Thursday, October 06, 2005


Henri Focillon, in The Life of Forms in Art (1942), pointing out the dangers of what he labels “evolution” (the “activity on the part of a style in the process of self-definition, i.e., defining itself and then escaping from its own definition”), what I’d be inclined to call “the eschatological trappings of avant-gardism”:
its deceptive orderliness, its single-minded directness, its use, in those problematical cases in which there is discord between the future and the past, of the expedient of ‘transition,’ its inability to make room for the revolutionary energy of inventors. Any interpretation of the movements of styles must take into account two essential facts. First, several styles may exist simultaneously within neighboring districts, and even within the same district; second, styles develop differently in accordance with whatever technical domain they may occupy.

Jonathan Lethem nails a feeling (like an animal skin) to the grim stretch-plank of the page (As She Climbed Across the Table): “the first pangs of my coming loss.”

“My heart, to put it more simply, got nostalgic for the present. Always a bad sign.”

Today’s C. Plinius Secundus sort falls under the title “Pontic Wormwood”:
And Cato affirmeth, that whosoever have the pontic wormwood about them, shall not be galled between their legs.
Pontic wormwood, also call’d Wormwod pontike, wormwod gentle, Absinthium santonicum, wormwode Romane, small leafed Wormwood, absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), garden or Cypres Wormwood, Tree Wormwood, and French Wormwood. See Thoreau, Walden (1854): “It was overrun with Roman wormwood and beggar-ticks.”

Did I ever relate the story of drinking absinthe with Wim Wenders, and playing Dimension (pinball, “middle-style” pre-digital machine) in the Royal Palm Tavern in Ithaca, New York? The difficulty there? Inebriation-fog lends it—the story—a second-handedness that saps any possible essence.

In a 5 a.m. revery: a man named Ford Ford rebuilt my guitar, ruining it. (Post-rebuild, it had a “flexible” neck, a multitude of whiny strings, and several whack’d C-clamps.)