Thoughts About Our New
cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production,
and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of
society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was,
on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial
classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of
all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the
bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with
their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away,
all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is
solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last
compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his
relations with his kind."
Karl Marx, 1848
new music-theater/multi-media work revolves around the life of
Duncan, a film-maker, media-artist, and cultural critic who died
by suicide in July 2007 at the age of 43.
We focus on the thoughts, ideas, and imagery presented in her highly
regarded blog, “The
Wit of the Staircase,” which
was created during the last year and a half of her life.
character, like Theresa Duncan, feels that words are magical and that singing
them is a form of incantation that further increases their power. We see her
on stage creating and/or presenting episodes from her vlog (a blog in video
format.) There is a large video
projection screen on stage upon which her vlog appears.
The score is quadraphonic and surrounds the audience.
The video and surround-sound increase her word’s magical powers.
flow of the video is characterized by morphing – a
colorful, magical, surreal, dream world, with a seamless flow between abstract
and concrete images that often transmutate into each other.
She is obligated by her nature to be a story-teller.
Since words are magical, her stories weave the web of consciousness,
and thus her very existence. In
this liminal world, a place by nature always in transition, she must tell
stories, because the stasis of silence is death.
work on stage develops, her stories present two main problems.
First, she is haunted by the thoughts and questions her stories bring
forth. She is surrounded by the
ghosts her stories create – a predicament that seems especially true for
creative people. Theresa Duncan
summarized this by quoting Glen O’Brien:
All I do know, the hard way, is that the artists and
writers who come up with extraordinary answers are often deeply and terribly
haunted by the questions that prompt them, and you can never second guess what
it is to be haunted by ideas, by angels or demons or history or visions, by
reality or imagination.
The second problem is
that her stories are linear and represent the ephemeral, transitory nature of
life. Through her narratives, she
is always moving away from a lost past. Her life proceeds, leaving a kind of
historical detritus in its wake. This
also happens to the society, culture, people, and objects around her.
Her existential condition is to constantly be in flight from decay, and
yet always rushing toward it. Her
life vanishes into the detritus of time, the abyss of time past.
The detritus of time is a wolf at her heels.
Through the work, we
explore what might be termed the culture
of detritus. As noted in the
quote of Karl Marx at the beginning of this article, systematic obsolescence
is essential to capitalism since it fuels a never-ending cycle of consumption,
production, and profit. All that
she has, and all around her, decays before her eyes.
Her sense of fulfillment thus continually decays as well.
This culture of obsolescence creates in her a Marilyn Monroe Syndrome
that extols youthfulness at the expense of age.
by definition defines human identity in terms of death.
There is never an accepted culture, but only the detritus from which
one might appear. Due to our
endless search for cultural progress, decay and death become the frames that
define our lives. We cannot define
our culture, but only see our post-culture.
Our identity is thus defined by our death.
She can never see who she is, but only what she was.
Trapped between the past
and future, she lives in a liminal
world. Her being is a
fleeting instant between desire and the detritus of time.
Nothing ever rests because obsolescence is a universality.
Desire can never be fulfilled, because fulfillment is inherently
obsolete. Faces morph to old
faces. Everything morphs to the
something unreachable and that decays the minute it is touched.
Every doorway opens to another doorway. She
is a ghost caught between time past and time future.
In this liminal world
created by the culture of detritus, human immortality is sought through
extreme forms of objectification that create a counterposing culture of
plasticization. A dialetic is
created. Only plasticized cadavers
A counterview would be
that sensible transformation represents growth and life experience.
The fullest life is created by mastery of morphing.
Grasping at life is pointless. You
cannot grasp what is always ephemeral and changing.
Eternity is a dream, a biography of a cloud.
The dead is the humus of the new. The magician plays with
transformation because it is the essential nature of life.
Our work will be, in part, a study of ephemerality and the magical ways
of shaping it.
* * *
When she was still
young, Theresa Duncan discovered her deep appreciation for words and their
almost limitless magical powers. She
also sensed that her gifts set her somewhat apart from her working-class
the quarry in July my cousins told me the water was ‘bottomless,’ and so I
hugged the shore and learned to swim in the Lapeer library instead, suspecting
already exactly what the limitless meant…
Ever after I knew all the haunted shades of meaning that were captive
in other people’s words. And for
that they called me mad.
