Monday, June 19, 2006

The Hierarchy of Literary Needs

But I can't get off that easy--to just enjoy the pleasure and duty of producing and responding to produced words. Literature is perhaps not so much a pool as a pipe. Where does the water need to go, and what thirst does it need to satisfy, and what do the thirsty need to do once they have done drinking?

It is back to Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo": with the aesthetic experience is the mandate: you must change your life.


Resist the idea of you want. Dismiss the idea if you want. Be empowered by the idea if you choose.

Reading in The Brothers Karamazov this morning, I see the way Dostoevsky portrays the characters we would wish to emulate--Alyosha and Zossima. I read Zossima's words with interest and think also of the Bishop in Les Miserables. What I conclude is that if we can read and also imagine the right things to say and the right way to act, maybe we can also say and act rightly in our general lives. What a thought--what a hope.

But Lance Kennington says, "Hope is not a plan."

What is the plan then? What is the plan for happiness?

The art of being based in the art of words; word become flesh.

While you're working on it, or even if you choose not to, you can also enjoy the story.


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