What i read today…

  • Donny Deutsch wikipedia article… i know about DD through Nicolle Wallace’s show… he is a frequent commentator and says things that do make sense to me… he appears to have grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, as they say…
  • Nicolle Wallace wikipedia article… NW seems to have come from a solidly middle class background which makes me appreciate her more… she is my current favorite news anchor anywhere…
  • Where’s My Stuff?… a condensed education on the global supply chain, what ails it and what might or might not be helpful in strengthening it… argued from the point of view that globalization is good, protectionism is bad… i think about this in reference to the Small Is Beautiful local economies approach and against the question of whether the unending growth paradigm, which is what has brought us to globalize our production, is a sustainable one… it seems to me that global supply chains should tend to products that require it, like smart phone, cars, etc., and that local supply chains should tend to the production of goods that can be made in a quality way that potentially exceeds what the global supply chain can offer… food, crafts of all sorts, art, local culture, etc… i am far from understanding all of this, but this article made me a little more knowledgeable…
  • about the Rorschach Test on Wikipedia… i do this because i am also at this moment reading…
  • Life: A User’s Manual… i have landed on a chapter titled Rorschach 1, and before i dive into the chapter i wonder if Perec is making a deliberate reference to the Rorschach test… i read the chapter and the Rorschach character has nothing to do with psychological testing of any kind… but i still wonder if it is a reference…

Life, A User’s Manual, Georges Perec

… a very curious book describing in minute detail characters that the world might generally pass by, but who are exceptional and deeply contoured in their own obscure ways… it reminds me of the realm of true outsider artists, not the posers, but the people who make art just to make… that there might be a market for their creations in the art world is not of consequence to them… they just make… this seems a great deal like the characters in Perec’s novel… they come and go… they contribute what they contribute which is ignored by most of the world…

… in this passage Perec anticipates the ability to tag items digitally, which came with the age of personal computing:

What he would have liked would be to link each label to the next, but each time in respect of something else: for example, they could have some detail in common, a mountain, or volcano, an illuminated bay, some particular flower, the same red and gold edging, the beaming face of a groom, or the same dimensions, or the same typeface or similar slogans (“Pearl oof the Ocean”, “Diamond of the Coast”), or a relationship based not on similarity but on opposition or a fragile, almost arbitrary association: a minute village bay an Italian lake followed by the skyscrapers of Manhattan, skiers followed by swimmers, fireworks by candlelit dinner, railway by aeroplane, baccarat table by chemin de fer, etc. It’s not just hard, Winckler added, above all it’s useless: if you leave the labels unsorted and take two at random, you can be sure they’ll have at least three things in common.1

… and here i consider the extensive tagging system that i am developing for my journal…


  1. Perec, Georges, Life, a Users’s Manual [return]

Life, A User’s Manual, Georges Perec

… the book opens up with an exposition on the nature of a puzzle, more specifically, the relation of the pieces to the whole and the whole to the pieces…

… a wooden jigsaw puzzle – is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analysed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element’s existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.1

… this reminds me of the concept of holons… the idea of self contained, self sufficient entities being also part of a greater whole that relies on the sum of its parts for its ability to be… in the puzzle example above, the parts can exist on their own as objects in and of themselves, but we recognize them immediately as part of something bigger that can be read as a sum of the parts… in the holon concept, the parts can be extracted and have the ability to exist without the whole, but the whole cannot exist without the parts… and in the case of a puzzle, if parts are missing the whole is damaged… incapable of moving forward with its full state of being…

… in reading about holons, i find out that the term was coined by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine

… i am made aware that puzzles can be wooden and hand cut, which i imagine is expensive… i do a search and quickly find a maker in NY… these are puzzles for the rich… the cheapest one is $900, the most expensive, $3200… i imagine they are exquisite, but really, aren’t there better things to spend money on?… i imagine it a sign that one has too much money…


  1. Perec, Georges, Life, a User’s Manual, Kindle Edition, Location 127 [return]

An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris, Georges Perec

… an endless catalog of comings and goings, anchored by the public buses moving through the scene with regularity and in various states of fullness… it is all surface, no depth, a clear cosmic churning of little consequence…

… i have finished reading An Attempt… i am glad it is short… i liked it… it is on to something important… i learn about the novel Life, A Users’s Manual, for which this may have been the prelude… Life is a much longer work, 600 plus pages apparently, all taking place in one location and at one time… i immediately wonder how it might compare to Joyce’s Ulysses, which takes place all on one day… am i remembering that correctly?