Theresa Duncan, the character has a deep desire to live life large, full of
energy, artistry, risk, questioning, glamour, wit, and passion.
Theresa had a wide range of eclectic interests: perfume, the history of
electricity, art, philosophy, religion,
cologne is called
especially felt there is a kind of magical power in glamour that is also
related to the magic of grammar:
believe glamour was the original occult art, and I think it is still the most
powerful. As you will recall from my film The
History Of Glamour, the original meaning of the Scottish glamer
was a magic spell. The word mutated from grammar,
or language, of which the glamour I speak of is a subset, and really just the
Her desires for a
transcendent, magical aesthetic, however, are at odds with the lack of culture
and intelligence in the society around her.
Far from transcendent glamour, the cultural industry is often a
“thuggish Frankenstein” motivated by greed.
circus-like aspects of the main industry in our home city of Los Angeles, with
its tiny hateful core of thuggish Frankenstein manipulation and surrounding
penumbra of pink-frosted teenage dumbassitude. Unhappily, these elements of
entertainment seem to be a rainbow hued enhancement of much that is now most
We see that she is not
merely a dreamer. Her social and
cultural criticism (frequently expressed with a somewhat humorous and
self-ironic second person grammar,) is often pragmatic, pointed and realistic.
She comes from a working-class family in
She also cannot accept
the staid, formulaic solutions concerning gender often proffered by academic
feminism. Here, for example, are
her comments about a new art exhibition she has just seen and its
“obedient” form of social protest:
much rather see a show about social class, frankly, which is a much more taboo
subject than a bunch of dipshits showing their tits and taking jumbo upskirt
identify with working class men, for example, far more than I do most of these
monkey-see monkey-do second raters. Referencing one's gender's or one's own
appearance the way this work does is just spectacularly obedient as far as
She has a natural gift
for cultural analysis and history. She sees a correlation in the American
ideal between her beloved cities of
But this is not mere
analysis. These cities become the
story of herself she weaves, and that she must live.
Even if she disguises her dread with pride and urbanity, she cannot
remove her own identity from the ruthless abandonment and collapse of
In this culture of
vacuity and detritus she searches for hope [now even a political slogan.]
Through photography, she studies the strange and horrific beauty of
yet I find both places indescribably glamorous, inchoate and mysterious,
endlessly strange and iterative, as if
the street behind you is being covered over with some new fantasy by scene
painters as you drive on. I'd go on to parse out the differences between
the towns, but as I said, I suspect they are actually the same place, two
sides of a coin palmed in the alternately icy and desert-hot hand of America, a
future currency whose buying power is for strange new fast-moving forms and
fantasies that are as yet undreamt of in the rest of the West...
[See pictures of
She searches for the
transcendent glamour that is the counter-side of this extravagant waste, speed
and indifference created by obsessive consumerism and unmitigated capitalism.
It’s the defiant glamour and punk heroism of a city’s spectacular
and mindless flight toward post-industrial abandonment and destruction.
It is a glamour that
demands raw capitalistic self-reliance, and rejects a paternalistic state,
even if tragic self-destruction is the result.
She refuses Churchill’s promise that British citizens would be cared
for “from the cradle to the grave”:
my American ears this sounds like being rewarded for a lifetime of anonymity
and drudgery that edges each day a little closer to the cemetery--less a
promise than a threat. Such a life seems to me like a passionless tally of
passing days, a record of each winter’s snowfall scratched with a dirty
icicle into the heart. The imaginative, the subversive, the lonely, the poor,
the creative and the curious might have other plans than to stick around for
the stasis of the cradle-grave.
It’s the stasis of
silence that brings death when stories stop.
She defiantly embraces the spectacular decay of
there's a lot of liberals, like I said, in the academy or the art world
especially, it's like the petting zoo for ideas. Everything's been defanged in
And yet it was her
alienation and lack of support in a raw, capitalistic world that led to her
isolation as an artist, and at least in part, to her death.
