in silence here

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in silence here


There's an Assyrian Standard Inscription extolling the deeds of kings;this is a standard denouement of death, dispersion, and the breaking-downof networks. My father, our father, had died a week ago Tuesday; I've beenhere in Kingston, Pennsylvania, only since Saturday. We had an interment,a cremation next to my mother's coffin, two days ago. We've been clearingout the house, which means dealing with five thousand books dad hadcollected over the past century; he was born 97 years ago. Most of thebooks were bought over fifty years ago, when limited editions were cheap;they went up in value, down slightly again. Argosy and Swann are handlingthem. I've been going through books, through our parents' weddingannouncement, through wartime mementos, family histories and reminiscencesgoing back two centuries, teacups, swords and guns, bird prints, receiptsand broadsides, glasses and crystal and small carved wooden figures - andall of this, forming a network or skein of ill-suited and impossibleredundancy, in other words a network of _things,_ helping tear it apart,trying to retrieve whatever items I could, working alongside Azure and mybrother and his wife and others coming and going. Until the point of noreturn, when I can't sleep and walk the home late-night alone,neurotically photographing everything (like I play music, the labor of it,the labor of these _things,_ trying to capture-captive), ending numb andunable to conceive of playing the simplest note or writing the simplestscript - those I've already done, run into the ground - my mind focused on_this_ teacup or _that_ fountain pen - my grandfather's 32nd degree masonbadges, everywhere intimations of classicism that I can't identify with. Ilook for the cracks - Fox's Martyrs, Tortures and Torments of theChristian Martyrs, Anatomy of Melancholy, Quine's Quiddities, Celan, anAldus press book from 1514 working on the organization still, of the_printed book,_ Thomas Browne, Godwin's Essay on Sepulchres. I think myfather began with expansion, contracted quickly in the move from BrooklineMass to Kingston Penna with World War II along the way. I think I'mbeginning to understand a Monsieur Teste or Proustian way with him. Ishare certain interests - Sam Johnson and Byron to mention two, but I'vegone in a direction of philia, not phobia, where technology is concerned.

But I roam these walls/halls as now, unable to contain myself; oddly, it'snot the finality of deaths, of organisms, that upsets me so, so much asthe finality of the skein of things; this was a world I grew up in and nowI'm in the process of dismantling (with others), just as I had to putdown, with Azure, acknowledge the kill, of our first cat Boojum, whichbecause of proximity was the hardest death of an other I've endured. Iwant to read Kripke and others on possible worlds and natural kinds,again: is organism and coherency one or an other? Is there a possibleworld where these skeins remain intact, along with organisms with namesand naming, for millennia? Or does the entropic seize everywhere alonglines of flight, corralling and expelling debris repeatedly, there's noend to it?

The numbness. I'm stuck to the world.

I'm stuck to the world and recognize the _unique event_ might not be deathafter all, but the dissolution following death, the unreconcilabledispersion that sends everything, every object, every organism, beyond theuniversal Pale. In the end we're all mongrels and in the beginning we'reall mongrels.

Time moves slow throughout this process. I've been here 5.4 days, andalready an empire of the dead has been established and holds sway. I callpeople, write, people, thank people, I feel guilty if I write, like this,in the form of a group, but my energy drains faster than thought, and thehorizon of relevance Schutz describes is simply - _simply_ muted. It's nota process of decathecting, it's the opposite, a refusal to release theglue that holds the world together - never mind the bodies of organismswithin it. (One might wonder where is the net, virtuality, within this,beyond the physicality of routers and their _tubes,_ but that is anotherstory, another time, when I can _think_ again. Like Levinas in existenceand existents, exhaustion now determines the quality of my thought, andthe shudders, fears, night terrors, migraines, and nightmares undeterminethought's realm. Sometime in the future, I will be there, writing awayabout pain and its indescribability, the impossible of pain, the signifieras wound, and the impossibility of inscription. But not I try to hold ontowhat I think of only as text and textual process, thinking beyond thought,which is a basis for philosophy, once the shuddering slows and halts,temporarily, until it halts again.

On a practical level, I hope to return Sunday or Monday to New York,resume the Eyebeam residency full-time, prepare for playing on the 23/24/25/28 of this month, sort through the books I'm bringing back (includingJoseph Campbell's copy of Morte Darthur with Beardsley), find out where myembrochure has gone, and get back to Second Life/virtual worlds work. Theflood never got to our father's home although surrounding towns have beeninundated. There's mold everywhere. I'm online. Family relationships arerealigning. I'm thinking about Quine on negation, about negation, andthere's a start.

And thanks for putting up with all of this, and reading this far, if youhave, and there's the differend for you.

- Alan