Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shadow Worlds

House by the Tracks (M.A. Reilly, 2009)


I've spent the last few months mucking about in myths. Knee deep you might say. Some believe in religion. In science.  I believe in mythologies. In stories. In the sacredness of breath. Nothing less. No matter the myth or its place of origin, myths are energies that speak so directly that words are a type of sound and meaning gets (un)made through the repetition of sound.

We feel it, bone deep.


And here, I want to tell you--everything is connected.

We story ourselves, feel
story as verb, not merely noun.


There are no true meanings. There's just now.
Put aside your interpretations for they'll block your weariness.
They'll justify the content of war, greed, malnourished selves too over indulged
or sciences divorced from the very earth you and I will return to
regardless of the subterfuge of caskets and prayers.

Susan Sontag writes:
To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world— in order to set up a shadow world of “meanings" (p. 7). 
She's writing, in part, about art interpretation, but she could be writing about the limitations of learning at school, or the slow touch known so infrequently in less-awake lives.

We are buried beneath interpretation.


At schools, the powers insist upon close reading. An interpretive move that is to be applied against all that is read across all 13 years of school. Close reading is singularly about interpretation, about right readings of text--and this, alone, should give us pause.

Again, Sontag tells us:
For decades now, literary critics have understood it to be their task to translate the elements of the poem or play or novel or story into something else (p.8).

Yet, she tells us that the most alive art is the one with mistakes.
Perhaps the way one tells how alive a particular art form is, is by the latitude it gives for making mistakes in it, and still being good.


Art need not be about particular things--nor learning.
That was the first myth we forgot.


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