1. Last week i finished the first draft of my temp memoir, 4.5.
The first 5000 words are by hand, the rest on manual typewriters. i now have two typewriters. A few weeks ago, taking a short cut through a company car park, Toddball & i sighted a skip and by the skip a battered black container. “I’m going to steal that box,” Toddball said in his Dillinger voice, and as we neared i saw it was a typewriter case. Without slowing he snatched it up and we walked purposefully, Michael Mann style, to the u-bahn station. There, we opened it to find this beauty:
“Do you want it?” i asked. “You know i already have one.”
“No, it’s for you,” he said. “I stole it for you.”
The previous user was a smoker and a blonde, as best i can judge. i used it to type the last few thousand words as it’s quieter than Monika and i was often writing after midnight. i love typewriters, though i will have to do a final version on the computer, if i want to Lulu that shit. 4.5 is structurally sound so unlike The Better Maker i can (i hope) get a good print version done before winter. i have no intention (or desire) of selling any copies but i want to have at least one old style book from all this temp misery.
2. i have bit by bit repaired all the things that broke at the start of the year; or most of them – the fob watch needs an entirely new mechanism, so i ordered a new. It gave me great satisfaction to sew a button back on my coat. i’ve also been smoking my new old pipes. Beguiled by pipe-smoking runefolk, i tried to smoke pipes back in 2007 but couldn’t work it out. Via youtube, i’ve learnt the art of packing and this makes all the difference. i am now quite the pipe smoker. As with sewing a button back on my coat (i’ve done it with shirts but it’s a bit different with thick coat fabric), there’s a distinct pleasure to learning a physical skill, the quiet engagement with physical things.
3. i don’t like computers because i’ve already lost a fair bit of writing to a corrupt data stick; because VDUs hurt my eyes; because i used them for 5 years at work. They don’t usefully resist. They lose data, act up, unscrupulously irritate – but they don’t bring me hard up against the actual difficulty of language. i type quickly so with a computer i am constantly editing and rewriting, so quickly i don’t even consciously realise it. With a typewriter i have to think. i can’t say i like thinking but it has its charm. Denken ist schwer. If you think too easily, too lightly, you are probably doing rhetoric instead of thinking.
4. There are two separate but interconnected worlds – the physical and the imaginative. When we feel anything, imagine anything, we create and access this other reality. It is veiled. Angels and UFOs, demons, gods are a way of apprehending this reality. Ideas have their own imaginative substance and persist after they are expressed. An idea – Roman Catholicism, for example – has its own independent reality; in the imaginative reality, it actually exists and would continue to exist for a while even if everyone who had heard of it died. Likewise Hell, angels, the Virgin, the Sacrament. And likewise Pallas Athena and Odin, for example.
Odysseus gives blood to summon the shade of Achilles. That is a good image for the relation between the physical and imaginative. It (seems) to begin in the physical and requires mortal sustenance. One could see it as akin to the AIDS virus, requiring human body temperature to survive – though with this difference, that Athena still exists. Perhaps this is why the old deities underwent so many transformations, with the hundreds (thousands) of Zeuses, not to mention the myriads versions of Christ.
5. i use my Kindle a great deal – for convenience and because i can’t afford or store some works, and others i already own but the book is in my ex-MILF’s garage and i don’t want to buy another. i’ve grown to prefer physical books, despite the convenience. i sometimes enjoy just looking at my books, smiling and patting my belly like a paedophile by the school railings:
i think that every physical object takes on an imaginative form, that is to say it has its own existence. It is especially vivid when it’s been imbued with emotion. Thus we sometimes feel that a house or car or weapon or whatnot has an “aura” to it; it absorbs emotion and thought. Sometimes it’s better to get something brand new. But there is a pleasure to 2nd-hand books: i have, in my ex-MILF’s garage, a 3-volume copy of Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, belonging to someone i knew in my last life (i bought it in 2001, long before i knew anything of this life, or even the name of the previous owner). i don’t remember seeing this book in my last life but it’s entirely possible i was in the same room as this book, or that my acquaintance mentioned it to me, perhaps mockingly, perhaps not.
i dare say my Kindle has some kind of imaginative form but it’s for me too general and vague. i’ve used it to read the Bible, Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, the Zohar, Thomas Bernhard, Byron, Wittgenstein, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, HG Wells, Richard Mitchell, GK Chesterton, Christopher Isherwood, Tom Brown’s School Days, Lovecraft, Dion Fortune, Colin Wilson. Perhaps it now has a right-wing, occult and tweedily English tinge to it but for me it’s so general as to have no “essence”; by contrast, when i pick up my copy of Dante’s Inferno, bought in 2009 to replace one that fell apart, i feel its distinct quality, its character and history.
6. i’m becoming steadily more analog as i age. i consider the technocratic fantasies of physical dissolution, leaving the body wholly behind:
the body slumped before the screen, all corporeality reduced to a darkness given shape only by light from the gnostic pleroma, that realm of transcendence from which bodies are exiled: — the heaven of glass
this does not excite me. It’s not so much that i’m old-fashioned as that i sense the power of physical things, that the imaginative reality in some way requires the physical. Each spiritual force desires physical incarnation in physical form; each physical artefact has its corresponding spiritual force. i don’t want to live as an imaginatively etiolated, stunted creature, solely reliant on the non-physical for my imagination. It would be better to be wholly non-physical, with the range and perception of the truly incorporeal, than to be a physical being denying the physical with computers. Without physicality – and by that i don’t mean what minimal physicality there is to electronic data – the imaginative is skewed and frantic and enfeebled. We bring our spiritual force into being through physical engagement.