity, Bart’s too. I know how to get in touch with him and may discuss whether he and she agree to come out into the open. It’s possible that in this way we might all three of us obtain closure; that the adventure might finally achieve its original intention. Who knows?]
Posted by Vincent at 3:45 pm