Dear Farrah – poor pilgrim – pedestrian progress.
Are we in the cavemouth or are we rolling down the hill like Jack and Jill? Are we turning into the dark, holding aloft a feeble candle, and deciding to walk – right now – into the belly of a mountain?
Bunyan was in jail. And he was in jail. Was this the cave?
I am told John Bunyan was a Non-Conformist. This mode of non-conformism plays a particular part in the history and construction of England.
To be a writer is to be on an ever-dangerous slide towards fantasy. As the deeper slopes of the cave are made simultaneously fertile and poisonous because of copious bat guano, so too the writer’s imagination.
I cannot answer my question about the author of Pilgrim’s Progress; and yet he strode in his own being as well as in his imagination.
To not abandon the body. To keep hold of our haptic extension even within the slippery gestures of descent, to roll and tumble in another direction: is this ever possible or is this another form of the ever-dangerous?
Again, we protest that here in this journeying; in the rolling, the tripping, and in striding through such rank vales, so there must be gathered from this travel a poetry that lends itself to transformation.
Originating cradle of being: an honoured death site, a surety of rebirth.
The original waters never cease.
It is about diving, drinking, drowning.
To be deeply seduced by this singular oblivion which announces new birth.
Only five years ago you were given this book.
Where are you now?
The dedication reads: May you continue to grow in Him and walk closely with Him.
Your sponsors were happy in witnessing this pivotal moment; your baptism. They were happy and yet they bought you an old book. Perhaps it was their own book they were handing down to you?
It is an old book, written in another England.
It is an old printing. Not an ancient or historic printing, just old. I do not locate a date in the book. The book I am referring to is not the abstract thing, not the story as a rarefied presence, but it is this paperback. Here is a soft and grubby paperback with a brief handwritten text on the title page. The script is for you. The writing is dedicated to you, dear Farrah.
It is an ageing book. An object becoming old.
I do not locate a date in the printed book, none apart from the date of your baptism. The pages in this book are dotted brown and yellowing.
This handwritten dedication must indicate an adult baptism. Here is text made precious not by commodity but by understanding. This is handed unto you, Dear Farrah, for encouragement. From now. To continue the journey. From this moment. This text to accompany you unto a great elsewhere.
Already you have gone to an impossible place. In baptism there is death, a going down. Here a descent which swiftly drags one past bat shit and down, further, to a depth that can be reached by no other conscious means.
Come alive, Dear Farrah, come alive from out this plunge and receive. Receive into your hand this book written out of the strictures of imprisonment. A spacious place is shown, vastness which can only be born out of constriction.
You held this book Farrah, but did you run away from it? Or were you given so many versions of this self-same text that your shelves became embarrassed and, one by one, those surplus items were to be disposed of?
Are you the pilgrim?
Are you running and seeking, both at the same time?
Are you shedding all that is worldly, even this frail paperback?
Lost and guided, each in an instant: O pilgrim of the lost, found in the losing of all.
As I walked through
the wilderness of this world
I lighted on a certain place
A certain place where there was a den…
And, as I slept
There was a den
And I slept
And I dreamed a dream
I, your dear friend, am in myself undone
I your friend undone
By reason of a burden that lieth hard
Lieth hard on me
We are seeking, and we are creating a new element, a radically different atomic structure. The squeezed shapes of an age.
A new element from a different geometry.
We are the creating of this new element, our joining is a different geometry.
This is the familiar fitted together in an unfamiliar fashion; its aroma pervades all things and yet the senses learn to distinguish things not by what they are but by whatever aspect suits our egoism… Only when consciousness deduces a joy foreign to every principle of temporal utility do we begin to discern the mystical significance of waves, crystals, stars…
In the cave we met people.
In the cave we met people in the form of a bull, a lion, a bear and a deer. From the cave we turned around and saw not the comforts of a campfire but, beyond beyond: a moon and many stars, a signal and all gesture, our compass and the unreeling of all wilderness.
