Tolstoy says that realism is akin to provincialism in the sense that it focuses on the particular and transient at the expense of the universal.
There is a similar vein in Canadian writing, though I don’t know if the same terms are applied here. Novels are often very place-based. Bear. Five Legs. Surfacing. The Double-Hook. Badlands. As For Me and My House. A Season in the Life of Emmanuel. In each of these books the protagonists find their selves pitted against the landscape or the milieu they are in. In Bear the compressed Lou finds space to live in the vast calm of Muskoka. In Five Legs the two main characters grind up against the society that they have immersed themslves in, the academic circle, the Kingston ball. The Double-Hook blends the earth with the sky in prarie—- anyways I’m getting away from the point.
I don’t know if all these books could be called realism, it really depends on what you mean by “reality”. What is close to one person’s representation of reality may be quite far away from another’s. Five legs and The Double Hook don’t necessarily strive to be realistic in their representations of space- they are more impressionist, use the landscape as method of talking about humanity as well as cosmic reality. But at the same time, especially in Five Legs, there is a sense of realism that doesn’t come through in other books, a realism of experience. The choppy sentences, sometimes unfinished, the jumping from present to past, thought to observance, doesn’t feel “real” but really strives to be more representative of unconscious as well as conscious determinants of thought/action, which feels unreal because we are often not aware of the ways in which we process information.
The point, which I have not even looked at or dotted my paper with, was supposed to be about how provincialism doesn’t necessarily have to be suggestive of only particulars, that it can contain universal truths as well, if the outsider is willing to look for them.
“Blending in is a privilege only available to a few. Not being judged for your appearance is reserved for fewer yet. The “look of nothing” is never going to be available to those who are marked as “other” because the world has already placed identifiable markers on us. Controlling the way we look, even embracing the fact that we stand out, is a way of challenging this.”
Hm… not sure. Article written by a disabled person against “normcore”. I don’t know if I agree on this “essential other” idea- that the world necessarily places identifiable markers on someone. Is there a difference in terms of physical and psychological markers and response patterns? To what extent do we want ourselves, or does someone else want/not want themselves to be different, and in what capacity ARE we different. If I see a person in a wheelchair I do not immediately judge them on this fact, psychologically. BUT I do make certain physiological judgements, am more prone to hold doors open, offer assistance, move.
I am prone to agree with this argument, but there is something I see here that runs deeper and into more estuaries other than just disabled/race/gender rights, and I don’t know if I agree with that part. To what extent is forced individualism healthy? How much do we create ourselves and how much are we created? Is blending in a privilege or a blight?
Met a woman and her dog. Watched the sun set. Followed the screech of a falcon. Smiled earnestly for the first time in almost three days.
“Hey look at me! Me and my friends are cybercrusaders who humiliate and attack anyone who doesn’t agree with our views! Discussion? Fair argument? Agreeing to disagree? NO! Hell no! Castrate, cut off their heads and hang ‘em on the door post! Kill the non-believers!”
I know her footsteps, the clunking of someone invisible.
At the best of times I feel see-through and silent, but in that kiss I was wholly erased for a moment. Everything stopped. Everything dissolved away and I was a cosmic blip watching something that I recognized to be hurtful only through the angry pumping of my obstinate blood.
Came out of it as if drugged- quaking beneath the surface but too pathetic to say anything, letting myself suffocate in an airtight glass enclosure as I continued to talk and smoke like some joyous robot.
I don’t know what I need to do to let this go already.
Things I can’t give her. My failings as a boyfriend and as a person. Jealousy, one of the least poignant emotions, anchors itself on my uvula, blows memories in smoke through my mouth. Erectile slump. Wheezing lung. The great depression of youthful hope. Amplified.
Now I see her and have to smile instead of screaming “fuck you!!!” and decomposing to a pile of tears. Little purple head filled with so much love and so little realized compassion.
This blanket plagued by weeping.
It is the third day that I have not left my house. Here I have been unable to keep my thoughts away from loss.
While trying to sleep last night, after hauling blankets up and down stairs, popping pills for the headache heartache calveache, I paused on the couch downstairs. This is where I first had sex, this is where I come when I’m sick, where I hide when I’m scared. This is where I recorded music naked at three o’clock in the morning when chords were the only thing I could eat.
I lay on this couch, silken and dangerous, and I contemplated my own death. Or perhaps my dearth. In either case, I felt something amiss in my body and mind. Arteries moving slower, pressure behind each eye. Unable to breath properly, what I imagine drowning to be like. My urge was to punch something, break something- show my strength, exercise the will. But instead I lay down. There was no choice. I found myself laying as corpses often do in their vessels. I saw visions of my own death- death on this couch. In the morning, my mother jauntily coming downstairs to discover a mark against her abilities. Bloated, pale corpse. I tried to arrange myself in such a way that death could not follow me, but with the thought of a jaunty mother I also wished to present myself in a way that would allow dignity.
There is death inside me. Disappointment. Feelings of weakness, uncertainty. But there is also a knowledge of getting there, of journey, arrangement. That is what I do. Try to arrange things so that, when the time comes, another will be able to dust off my records and know they are not alone in this arsenic existence.
sick. i am very sick. i have met with parts of myself that are screaming against each other.
how am i-
there are all sorts of pieces in the world. a chopped out windowsill sitting in the middle of a forest. looking through to a canopy of wires.
how to become defined? searching words against flesh.but what of silence? roundness. texture. words that are constructed to(o). but it doesn’t fit together. it has no shape.
i felt, for a moment, as if i knew who i was, through you.
but it is all lost again. i have met with emptiness, and it is there that i place my image.