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“Maybe we should think of memory itself as a work of art—and a work of art is never finished, only abandoned.”

THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.

Extracts from the The Keeper of Flocks by Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa)

The work of the poet Alberto Caeiro, Fernando Pessoa’s heteronymous, is a philosophy without philosophy. One that puts into question the cultural tradition that “covers” thought: philosophy, poetry, mysticism, religion. It does so by returning to nature in a way that implies an absence of meaning, concepts, knowledge structures and prejudices that distort the look of things, the experience of Nature and feel of Reality. Because it deals with an unlearning, Caeiro turns to the simple, not-thinking, almost to the absence of the word.

IX

I’m a keeper of flocks.
The flock is my thoughts
And my thoughts are all sensations.
I think with my eyes and with my ears
And with my hands and feet
And with my nose and mouth.

Thinking about a flower is seeing and smelling it
And eating a piece of fruit is knowing its meaning.

That’s why when on a hot day
I feel sad from liking it so much,
And I throw myself lengthwise on the grass
And shut my hot eyes,
And feeling my whole body lying on reality,
I know the truth and I’m happy.

X

The frightful reality of things
Is my everyday discovery.
Each thing is what it is.
How can I explain to anyone how much
I rejoice over this, and find it enough?
To be whole, it is enough to exist.

XXI

If I could take a bite of the whole world
And feel it on my palate
I’d be more happy for a minute or so…
But I don’t always want to be happy.
Sometimes you have to be
Unhappy to be natural…

Not every day is sunny.
When there’s been no rain for a while, you pray for it to come.
So I take unhappiness with happiness
Naturally, like someone who doesn’t find it strange
That there are mountains and plains
And that there are cliffs and grass…

What you need is to be natural and calm
In happiness and in unhappiness,
To feel like someone seeing,
To think like someone walking,
And when it’s time to die, remember the day dies,
And the sunset is beautiful, and the endless night is beautiful…
That’s how it is and that’s how it should be…

(3/7/1914)

XXIV

What we see of things is things.
Why would we see one thing as being another?
Why is it that seeing and hearing would deceive us
If seeing and hearing are seeing and hearing?

The main thing is knowing how to see,
To know how to see without thinking,
To know how to see when you see,
And not think when you see
Or see when you think.

But this (poor us carrying a clothed soul!),
This takes deep study,
A learning to unlearn
And sequestration in freedom from that convent
Where the poets say the stars are the eternal brothers,
And flowers are penitent nuns who only live a day,
But where stars really aren’t anything but stars,
And flowers aren’t anything but flowers,
That being why I call them stars and flowers.

(3/13/1914)

XXVI

At times, on days of perfect and exact light,
When things have all the reality they can,
I ask myself slowly
Why I even attribute
Beauty to things.

Does a flower somehow have beauty?
Somehow a fruit has beauty?
No: they have color and form
And existence only.
Beauty is the name of something that doesn’t exist
I give to things in exchange for the delight they give me.
It means nothing.
Then why do I say, “Things are beautiful”?

Yes, even I, who live only to live,
Invisible, they come to meet me,
Men’s lies in the face of things,
In the face of things that simply exist.

How difficult to be yourself and see only what you can!

(3/11/1914)

XLIV

I suddenly wake up in the night,
And my clock occupies the whole night.
I don’t sense Nature outside.
My room is a dark thing with vaguely white walls.
Outside there’s a quiet like nothing existed.
Only the clock goes on with its noise.
And this little thing of gears on top of my table
Smothers the whole existence of the earth and the sky…
I almost lose myself thinking about what this signifies,
But I come back, and I feel myself smiling in the night with the corners of my mouth,
Because the only thing my clock symbolizes or signifies
Filling the enormous night with its smallness
Is the curious sensation of the enormous night being filled
With its smallness…

(5/7/14)

Michio Kaku

“Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfill the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfill whatever dreams are within our capability.

Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.”

I have a friend,  who’s a writer. And he says that his writing is the antidote to the chaos of the world around him. I think, that’s a good description. He retreats into that world.

That becomes more important to him than the world he sees. I suppose, some people might not think that’s such a great thing but he thinks it is. It’s all real, it’s just what you choose to establish as the core of your being.

He makes the core of his life – oh, an act of imagination. Is it escape or is it liberation? I don’t know. You tell me, I don’t know, I have no idea, I don’t know anything about these things. For him, that person, writing – is a, um – it’s a reso – resolution of his life. It makes his life solid and real. Without, without that the world would overwhelm him with its chaos. So is it escape to become sane? Or – or is the insanity of the world – so which is the escape? I don’t know.

Philip Glass

philip.glass.2

Jean Dubuffet

                     
                    
                                                                       Apartment houses ,Paris, 1946
I have always directed my attempts at the figurative representation of objects by way of summary and not very descriptive brushstrokes, diverging greatly from the real objective measurements of things, and this has led many people to talk about childish drawing…this position of seeing them (the objects, fh) without looking at them too much, without focussing more attention on them than any ordinary man would in normal everyday life..
   