… i read the afterward by Marc Lowenthal… he surfaces a number of books that i might want to read…

  • The Man of the Crowd, Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Invention of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Caseres
  • Something Black, Jaques Roubaud
  • Lundi rue Christine, Apollinaire
  • An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, Daniel Spoerrie
  • L’Invention du monde, Olivier Rolin
  • The Journalist, Harry Mathew

… a long reading list, a new rabbit hole…

… time to go wandering…

First Thoughts

… HCR Meter is confused… economy is booming, build back better act likely to clear the house, thought the Senate is another story… lots of reasons why people should be happy with Dems, but the polls don’t look good… there will likely be a Republican controlled house after the midterms and it will be a shit show… the Republicans are mostly a shit show now and it is clear that if they get back into control of things Democracy will be finished… i keep wondering what i can do, what do i want to do… i have no desire to live in a world run by these bat shit crazy conservatives and their lord DT… there is only hope if the Dems pass voting rights legislation… maybe even then there is no hope…

… i keep thinking that nobody of true consequence has been held accountable for anything… nobody… our system seems incapable of doing that…

… i have the Gregorian chants on… they are soothing and spiritual…

… who would have thought that a desperate white patriarchy could cause so much trouble and possibly succeed in seizing control of government?… i always thought it was going to be a brutal struggle… i saw it coming a long time ago… i didn’t have an imagination vivid enough to see how bad it would really be… i don’t comprehend them and i have no patience for them… D was one of them… D was awful…

… Shifting the Silence by Etel Adnan arrived on my kindle yesterday… another book in the long list of books to read… it will likely preempt the Bertrand Russel book that has been waiting in the wings for some time… i will perhaps read it together with the Georges Perc book… Adnan’s book was published either just before or just after they died… they pushed it out knowing they would not be around very much longer… an act of hope?, acceptance?, what?… will i work right up to the end that way?… will i ever publish anything?… then i tell myself, i am publishing… self publishing… daily… my production is enormous, prolific… but is it worth anything?… more moments of frustration that nobody comments on my posts in Micro.blog… this is likely due to my lack of commenting on others posts… if you want community you have to participate in community… do i need to set some time aside for community cultivation?… perhaps… i don’t know… it all seems so tedious and, in the end, not rewarding… pictures of cats and funny anecdotes about cats and dogs get all the attention… are we so uncomfortable with direct interaction with one another that we need these surrogates to get along in public space?…

… i have signed up for Literal, a new community of readers sharing the books they read with one another… an alternative to Goodreads… i am hoping for community there… but then, will i be willing to put in the interaction time… H interacts massively with her friends, mostly on FB… she spends a large part of the day doing that…

… i got my pre-colonoscopy covid test done yesterday… the procedure on Tuesday of this coming week… these things seem like portals in one’s life… we do these health portals to find out if there is anything concerning going on, so of course, if there has been anything concerning before, we fret about it a bit… the day arrives and we go through the discomfort of preparing and then undergoing and when we wake up the doctor comes to tell us what they found which hopefully was nothing to minimal… if something, hopefully it is dealt with during the procedure and nothing more to do for another few years until the next one… we are through the portal onto other concerns, happinesses, sadnesses… Thanksgiving this week…

… i keep thinking about G’s woman friend and wondering if they will be at Thanksgiving… they are very attractive and admired my sartorial style at M’s wedding… i shouldn’t feel this way and it will be a bit awkward with them because i do… primal me just can’t give it a rest… lusting all the time… the hardest part of a committed relationship is letting all the possibilities drift by without acting on any of them… it’s also the easiest… no chance to humiliate oneself which i did with some regularity in the younger days…

First Thoughts

… i am up too early… awake at 2 AM, then again at 3:15 AM… out of bed at 3:45 AM… Fiona acts like she will come with me then resettles on the bed… Chas stays asleep until after i am downstairs making coffee, feeding the cat, taking my BP meds… i hear the substantial thump of Chas jumping down off the bed… i put on a coat and shoes on in anticipation Fiona will come too and i will have to take her out for a walk, but she does not…

… i let Chas out… let Chas back in… give Chas some treats (what he really woke up for)… pour some coffee… we return upstairs and i quietly let him back into the bedroom… Fiona stays put… now, here i am writing in my journal, thinking i should put the garbage out…

