Some things are worth living for. Contrasting contradictions can be quite interesting to observe, and as I am a convinced poststructuralist I like to observe when, how, and under what conditions the narratives we tell ourselves shift lines and lanes. What we pay for such awareness and where we imagine that the limit line goes of the convergence of fantasy with reality are some other elements that can keep us entertained. Particularly what is lost in the process interests me, and whether what is lost can yet be seen as an expenditure currency for what is gained in the trace of what is lost. Today at work I had the opportunity to experience myself making two completely contradictory statements delivered with a lot of pathos and dehortatio. Supervising two groups of students in two different rooms and on two different topics, I said to the first group, writing on Deleuze: “by Jove, I believe in sublime love. Deleuze makes me vibrate.” To the others, writing on the films of Almodovar, I said, “off with their heads, all those who contribute to passing as commonsensical the idea that sublime love exists and that it is embodied by men who know how to act (upon it) and women who wait (for it to happen). Thank God for transvestites, even though they are never in power.”

I’m good with body language, being aware of my own and paying attention to others’. The Deleuzians wanted to know more about vibration and how it ties in with Deleuze as a philosopher and a creative writer at the same time. I demonstrated. I took a piece of paper, scribbled a geometrical figure on it and then slid it on my body; like one does with a perfume sample from a good fashion magazine. While you do it, you inhale the smell, which is thus not only transposed onto your body but also inscribed on it as a sensorial experience which combines cognition with emotion. Thus as I inhaled the ink, and thus inscribing the students’ attention within the proximity of my whole body, I noticed their faces. Their nostrils vibrated when I quoted Deleuze: "if one really fancies being a writer, one must first become a woman." Then and hence I could tell that the students were ready to believe everything I said. They were in the middle of experiencing a narrative shift in the making: from knowing to living; from epistemology to ontology; from elegance of thought to relishing its taste; from fantasy to reality and vice versa. Consequently their attention shifted from my metalanguage on Deleuze’s notion of the fold, baroque aesthetics, and Leibniz to my body-language. As my words were pouring at the speed of a rocket, they all had the sense that fluids were coming out of me, intersecting the lines which I drew on the paper, now resting on my chest, on my bare decoltée. “Wow,” the only female student in the group of 8 said, “you’re enacting Deleuze’s idea of Eros as an event.” Indeed I was. I WAS Deleuze BECOMING a woman. Ever so smoothly and flowingly (Deleuze was into fluids). The students had their pupils enlarged.

I told them that elegance in writing is not only about delivering sets of threes that are rounded off by a neat aphorism – a practice one can observe in Bertrand Russell, for example. Nor is it about formulating the ultimate foundation for this or that discipline. If elegant writing is to be experienced, it has to vibrate, resound and resonate on a sensual level. Formally, only a few tricks are required to make it smashingly interesting where style is concerned. And it helps if this style extends to your own body. I wore a white coat today, made by myself from scratch from a special thin paper-coated fabric and stitched on my two powerful (one an over-lock) stitching machines. I liked the coincidence of wearing paper on which one can inscribe as many shifting narratives one wants, when one has to talk about the implication of such acts for the writer or the lover or the decapitator. “What is the supreme writing act?” someone asked. I said: “to pronounce ‘whatever.’” To write ‘whatever’ as the punch-line to the conclusion that whichever way we go, it doesn’t really matter. There is a lot of power in ‘whatever,’ even though it is the embodiment of ultimate cynicism. Of course, however, as with words and language games, there is always something that beats ‘whatever’. But it takes a hell of a lot of imagination to figure that one out. Meanwhile, while pondering on just how much imagination one has, when states are contradictory, perhaps the gift of ‘leaving it alone’ is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves, if we don’t want to go with ‘whatever.’ For ‘leaving it alone’ is the work of grace. And it vibrates on its own.


Robert Gibbons said…
A truly ecstatic, improvisational lesson for the act of writing & intimacy of style!!! Would love to read the third paragraph as footnote to the previous text.

Footnote slipped on as toe ring; brushed on as indigo nail polish; drawn with pulsating needles toward permanent calligraphic tattoo; hoisted up as silk ballet slippers for the dance, or barefoot crushing grape skins for Dionysos, etc. -rg
Camelia said…
Robert, I'm glad you liked that. I like to teach authors who walk on tightropes. They excite me. I feel their exhilaration when, in the elegiac act of balancing, they are forced to renounce their sense of self. Yet, while they just do it, balance that is, without thinking about the risk, their thoughts also remain intact. I'm fascinated in Deleuze by his fascination of statements such as this Leibniz line: "there's a concert tonight." Deleuze hears the music in advance - in the event which involves moments when nothing happens - as he reads about the event, and that also makes me want to go - to the concert. Deleuze is generous. He writes things that he knows makes us happy, even though some of his topics are quite devastating.

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