         
Character, 1944
People have seen that I intend to sweep away everything we have been taught to consider – without question – as grace and beauty; but have overlooked my work to substitute a vaster beauty, touching all objects and beings, not excluding the most despised – and because of that, all the more exhilarating….

I would like people to look at my work as an enterprise for the rehabilitation of scorned values, and, in any case, make no mistake, a work of ardent celebration….

I am convinced that any table can be for each of us a landscape as inexhaustible as the whole Andes range… I am struck by the high value, for a man, of a simple permanent fact, like the miserable vista on which the window of his room opens daily, that comes, with the passing of time, to have an important role in his life. I often think that the highest destination at which a work of art can aim is to take on that function in someone’s life.

                                   
 A little secret that I have sought for a long time by way of a fortuitous encounter quite unrelated to the matter: for example six months I try to draw a camel in a way that satisfies me, and I make a thousand attempts without ever managing to do it. Then one day it is a drawing of a plump on the label of a pot of jam or the shadow thrown by an ink pot, or something or other equally unrelated to the matter that provides me with the solution. This kind of thing has happened so often that I have acquired the habit of always being on the outlook, and when I want to draw a camel I no longer limit myself, as I once did, to looking (only, fh) at camels…
                                                          
                                                                                             Il flute sur la boss (1947)
On Art Brut: Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.
                             
                                                                                                           more here

Aplastamiento de las gotas- Julio Cortázar.

I don’t know, look, it’s terrible how it’s raining. It’s raining all the time, dense and gray outside, here drops, dull and hard, come against the balcony with a splat!, squashing themselves like slaps piling one onto another, how tedious. Now a droplet appears just at the top of the window frame; stays there quivering against the sky, shattered into a thousand subdued glints, about to fall down but won’t fall, still won’t fall. It holds on tight, all nails, doesn’t want to fall and it’s clear it grips with its teeth while its belly grows bigger and bigger; it’s now a majestic drop hanging there, and then plonk, there it goes, splat, undone, nothing, only a clammy something on the marble.
But there are those that kill themselves and surrender right away, sprouting in the frame whence they jump off outright; I can even make out the dive’s vibration, their little legs falling off and the inebriating scream in the fleetingness of the fall and their annihilation. Sad, gloomy, despondent drops, plump and gullible drops. Good-bye drops. Good-bye.I don’t know, look, it’s terrible how it’s raining. It’s raining all the time, dense and gray outside, here drops, dull and hard, come against the balcony with a splat!, squashing themselves like slaps piling one onto another, how tedious. Now a droplet appears just at the top of the window frame; stays there quivering against the sky, shattered into a thousand subdued glints, about to fall down but won’t fall, still won’t fall. It holds on tight, all nails, doesn’t want to fall and it’s clear it grips with its teeth while its belly grows bigger and bigger; it’s now a majestic drop hanging there, and then plonk, there it goes, splat, undone, nothing, only a clammy something on the marble.
But there are those that kill themselves and surrender right away, sprouting in the frame whence they jump off outright; I can even make out the dive’s vibration, their little legs falling off and the inebriating scream in the fleetingness of the fall and their annihilation. Sad, gloomy, despondent drops, plump and gullible drops. Good-bye drops. Good-bye.

” There are several reasons for the growth of interest in jewelry making.

Probably foremost among them is that many people have discovered the pleasure and sense of achievementthat accompanies the activity of inventing and creating an object.

It matters little whether the motive for this activity is to pass leisure time pleasantly; to preserve mental health through absorption in meaningful work; to enjoy the vanity of decorating the body; to engage in a remunerative occupation that pays the rent and fills the stomach; or attempt to achieve approval and fame.

Regardless of the motivation, craftmanship is the key that opens the door to the creative experience by which each of us, on any level of capability can realize the psychological and physical satisfactions which our minds and bodies require.”

IMG_6734

So much beauty in the world.

“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it… and my heart is going to cave in”.

 

The Apartment

 

 

Bud: Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.

The Moon

You can take the moon by the spoonful
or in capsules every two hours.
It’s useful as a hypnotic and sedative
and besides it relieves
those who have had too much philosophy.
A piece of moon in your purse
works better than a rabbit’s foot.
Helps you find a lover
or get rich without anyone knowing,
and it staves off doctors and clinics.
You can give it to children like candy
when they’ve not gone to sleep,
and a few drops of moon in the eyes of the old
helps them to die in peace.

Put a new leaf of moon
under your pillow
and you’ll see what you want to.
Always carry a little bottle of air of the moon
to keep you from drowning.
Give the key to the moon
to prisoners and the disappointed.
For those who are sentenced to death
and for those who are sentenced to life
there is no better tonic than the moon
in precise and regular doses.

Jaime Sabines

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