She notes the
unwillingness of people in
downtown still looks like Bogdanovich's "Last Picture Show." You
would think it was 1951. Like Bogdanovich's small
In spite of all of this,
there is a mystery and magic to
is 22 degrees in
though she sees a horrific kind of beauty in this culture of detritus, she
fights despair, because she cannot accept or compromise with the greed and
mindless power that creates it. As
stated earlier, and worth repeating, she cannot accept its “…hateful
core of thuggish Frankenstein manipulation and surrounding penumbra of
pink-frosted teenage dumbassitude.”
contradictory, she celebrates the terrors of capitalistic excess, and at the
same time rejects it as monstrous. Nothing
is ever one-dimensional in her thought. She
balances every thought with its ghostly mirror image. She can never be defined
or categorized. Her life is an
to compromise with the cultural industry, and unable to remain silent about
its “Fankenstein manipulations” of society, she became increasingly
marginalized and misunderstood, in spite of her obvious gifts.
Shortly before her death, still using the ironic second person voice in
her blog, she “speaks in signs to those who know,” guided toward her by
“the varied light of our linguistic constellations”:
on the Staircase [her blog] we are oft not understood, what with our Late
Capitalist contradictions and our desire to burn through any container some
sap imagines will hold us.
just as The Little Prince could look up into the vast night sky and know that
his rose lived far off on some particular planet, we at Wit
also detail our signs for those who know, so that They
might be guided toward Us by
the varied light of our linguistic constellations. Yes, language created even
the first ever illumination, and now we borrow back a little word and a little
wattage both in order that we might reflect another of nature's fair farragos.
there be Aria di Capri we
utter, and prettily perfume the rectory air at dim rainy dusk on this fabled
Fourth Of July eve. One burst from the bottle is a beautiful woman's laugh,
startling, sharp and silver like a 747 slicing suddenly above the cloud cover
and rising into the sun. The city, the rain, the proximity to many stupid
people stacked waiting for what? in apartments. And the inviolable white magic
aura of our apartment is rent right away by July Aura anyway.
shiny armor it suddenly encases us. The sunshine, the lemons, the exuberances
of sour grapefruit and tanged-up clementines that are so shiny, so way-out,
they look like rocks that will be polished for some fantastic fairy giant's
jewels. The mist still hangs in the air as I speak, like light trails
careening oh so slowly off a crackling Catherine Wheel.
sparks stay suspended all night tonight by Olde American Magic, so stay up.
They'll illumine the way toward every American's rightful portion of liberty,
joy and crazy-colored, ever present, indestructible light.
In this spirit she
quotes Vladimir Nabokov, though the words seem a premonition of her death by
imagination flies; we are its shadow on earth.”
* * *
Even though Theresa viewed glamour and
grammar as forms of magic and self-expression, she felt that ultimately
grammar might be the more complete form of magic.
She refers to the central theme of her animation film “History of
Glamour” and comment that:
character is looking for an identity, and glamour becomes for her a potent
form of self-expression. She finds it very liberating, because she's from a
small town. But by the end of the story, glamour becomes limiting, then imprisoning,
so she becomes a writer, chooses grammar over glamour.
She is creating herself
with her story, her magical grammar, but she seems to feel she is increasingly
falling into an abyss of silence. Isolation
and silence in themselves become a part of her story, but she does not want to
compromise with the corporate forces of the entertainment industry that might
allow her voice to be heard. To
only tell part of her story, or to alter it, would be to mutilate her being. She
secretly feels like she is vanishing, being forced into the traditional,
objectified, overshadowed, feminine companion and helpmate of Jeremy.
In spite of her love of
glamour, she eschews “witchy atavism” and other mystifications of feminine
identity as a trap. She
appreciates the work of Karen
Kilimnik, because it seems to offer “lines of flight,” a practical,
matter-of-fact view of feminine intellect and sexuality that can provide an
avenue of escape. These “lines
of flight” move beyond the mystification of female sexuality as represented
in the “tightly controlled, claustrophobic set-up photographs” of Cindy
Sherman, whose techniques
laboriously constructed illusions, once so emblematic of all the fragile
identity artifice of shelters like Gender and Home, now just give rise to the
question that if we're looking at a Brentwood housewife or a Lynchian-
Midwest-where-all-is-not-what-it-seems, why do all the signposts point so
predictably toward New York's Chelsea?
She believes that
understanding our cultural conditioning can lead to self-knowledge and
freedom. This knowledge also
formulates “lines of flight,” an escape from bondage, as explained by two
of her favorite authors, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari:
your black holes and white walls, know them, KNOW YOUR FACES; it is the only
way you will be able to dismantle them and draw your lines of flight."