Our good people stood close by.
For the sight of good people to them that are going on pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the moon and the stars to them that are sailing upon the seas.
Library Interventions: Moving Knowledge
(one cannot enter anywhere without a glimpse of the liminal).
in this liminality (should one notice it)
there to experience the greater potentiality of transformation.
To experience the greater potentiality is also to be absolutely sure of one’s current entrapment.
There must be a threshold for liminality, and thus a sliver of space in which transformation occurs.
As we look for this slat of bright otherness, so there must be a doorway or gate,
an iconstasis or a veil,
a fence or a facade,
the blank face of actuality – sometimes ornamented –
must be it thrust against the movement of our bodies as a symbol or as an obstacle
an arresting moment which cannot be either here or there
thus for a moment without order there is required an order; the here and there – although these elements are no longer within sensible reach.
Once within the-in-between all order ceases,
yet it is embraced in structure
albeit a rabbit hole
For to notice the liminal, for to enter the transformative potential thereof, thus an initiation.
Initiation is never about the experience within the new, for that would not be possible to impart; always initiation is a method of approach to recognising structure. Initiation is a trap made apparent. Most times, the structure is not noticed. This is one of the functions of good order; to make its structure invisible – not noticed. Yet a vital function of this invisible moment by moment existence is to acknowledge its own redundancy: Time will come when every order fails. Those who have not experienced a liminal being in freefall, being all potential, will dangerously insist on order ever-after, even when all usefulness has gone from that order.
To experience the betwixt and the between there must be a combination of imagined and actual spacial awareness; this is a grounding in the creative (even when there is no apparent ground).
Rock is fire.
Fire is remembering rock.
Rock re-membered is our body
shaped around fire.
To experience aporia is to be caught in a tunnel with fire at either end, to be bewildered by clouds of ink or encircled by a net of bubble. No matter how many times you reverse yourself, your are still caught.
Yes, you heard it
a door slamming will do
or the slow scraping of twigs along glass.
Yes you heard it.
Nodding off on the bus, top deck, and the branches smack in the face
and then the wooden squealing as they scrape alongside you
a trumpeter trying to get out off the corner
of their tight composition.
You heard it, now wake up. Be
convinced by the importance of those words,
pinion stratified structures: words flitting above your head
whooshing and sweeping
and branches arch over the whole road
bending down to vehicle bidden ground.
A door jamb will do, the shudder of the lintel.
You heard the opening and the closing
Gestures and scripts, narrated physicality made into humour.
the mark making gesture;
the abiding with powers which in another circumstance might destroy.
In this process a new aspect of knowledge. A communication of this knowledge is returned to the social realm. It is spoken of around the fire and one by one, following steps which have by now become safer, the group becomes a series of individuals as they witness – alone for a moment – a power at once familiar and yet new. To experience directly this fresh understanding.
In the shape of our novel, so in the shape of the cave, the shape of cognition and being. Both thought and thinking about thought begin to change.
The process of differences serves an internalisation and reordering of gesture. A movement through language is a tool for processing the different. Once gestures become connected (stepping down into a cave, moving earth into image, putting a hand against a horse’s flanks) so do these movements become aspects of a new knowledge. We partake in the changing world.
The novelisation of our imagination is an evolutionary expression of being. Gestures and creatures are related and formed into marks, the marks form gestures which allow one to approach creatures. Differences are set in relation to one another. Each difference and each act of relatedness may then be rediscovered in a newly invented society.
A society exists for as long as it carries a unifying haptics amongst each of its parts. Gestures and scripts link the body. A narrative conveys one safely up until the very point of meeting a power able to dissolve and utterly dismiss that narrative. Now there is new knowledge, change is encountered, a new dance amongst new mark making. Change is encountered and this is either a new story or the end of all stories.
The novelisation of our cave is an evolution of imagination.
The gesture solidified makes type.