Distribution Automatique

Saturday, May 1

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

I'm not at all surprised to find so many delectable
essays by Hazlitt in a volume of his collected works
titled *Fugitive Writings*. Fugitive, I see now,
because they he had published them in various journals
but they remained uncollected by him.

One of the pieces, "The Letter-Bell" (published in *The Monthly Magazine*, March, 1831) connects the announcing sounds made by approaching mail coaches (horse-driven, of course) to the welter of emotions they
invoke in Hazlitt as they occur, or by his evoking their memory. As I read this with great pleasure, imagining his pleasure in hearing from others, including his editors and other readers, I'm thinking of how much I want to mention all this here. The simultaneity of these interconnected activities within their subsequently evoked internal images, and all the connected feelings is the subject not only of Hazlitt's essay, but the occurance in the present of my anticipation of blogging this as well. Then I realize how much this lightness of blogging I kept thinking about has to do with blogging's complex rearrangements of the correspondances between, reading and writing, publishing and republishing, writing and responding. I've been thinking of Jackson MacLow's appropriations in this regard- and the powerful, silent points they make in regenerating & energizing the equivalence of reading and writing, which bends round ("overlaps") into the equivalence of reader and writer, the foregrounding of one only leading to the silent presence of the other's absence, the words said aloud only leading to the implied occurance of the silent thoughts that precede, and surround the current moment of reading, the past moment of speaking, the future moment of thinking aloud, writing silently, reading again, saying again, again listening, again speaking to & with, again thinking within oneself.

So that whatever gravity occurs within the content,
forms & their deft shifts lightly lift all if it from its concavity into the present, quiet, Spring air, the keys and the blog screen, its breathed fragrances of thought and season.

{What had all those stormy fears been about, anyway, with
those jets crashing through air like so much lightning, day after day,
night after night. Then a subsiding, a great long hush, and an actual sudden death close by, right on this floor of this building; the death of a relatively young man, who left behind a young daughter and a wife. On the one hand the cherry blossoms, bursting with rebirth and rejuvanation, and on the other hand, the stormy clash of a silent voice splitting listening in two, a living, thinking, speaking person hushed into eternal quiet. On the one hand, the intertwining algebra of past, present and future, on the other, the conceivable, empty world of no-time.}

The unbearable lightness of blogging consists, right now at least, of two things: the temporal equivalence, the harmonic cancellation and confrontation between writing and reading, ending and beginning, having and sharing, saying and repeating, writing and publishing, hearing and reading, sounding and the gradual, inevitablle decay of sound into the light, blank, moonlit, silent Spring night.


"Complaints are frequently made of the vanity and shortness of human life, when, if we examine its smallest details, they present a world by themselves. The most trifling objects, retraced with they eye of memory, assume the vividness, the delicacy, and importance of insects seen through a magifying glass.There is no end to the brilliancy or the variety...As I write this the *Letter-Bell* passes: it has a lively, pleasant sound with it, and not only fills the street with its importunate clamour, but rings clear through the length of many half-forgetten years. It strikes upon the ear, it vibrates to the brain, it wakes me from the dream of time, it flings me back upon my first entrance into life, the period of my first coming up to town, when all around was strange, uncertain, adverse- a hubbub of confused noises, a chaos of shifting objects- and when this sound alone, startling me with the recollection of a letter I had to send to the friends I had lately left, brought me as it were to myself, made me feel that I had links still connecting me with the universe, and gave me hope and patience to persevere..."