Through examination of
cultural conditioning, we can escape its limiting effects.
We can write and live a story that moves toward freedom.
She feels Kilimnik shows
how idealizing the feminine leads to oppression.
Kilimnik has the:
or stupidity to keep pointing out this mystification. Artists like Cindy
Sherman are the adolescent ones to we of Wit,
as they have childishly made a bargain with this system rather than creating a
space outside it. We of Wit are
not fans of
With that same Deluzian
directness, she quips that, “Having a vagina remains the same, but power
She continually rebels
against reductive views that attempt to define or categorize what femininity
pretty clear to we of Wit
that there is an intellectually lazy, fussily bossy tendency for critics (male
and female, alas) to want women to work within some understandable "art
historical" paradigm… [They]
then puzzle as to why the woman's work is like, different
in a way they just can't seem to explain.
fuckas, women were excluded from shaping the paradigm they are now being
paradoxically judged within. We have heard this kind of talk about women's
creative work again and again our entire lives. Wit decided long ago that it's just War,
dudes, and that Wit would be
crazy not to constantly fire back. If this sounds strenuous, it's not--and it
feels better than just absorbing it every day, brothers and sisters.
She sees the seemingly
promiscuous life of super model Kate Moss as a manifestation of this Deluzian
directness of sexuality, a manifestation of “lines of flight”, a
demystified, objective, feminine self-identity that create freedom.
Moss is beyond the public’s “chimpanzee-cage outrage”:
operates out there all on her own without a curfew or a credit card limit or a
license from Phallocentric Central.
At other times, she
considers that simple rage or even hysteria might be one manifestation of
these “lines of flight.” She
sees a feminist understanding of hysteria in the work of Freud:
considered by many who don't know any better to be a misogynist, was in my
opinion one of the most advanced thinkers regarding gender equality in
history. Freud's couch was a "free space" where the Doctor's new
"talking cure" enabled many women to say what was on their mind for
the first time in their lives. Freud was the first to comprehend that
"hysteria" was actually a form of communication women defaulted to
as a last resort when they were otherwise denied any outlet for expression.
Perhaps Theresa sought
the release of hysteria. Something
seemed to be building inside her, a volcanic but silent despair and anger.
These too become a part of her story:
nightmare is a gift, I guess you could say, and those ones that first elude
me, sending me chasing for miles over hill and dale in a pith helmet with an
empty butterfly net, are often the ones that are my "pretties", my
prize possessions, my frosted pink petit
fours. My motherfucking pearlllssss.
As her mental health
began to disintegrate, she went deeper into the echo-chamber of her fears.
It becomes increasingly difficult to socialize with her friends in
is hard to make friends here, but I made up for it in enemies, who can make
you feel just as warm.”
Or in a darker tone:
Nietzsche's quip about suicide, the thought of a massive earthquake has gotten
me through many a long night.”
In some respects,
Jeremy, a darling of the arts world, was all that she had left.
They become more and more deeply entwined with each other.
They retreat into each other’s world.
As part of a sound-artist’s project, she remembers listening to
Jeremy’s heart with a stethoscope:
Jeremy’s heart like this was amazing, like staring through a telescope at a
vast and previously undiscovered world. The beats sounded so powerful, and yet
so temporary. We are just another damn song …
says he will record the beats when he is done on a vinyl record, which he then
will turn into a petroleum jelly that the purchaser can rub over their chest
to soothe heartache.
is selecting the couples slowly and very carefully.
to hear a song we have written about this event.]
With the eye of a story
teller, she recalls a night spent with Jeremy at the
remember before we went to bed we were making out in the window, looking out
at the street filling up with snow, it was almost completely quiet and we were
overlooking the electric Chelsea Hotel sign ... I
remember later the wild noises that the hotel made late that night, like some
madman in the basement playing a church organ made with the hotel’s old
With increasing fear and
anger, she continues to speak of the corporate world’s “Frankenstein
manipulation” of culture and society. These
manipulations create in her an existential dread that becomes increasingly
real and frightening. And as
always, she see life through the story of her own existence, which has become
in effect, a metaphor for cultural analysis.
She wonders, for example, if the cold war fear-mongering of nuclear
destruction was largely a cover for something even worse: the efforts of a
plutocratic elite to control the mind of society, like a “fungus slowly
eating away” its democratic sensibilities.