… back from putting the garbage out…

… i think about Georges Perec, An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris… i think about Denton Welch… i think about Proust… i think about this journal… i think about rendering life through the quotidian… i think about the differences between Perec, Welch, Proust and this journal… Perec chooses to maintain a clinical detachment from the details he notes and writes down (at first i wrote “details he describes” but then realized describes is an overstatement)… he doesn’t attach them to a human being, himself or anyone else… this is relative of course… one cannot be completely detached from ones direct experience…

… the result is the construction of a skeleton of happenings the reader will begin to flesh out by inserting the organs, muscles and skin of their own experiences… i wrote yesterday that i thought it would make a good “avant garde” play, a solitary performer, center stage, reciting the contents of the book… the audience is left to flesh out the skeleton with details remembered from their own lives…

… while i am very interested in reporting out on the innumerable quotidian nonevents, as Perec writes… i am not interested in detaching them from my subjective being or playing the clinician who’s job is to report experience with as little judgement about that experience as possible… what i am trying to do lies somewhere between the clinical reporting of Perec and the recording of the minute and personally grasped details in Denton’s journals… i am interested in what my preconscious self deems significant enough to do a double take on… i am interested in the feelings provoked by the scenes unfolding in front of my eyes, ears and nose… i am interested in the thoughts that flow through my mind as i see, feel, taste and touch the world around me…

… today i go for a covid test as prelude to a colonoscopy procedure next week… i also stop taking supplements, eating leafy greens, nuts, seeds… sadly, H just baked a loaf of bread encrusted with seeds which maybe i can cut the crust off of to eat…

… Notes On Attention Paid, the monumental writing effort that nobody will ever read end to end… few will even read small pieces of it… that nobody reads it was getting to me a little yesterday… i keep reminding myself that readership isn’t the goal… setting myself down in words and images is the goal… whether anybody reads or looks is distantly secondary…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… i am passing through a stretch where journal entries are long and very detailed… the kind of details that flesh out a scene, make it more than matter of fact circumstance, people and objects described as if DW wants to take firm possession of them in his memory…

… i think about the Perec book, with the minimal detail of unremarkable things, only finding the barest representation of what the thing or person or animal is and leaving it at that… i begin to realize there are many ways to report out on the quotidian…

… DW seems to be most concerned with the objects that accompany his and other’s lives, the way that people impact him, noting his feelings about them…

… i am trying to put my finger on something… the way these journals unfold… they are tellings of daily happenings and impressions and you know that there won’t be a dramatic climax, but rather a series of smaller climaxes along with their attendant valleys… the rhythm of a life… none of it terribly important but all of it necessary…

An Attempt At Exhausting A Place, Georges Perec

… i decide it is ok to jump Perec to the front of the reading line… it is a journal of what passes through his vision as he sits at various cafes watching the movement (a favorite pastime of the French i was told when i visited many, many years ago)… nothing is described in any depth, just the for the moment notable details… on the back jacket of the book is written:

One overcast weekend in October 1974, Georges Perec set out in quest of the “intraordinary”: the humdrum, the nonevent, the everyday—“what happens,” as he put it, “when nothing happens.”

… it is interesting… he builds up an impression of place, its rhythms, inhabitants, just noted as passing through and impinging on his senses… little details, a priest back from a trip (there is an airline tag still fixed to his bag)…

… i do a similar thing with images… when i sit down to write i select some of the various non-events to write about in more depth… he writes just the apparent facts, never speculating without reason what this individual or that individual might be about…

… i imagine the book staged as a play… a solo performance… a man sits on a chair, center stage, and recites the book to the audience… the impressions build in the audience… the non-events surface memories of experiences that have more depth in each individual… to the quotidian surface details the audience adds their individual depths… would anyone come see it?…

… the thought that when i make pictures, edit them, and put them together for viewing that i make non-events events…

… we are up with a start… Fiona sat up in bed, indicating she was preparing to dismount… we scrambled to set her down on the floor, whereupon she scrambled out of the bedroom and down the stairs before we could catch her and slow her down… she is not supposed to be running down stairs which she half did… sigh… gate at the top of the stairs tonight…

