sum seven – 2/19/14

Sum Seven

Seventh weekly sum of daily notes, in the run-up to Silence: 2014, a cross-border artistic witness. See the Soulographie site (soulographie dot org) for the day-to-day.


Silence: December 2014.


Artists worldwide to practice silence through the month as they will, in different ways, to deepen global contemplative capacity cross-culturally, and demonstrate mass solidarity.




Maybe pervasive issues, but special to work for art + social transformation… I need to figure my relationship to:

  • Meaning and action; the more I dwell on one the more I lose the other? Location/velocity. Location = meaning – vibratory disappearance and text; effect – the individual can make specific. Velocity: real change for the good on a social level
  • Importance of language to sudden-work. I like work that’s literary and strange; how to bring this into circumstances of illiteracy, bias against text, contingent time?
  • Reciprocity and the gift economy; capital and acquisition
  • The geometry of audience – performing to, performing with, making with…




Kind of wrapping up on Plato’s Phaedrus for now:


We require madness from the gods to get anything done


He points to four kinds of madness:

  • Prophecy
  • Justice (This is so smart to me! In order to forgive, to move on from grave wrong – chiefly as the aggrieved but one assumes as perpetrator as well – it takes a super-human leap…)
  • Art (from the muses)
  • Love (love and rhetoric – their relationship the main theme of the dialogue)


We are paradoxically made – the idea that we are horses of two natures teamed together – the free (divine) and the attached (lustful, base). All action is the temporary consent of opposing natures to get something done; the base at the very least needs to be in the process of turning into the higher.

  • To act profoundly, you must be moving to change (sprouting wings, in visceral detail)
  • A way to change: See beauty. See beauty and be changed (in our work, show beauty)


Letters and forgetting – writing is a playful reminder of the real deal; impermanent




We’re reading Lederach’s great Moral Imagination in the Acting Together class. He’s generous in citing a wide range of sources… Among them, Kerouac, who here (scrambled-egg advice to writers) bears a relation to the Silence project. Tried to edit but – it’s a steady riff…


Jack Kerouac

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time

15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven




From some recent writing on Paul, mixing in the Phaedrus:


He is already beautiful

Born then basketed

Treasure in transit

Mouth of a river, and

The way the world looks to his forming eyes swimming

World, swimming eyes

Not ready

The moon is getting farther, brighter, yielding yellow, baby jaundice, pushed

Aside; silence is aside and

Peace is sustainable doubt

Will you kill me too?

Now he is consenting

Saul, to one side

The tent of the wrong god

Now he is consenting to his death

To be saved, you need a basket, it seems


Column of fire column of smoke – One

Illuminates, one obscures – same thing; you follow both

Waving to the old men across the diner

Well, you are an old man

Smoke comes and takes us as story takes characters away in the Bible. Story is a thief whose trick is indirection, takes empathy away, killing a character at a time. You know and feel less, the more story



Their coats. In one coat he found a jackknife, a cup; en every coat, more rocks

Where he is an old man and his flesh needs tending, needs

Reading, needs cutting like a book


If I have a body, I am resisting light

In what ways do I consent to evil?

Not by stoning

But by holding


The promise is outside. You have a way

Out, a river, and your imagination (your

Reason) is a basket. Reason is imaginary

In Antioch they are first called Christians

It is in the nature of light that anything

Can approach it; it can withhold itself from nothing –

It is all motion-to


This morning I had enough food. I was not in trouble when I reached for it, I was safe. I had water to wash a pot, a bowl, a spoon… and places to put these things, places to go. Given his bounty, won’t I give away? First, can’t I admit that I have privilege enough to make space, to empty a space? This activates my will, gives it license to move out of me. First: don’t have. Then: give the rest. The will is public property. (Adrienne Kennedy)

Be astonished and die


He is very beautiful, and he took Stephen’s young son into a hole he made in his side, sewn with thread from his unraveled shirt

With 50 more years of life – without light, he would have been 50 more years a drunk. Not budging

He was a teenager up there on that horse. The light knocked his shoes off. He was barefoot among the corpses

There were tones played and then tea was served. This is while his appointment was being changed. This is while he is being assigned to the death squads. He leaves a different boy

He dies of the son


Look at this! I am an old man. I held coats and went on to murder many people. Children. I retired, a murderer, on government wage


His body cannot digest all the silver he has eaten. His blood is a sludge of precious metals


Saul? Saul?


Now Saul is consenting


He is eating his usual fish, and realizes he can’t see his hands or plate. Day. Before he starves to death, he sees. He eats. He goes blind. And before he starves to death –

Waiting for permission to be peaceful. To have nothing


Nostrils sticking together in the mountain sub-zero. Trees bathed in white, heatless sun breathless sun overwhelming. He forgets, all morning


They take his words and left him with enough money to buy sign language for “become”




I first came across Terry Allen’s lyrics from a CD I bought in a bookstore in Marfa, TX (the nighthawks – birds, not coffee drinkers – still haunt me). Below is from the ending of Beautiful Waitress, short but epic…


A waitress asked me what I did
I told her I tried to make art
She asked me if I made any money
I said, No I have to teach to do that

She asked me what I taught and where
I told her, she told me, she liked art
But that she couldn’t draw a straight line
I told her if she could reach for something
And pick it up she could draw a line
That was straight enough

She said, she weren’t interested in that kind of drawing
But always liked horses, I said “I did too”
But they’re hard to draw, she said, Yes, that was very true
Said she could do the body okay, but never get the head
Tail or legs, I told her she was drawing sausages, not horses
She said no, they were horses

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