The metaphorical (but also often quite real) phantasms and ghosts of a
totalitarian underworld come to haunt her:
it must be clear by now, children of the Staircase, that MK-ULTRA (and even
weird, disinfo-saturated Project
Monarch) are the ne plus ultra weapons of past decades, as if all the Cold
War missile paranoia was just a smoke screen for all the body snatchers the
Pentagon was beginning to hatch.
control and psychological warfare are the primary weapons that led to our
current Monarch Moment. Cults like Scientology and mind control-manufactured
Monarch girlies and Operation
Mockingbird are the fungus among us that has been eating away at the
foundations of democracy for decades....”
If one considers how the “War On Trror” has led
to abuses of what were considered foundations of democracy, then her thoughts
about “smoke screens” and body snatchers (“special rendition”) do not
seem so far off the mark. And some
of the conspiracy theories she followed, though obscure, are surprisingly
well-documented, and have a concrete basis in reality.
She seemed to subscribe to a worldview formulated by social critic
The combined forces of
unaccountable covert operations and corporate public relations, each able to
tap massive resources, are sufficient to make the concept of 'democracy'
She knows these fears
are a double edged sword, that our worldview can be manipulated by the
government and corporate media, but that we can also become lost in the depths
of our own anxiety. She quotes
need not be a chamber to be haunted;
need not be a house;
brain has corridors surpassing
Even when haunted, her
wit, humor, and self-irony remain. She
quotes Stephen Wright to describe the malleable, dream-like world of human
other day, when I was walking through the woods, I saw a rabbit standing in
front of a candle making shadows of people on a tree.
Her self-irony emerges
in another quote, source unknown:
other day upon the stair, I saw a man who wasn't there, He wasn't there again
today, I think he's with the CIA...
She also understands the
strange motivations of some of her detractors, the hatred and envy oft
directed toward beautiful and intelligent women in puritanical
[of beauty] among women can create huge perceived power differences that cause
serious enmity, fostering a Grimm's stepmother rage beneath the civilized
surface where the "uglier" (and who's to say, really) stepsister
often compensates with chimp-colony cruelty and unconscious enforced denial of
Cinderella's smarts and subjectivity.
She remembers a
fairy-tale that recounts the jealousy even a mother can feel toward the beauty
of her own daughter:
reveals the perversion in the story, and the life or death warning her mother
expected her to absorb on the cusp of her adolescence: surpass me in
attractiveness at your peril. Flook also reveals that this was a lesson her
older sister, ejected from the house and lost to drugs and prostitution at 15,
did not carefully absorb.
her blog correspondents, who worked as a model in
And we know that French men and women think it's every
woman's duty to be as beautiful as possible. Within that logic, they didn't
reproach me. They did not think beauty was in opposition to smarts. Beautiful?
Well, the smarter
the reveries created by her beloved perfumes, she increasingly retreats within
herself, toward a liminal world, a dusky twilight between the externality of
glamour and the internality of grammar:
summer night, as we know, wears a smile of light, and sits on a sapphire
throne. But how many know that the long blue space which curves like a
scimitar between day and night--the place called sunset--is
a liminal one?
means door, and
twilight-time dissolves the ink on any known map, heaves even the cemetery
gates wide open. This hour is prone to ghosts, and in late June this fetching,
this flattering light called Wit
forth at the height of all her neither/nor states too. Here comes the tipsy,
the ever ready for her close up, the not quite woman, the Teenage Theresa.
She knows this enticing,
ghostly netherworld has its dangers, but she refuses to retreat:
a gateway drug, I carried this first forward enticement ever onward into an
increasingly wild world from which weirdo Wit
still refuses to trace her footsteps backward no matter how many
other voices warn Retreat!
prepared for my journey by the Old Ones of cathode ray and drive-in screen,
out the back door I floated like dandelion fluff, dreamy as little teenage St.
Theresa of Lisieux who spoke to the flowers, past the kitchen garden with its
smell of dark blue sky and ripe red fruits. It's
just like an adolescent girl's cherry-pie personality where she puts the
delicious sour at the top and desperately hides the sweet deep underneath,
Her perfumes thus
transport her back to the awakening sensuality of her adolescence.
