Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First as tragedy, then as farce

Sorry to quote dear old zizek but it's such a good title, and recent circumstances have reduced my wordsmith skills to pastiche.

this blog has always been about angst , so maybe my recent writers block is attributable to the lack of disaster/tragedy torment in my life. Apart from the odd #$%$%^FIVE HOUR %$*&$#$# COMMUTE from the north east tip of Hellbourne to the North west tip, things are pretty cruisy at the sapphic love palace.

Aside from the mundane joys of birdlife, moonlit cycles, the cat, my wife, the garden, books, art, flowers, veggies, cuddles, love, sex, porn, fruit and vulvas..... I've had some exquisite epihanies of late - I finally got to meet Alphonse Lingis, and hang with him at a masterclass, and afterwards at a cafe in Carlton. He's brilliant, generous and amazing as ever, and we spoke about EVERYTHING, and he loves birds, and....tonight I'll meet my wife at the same cafe en route to hear Luce Irigaray telecasting too.

And then Michael Taussig gave a series of events hosted by Monash uni- mostly promoting his last book - which was everything I'd hoped and building on his work that he discussed at UTS in 2005 - about Malinowski and colour. He said that his latest book, 'what is the color of the sacred' explores not so much the history of color but the color of history. Now why am I spelling 'color' yank style? because Taussig quotes isadora de seville in linking color to calor and the lack of a u ras home this point. and because Taussig, the expat australian now has a lovely noo yoik twang to his accent and meter, and phrases slide from him like some kind of cool-arsed poet - which in many ways, is what he is.

I'm still delighted at experiencing the bodily presence of the writers of words that I worship - their accents, eyes, hands, their gestures, lips and their sweat. The memory of these sensations inflect the richness of the words I read later.

So. I could write more about Taussig, but don't know where to start except to say that the book is everythink I'd ever hoped for in critical ethnography - exquisite, poetic, critical, historical, brilliant. The book is hard to find in Australia. Renaissance Wife bought me a copy online - but it is worth the angst of filling amazon.com coffers. It is brilliant.

I had to pirate huge chunks of my own copy to give to a friend - my favourite coloursmith ever, who is now... gasp.... err - what's the best euphemism? Facing the immanence of mortality rather intensely right now?

Dying is such a long, complex and multilayered process, that I don't know what to call dying, and what to brush over, fingers crossed, hoping that silence will ward it off.

Is terminal cancer an easier term to swallow than dying?

Dying seems more like the last gasps, the death rattle, the agonising body wracking parts where the dyee is reduced to an incoherent mass of flesh. Where pain takes over and destroys language, or thought, or an access to anything beyond the immediacy of flesh, pain, breath.

And my friend is not at that stage yet. He is still so wonderfully life affirming, intelligent and funny. Still so generous with his time and energy. Still so keen to reach out and grasp at any morsel of colour, life, brilliance. He doesn't want to die, but says that if he must, then he will die well. Dying well involves constantly turning towards the light, colour, warmth, ideas.

I brought him a coloured crochet quilt, fruit he'd never tried before and taussig, de certeau, bachelard. We laughed together, and hope to laugh again. Later I went to the cliffs, letting the sea and sunset embrace my sobs as I cried and cried. Whenever I'm faced with tragedy I feel desperate need to grab at soul food, good fruit, fresh vegetables, sydney harbour, plants, art, philosophy & human kindness.

This is such a bloody hard time. So much like last year with Renaissance Wife's mother. I dunno why I've had to bear witness to so much suffering recently. Dunno why the Melbourne trains can't run on time either.