… in my sleepy stupor i scrambled to put clothes on so i could take her out for a walk… H asking me questions about her scramble downstairs… they are annoyed with me and the questions sound accusatory… what part of Fiona scrambled faster than i could did they not understand?… what’s happened has happened… let’s move on to taking her out which is what i did… took her a while but she had a wicked pee… we came back… H gave her treats and fed her water with a syringe… Fiona is still trying to figure out how to drink with the cone collar on… she will eventually…

… H, Fiona and Chas all downstairs napping… it is 5:17 AM, normal for me to be up but way before H’s normal wake time…

… feeling the need for a little spiritual calm i have recordings of Gregorian Chants going in my headphones… i am not religious, wouldn’t want to be catholic if i were, but it’s all in latin so i don’t understand a word and the chants are very soothing, like gentle waves lapping the shore of a beach…

… today will be about keeping Fiona still, monitoring her wound and taking her for periodic walks… there are too many stairs involved in letting her out in the back yard… and in any case, she would be want to chase squirrels back there… best to keep her on a leash to restrain her enthusiasm which clearly has returned…

… i was so upset yesterday with the bleeding and having to go back to the vet… it overwhelmed and in some ways immobilized me… thankfully H was coping better… 40 years as an ICU nurse gives you calm in the face of concerning situations… i also didn’t like seeing Fiona so knackered… barely able to move… only to changing position once in a while… such a vital and enthusiastic dog… particularly so in the hours leading up to her surgery… it worries me that if H ever got seriously sick i might loose it and be unable to be there for her… of course, my more confident mind says, yah, you might freak our here and there, but you will find a way to rise to the occasion…

An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris, by Georges Perec, arrived yesterday… it turns out to be a small, slim, little book… it will be a quick read and i am anxious to get to it, but i have to finish The Journals of Denton Welch first and i have a little less than half the book to go…

… Georges Perec is known for the idea that one ought to pay close attention to the small, unremarkable-to-most-people details… i have to learn more about his reasons for this, but i am guessing they are similar to my own, which is that the bulk of creaturely awareness is about these small, seemingly insignificant, details… we live our lives in a sea of the quotidian… western society, Americans especially, is/are all about the climactic extreme experiences that are felt in intense bursts producing adrenalin rushes that forever sear the experience into our minds… the bigger and more impossible the challenge, the more an individual is valued for achieving it… i value the quotidian over the rush of the exceptional and extraordinary… though some of my clearest memories are of fleeting exceptional moments that surface randomly from the sea of the quotidian…

Eva Donkers, Photography

Eva Donkers, from What happens when nothing happens.

an article on Eva Donkers in Booooooom… i admire this photographer’s intention possibly more than her work, which i think might be overly romanticized… it’s all about the color of places that have existed forever, suspended in the late afternoon sun, populated by the occasional human doing nothing consequential…

… she claims inspiration from Georges Perec’s novel An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, and this quote from it:

What happens when nothing happens, other than the weather, people, cars and clouds.(?)

… this, i think, is a perfect statement for my Notes blog… perhaps i should adopt it… i look up Georges Perec and realize i have encountered him before… i install a tag filter dedicated to him among my tag filters on people, which is becoming extensive…

… i order a copy of An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris from Amazon… i once said about my daily photo walks that i would keep doing them until i got bored… that was seven or eight years ago… boredom has never set in… meanwhile, my to-read list grows faster than my rate of reading…

Journaling, A New Rabbit Hole

… it started with Modern Nature, a journal kept during the years 1990-1991 by Derek Jarman… it chronicles time following his initial diagnosis as HIV positive… it’s been a very interesting read, with several references to other interesting reads… one of them is The Journals of Denton Welch… DJ admired, as, apparently, most people do, the prose of Denton Welch… i wanted to see what precise, crystalline prose looked like so i ordered a used copy of the book which arrived yesterday…

… so, that makes two journals on my reading list… no wait, i seem to recall purchasing the journals of Sylvia Plath too… three journals on my reading list…

… this morning i read a review of No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian Commute, by Lauren Elkin… it’s a journal of the quotidian… brief notes typed into a smartphone during her bi-weekly commuting routine… yup… something i have done, still do… from this review i learn about Georges Perec who had a cataloguing methodology and was a champion of noticing the small events that make up life… she was also inspired by the journaling of Annie Ernaux… some lengthy poking around to find an example of the journaling… nothing pops up as a journal per se, but her writing is autobiographical… more exploration later…

… and so, it seems the cosmos is driving me down a rabbit hole on journaling…

… it is time for my walk… i will have more to say on this rabbit hole…