She remembers the drive-in theater in her little hometown:
tiny town too was about to become another world, one where parked way back by
the hurricane fence after dusk another familiar friend's deep voice beckoned
toward zones of enigmatic delight: Honey
can't you see, I know it's real, it's got to be. Why not chase it where it
bring deep memories. Her perfumes
transport her even farther back through time to her childhood:
the medals I earned at fifteen for the dark
You say as I rattle them ribbonless in their red wooden chest.
Middle-age reaching her
body and youthful glamour failing, she increasingly embraces the greater and
more eternal magic of grammar. We
can become lost in our dreams and aspirations.
We can fall too deeply into our own story.
The incantations of the logos spin the web of reality, like “God’s
foot on the treadle of the loom”. She
remembers that we can drown in our own fairy-tale:
remember Rumpelstiltskin, the internal imp of the perverse who secretly fuels
the strange female alchemy of creation, her baby and any domestic happiness
the price that must be paid for seeing something where nothing used to be.
Unless, of course, she guesses The Name.
the quarry in July my cousins told me the water was "bottomless",
and so I hugged the shore and learned to swim in the Lapeer library instead,
suspecting already exactly what the limitless meant. Like the bright orange
amber of Chergui, old things
might get suspended forever there, but we also go double deep where knowing a
name will set everything free.
once in a fairy tale I too saw God's foot on the treadle of the loom. Ever
after I knew all the haunted shades of meaning that were captive in other
people's words. And for that they called me mad.
The brutality of the
world around her, the political corruption and incompetence, the greed, war,
and hatred seem more dream-like like than even the internal world of her
magical and enchanting grammar:
seem like ancient killers we're reading about, it's that baroque, that
unconscious and faraway dumb.
my color-drained dreams churn, the magazine drops carelessly open on the
bedroom floor, one so two-toned, so either/or that I had you and me
picknicking in a suburban Detroit cemetery on an imaginary holiday that was
half Easter and half Halloween. The old lady bike I had just come off after
pedaling to meet you with one spoked wheel still spinning where it lay in the
great expanse of grey grass amid the Eastoween holiday headstones.
it's like this imaginary celebration in the air out there in Old Manhattan:
the pop art plastic eggs I bought filled with candy and ready in the basket
for the East Village children to hunt in the garden here, the crocuses popping
purple up in the churchyard--and yet haunted America howling, the year ready
to tip into Fall so soon.
even in this, perfume can still rise to the occasion, or almost. I think it
can. Because where Bouton de Rose
has a dank funereal bottom of amber and resin something rushes up from the
base like a genie to nearly manifest a Blakean pink vision of a rose in bloom,
broadcasting so blatantly the substance of things longed for, the evidence of
things not seen.
so Faith is cocked and loaded behind the heads of the villains, a weapon they
don't expect or see, an Easter within the Halloween, one enormous alive scent
emerging from the crooked little dark one to open so unendingly.
saw you lost there later in the dream, but when I awoke I had all the
existential calm and steady certainty of a single rose (the last one?) just
love is stronger than witchcraft.
reaches more and more deeply into the meanings captive in words, the outer
world retreats, her isolation and despair deepen.
She finds expression in the words of Kafka:
are as forlorn as children lost in the wood. When you stand in front of me and
look at me, what do you know of the grief that is in me and what do I know of
yours? And if I were to cast myself down before you and tell you, what more
would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is
hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before
one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before
the entrance to Hell.
She senses that
salvation might come from deeply changing her life, but that she might not be
able to release her demons without also releasing her dreams.
Her fears and despair are an inherent part of her drive and
authenticity as an artist, her desire to live her life large and strong, to
let her star burn brightly, to “obey each outrageous impulse,” to commit
people to the “enchantments” of life, to defend the unreal even at the
cost of reason. She quotes the
last lines of Kenneth Patchen’s poem “The Artist’s Duty”:
is the artist’s duty to be alive
blush perpetually in gaping innocence
She has a desire to live
life to its fullest. She
understands this can only come through embracing change and transformation,
since they are the essence of what life is.
Quoting Peter Beagle, she sees transformation as a form of magic:
to a magician is the world forever fluid,
Even though she is relentlessly driven, and increasingly
exhausted, her spiritual side remains. She
pushes on even though it might cost her her life.
She reads Lao Tsu and considers the advantages of a temporary repose:
in the Way of Nature
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