Distribution Automatique

Wednesday, August 6


The less I live in an imaginary
future, the more I can commit
myself to an actual present. The
more I commit myself to my actual
present, the more I can see the
actual past. It may be that out of
*this* I'll find the puzzle about
"writing" (=actuality) more approachable.

I have so many things Iwant to *say.*
This is why I write. Experience is
a puzzle I have pondered on so
long that I needed an auditor, a
listener and eventually that became you,
dear reader (which includes*me*- otherwise
this would be possible, but not

Lately, I think more about the past.
Traditionally, of course, this was *the*
realm- the only acceptable realm-
of the writer. This changed, when writers
had a long history of imagining to
look back on - perhaps.

In writing, I lunged into the future-
in poetry, I began to love only the
timeless- but in part this detoured
me from seeing a more short term
future. The timeless- what is that
except the long term future linked to
the long term past.

What do I see in this past? I see
a confusion of motives, a mixture of
longings which constantly interfered with
each other. I see an attraction for the
unknown, and a partial addiction
to the unknown. The problem with the
unknown is that it enticingly draws
me away from acknowledging the known.
It turns me away from the known,
in a way- making the known appear
pedestrian, commonplace. What interfered
with this compelling formula, little
by little, was my taste for knowledge.
And knowledge is the known, even the
commonplace, everyday known, the simply

Why did I deride this *thereness* so
long - and in what way do I turn
back to it now? Because if I *commit*
myself to upholding parts of it, whole
areas of the actual, then I want to
know even more about them. And this is
another path of knowledge, besides driving
headfirst into the available pathways of
exploring the unknown directly. Poetry
is one such way- psychoanalysis another.

There is an accumulation of knowledge
that comes, willy-nilly, with committment.
It is the kind of knowledge borne out of
unflagging attention. Such attention is
not forced. It is a product of affiliation
and proximity. One must hurry to know
things on a visit because no matter
how much time is allotted, it is
durational, by definition. But the time
of committment, like the timeless world
of the unknown, is limitless. And
even then we must hurry, because even
in the larger time of committment, life
itself is a duration. I think Emerson
put it- how could we kill time
without injuring eternity? But this is
untrue, because revery is invaluable and
is a form if killing time. But in a
larger sense, Emerson is right. The
form we give to eternity, is the form we
give to time.

And I thought the past is past- but I was
wrong. I needed to get it behind me, in
order to make things possible again. But
I forgot that my past still belongs to
me. I could forget this, because in my
mind I gave it over to the others that
have dwelled in it so long. I could not
write about them, because my past belonged
to them. But now that I have become able
to commit myself to a few activities and
people I feel certain about now, little
by little my past is becoming my own
again. It's like welcoming back an old
friend Iwas never sure of. Welcome
back old partner- I will never turn my
back on*you* again.

I was remembering my first marriage. How
demanding I was! How much I expected of
her! My ambivalence must have been
*infuriating*. When we met, I loved literature.
Then I turned to psychology. Later, she also
did. We went to the same therapist, dear X.
He was barely a few years older then both of us-
and apparently just as confused! This was a
bit of bad luck I payed dearly for. And yet,
in his way he tried to tell me about
committment by exemplifying it. But for a rash
young man, this was not enough. LIke so
many others he made Freud into a strong
father- when what psychotherapy must teach
is to be our own strong father. Subtly,
he conveyed aspirit of authoritarianism
from which I rebelled- and missed his