Those who understand the Arctic experience a radical thing: a cut into halves of one's being. If you are accustomed to staying mentally vigilant, you notice that this vigilance gets heightened by the physical conditions of the place: there is something in the air and in the light that heightens your mental senses. But in the Arctic you are also vulnerable. This means that if you go around talking to stones, and asking them to talk back, you may well induce yourself into believing that the next thing that could happen could also be a literal stoning, rather than an echo. You can get hit by one with sharp edges that splits your core into more cuts. Of course, your vigilant state of mind helps you see beyond the act, and as ever conclude that if the agents involved in stoning are people, rather than natural forces, then their motives are either manifestations of self-sacrifice, sacrificing time, or the occasion. Some would valorize stoning positively: clean hits can be so pragmatic sometimes, but the ones who know better, know better.

There is no such thing as clean cuts. Rather, what one experiences is in fact merely a fallacy of discontinuity. Those who know this get on with the program and the continuity. This can have various forms of manifestation, all according to what 'the meanwhile' allows for, that is, the moment when going from vigilance to vulnerability is paved with stepping on uneven stones, which means that if you want to survive you have to start flying. But then flying has always been my specialty. I can fly so high that there is simply no goddamn thing that can touch me. Here in Tromsø I did manage to get on with my program, in spite of cuts and hits and being crushed by the sublime and having to ask why and really all the time. All these speculations. You fly over them. Sticking to knowing what you know inspires.

Even before I put the full stop on my almost complete manuscript on epistemologies of creative writing, I found myself writing vigorously on my next project. This one should please my sister a great deal, as she has been anticipating it for years now. As with my writing practice, it always begins with a title. So, here's the new one: Stone, Speak: Stone Games in Motion in Wittgenstein and Gertrude Stein. I got this idea while retracing my steps today on the walking trails that I've been using every day for the past month. I filled my pockets with hibernating stones from under the snow. I wanted to feel them on the plane back home. I wanted them to echo back: I have Norway's power, the power of the Arctic light, and the power of my trust in myself. The third one implies, of course, the idea of eternal return to Norway, forever and ever. I always did like infinities. They are ever so simple. So, why not, indeed, write something on substitutions, replacements, shifts, recursive structures, and intelligent dialogues against the background of the continuum? While objects of desire may be replaced and substituted, the continuum is not. Once the presence of that is affirmed, trust goes up in value. Wittgenstein is right to suggest that when trust is powerful, it costs more: “Look at a stone and imagine it having sensations.” Wittgenstein always rhetorically asks in his Investigations, can one say, can one trust oneself to say... Yes one can, Gertrude Stein answers in Sentences: “Cesar Onestone, Mr. Einesteine.” Where cuts are concerned, everything should be mentioned at least twice and in at least two contexts, except the cutting one. In the Arctic, everybody flies: yourself, your shadow, your signs, and your stones.


Popular Posts