Knight of Journals

On Kierkegaard’s Journals, Blanchot writes: “One has the illusion of finding in them the ideal itinerary that would allow one to observe a thought before coming to it.”

I feel like I am entering a new stage of grief, although what or why I am actually grieving, I’m not quite sure. Trauma selves rupture any sense of chronology, of cause and effect.

The Zopiclone did nothing. I certainly fell asleep within an hour of taking it, but the sleep had was no less restless and broken as all that I’d managed to have over the last week and a half.

The dreams I did have last night were oddly lucid. They chopped and changed erratically. At one point, I found myself at a party, dancing to J Dilla’s Donuts, as if finding momentary joy in the upheaval and jagged edges of fleeting ideas and sketches.

I woke up numb. I showered and thought about heading out to write again. Then I felt angry — and not just angry, but rageful. At what I don’t know. I got the bus and felt like having a fight — I’ve never had a fight. I turned my phone off, fearful I might say things to friends unprompted that I would instantly regret. I felt disconnected but somehow safe, if not from myself then from the possibility I might damage connections irreparably.

I wonder if I am angry about writing, about this dogged and frustrated perserverence with something that is unlocking very little for me at present.

In Kierkegaard’s Journals, Blanchot writes about how the reader “finds in them a prime expression of paradox: his works and his way of thinking are all formed from autobiographical episodes and seem destined to reveal his life, yet at the same time this life, so continuously transmuted indirectly in writings that show it in the form of the highest problems, seem essentially unable to be revealed in its truth and its prolonged drama.”

Even through the candid writings, the confessions, the apparent frankness, I am aware there is so much I don’t say here, so much I only say in company or only to myself. The journal feels like a codex, something for me to use to skirt around a core that is, at present, shapeless, beyond language. The innate intention feels like saying everything there is to be said, until there is nothing left to say but the unsayable.

But in the last few days, when I have felt like I have exhausted my energy for writing, for reading, I am still left with a gap that is no less opaque as when I started. Some things come into focus, some constellations of stars are described, the trajectories of planetary orbits plotted, but still the black holes, the dark matter, all which cannot be made visible or legible without destructive consequences is left undisturbed.

I spoke briefly to someone about Rimbaud. Isn’t Seasons of Hell fantastic? Yes, I say. But I am still more enthralled by his decision to stop writing. It is more incredible to me, as it is to others, that he stopped rather than the fact he managed to write anything of a certain quality. No longer writing, no longer feeling like there is something to be said, feels like the real achievement of a lifetime. Kierkegaard: “All of those who know how to keep quiet become the sons of the gods; for it is by keeping quiet that the awareness of our divine origin is born.”

Blanchot suggests that Kierkegaard’s works are always a kind of love letter to his fiancé, the engagement to whom was broken off seemingly without explanation. But it is as if he hopes “to offer her, by these very books that are an attempt at once to explain himself before her and to confuse the explanation, a procedure at the end of which he will have said said everything to her without revealing anything to her.”

I know I have close friends who do not keep up with the blog, less still this current fury of journal entries, out of a fear they might encounter something from themselves here. But I write consciously to no one besides myself. So much more is always said directly. But perhaps that is no less torturous, to find not themselves but myself in a form they cannot integrate into the intimacy we share or have shared.

I have loved many, and think often of what it is I love in each person; what it is, in each instance, that draws me to them and them to me. What buttons are pressed that a majority fail to get near? What is it to see these buttons pondered if not to recognise the shape of something shared but indescribable?

To write like this is to share the contours of an object shared but ultimately unknown. It is a merciless task to feel the edges out for myself, as I feel I must, whilst knowing others may see something they do not wish to interrogate.

Better to keep silent. But how?

“There is no communication unless that which is said appears like the sign of that which must be hidden”, Blanchot writes. Communication is an evil. “The revelation is wholly in the impossibility of a revelation.”

The writer’s curse again; the poet’s calling. I hardly feel like much of a poet at all, but I recognise my frustrations in Blanchot’s assessment: “It is the role of the poet to busy himself with imagining the religious ideal instead of forcing himself to actualize it in his existence.”

Religion aside, there are so many other beliefs I compulsively imagine, addicted to their elusiveness. Who on earth would ever be a poet? It is a calling that “expresses the torment of the man who, enclosed in himself, wants to announce his secret to others and can only do so by abolishing it.” It is a secret abolished in the strange and elusive ways it is made public, through testimony and confession; by a person’s desire to let torment play out against the material conditions that cause it, whether interpersonal, communal or societal. “Men cause the being whom they persecute to speak in the death that they give him.” Anti-Oedipus but pro-Antigone.

But martyrdom of Antigone is only one option, and a drastic one at that. To repent against the lure of eternal silence is to keep speaking. Here we re-enter the world of masks, the lives of June and Sabina; “every mind needs a mask … no direct communication is ever valid because the truth of a person itself corresponds to a fundamental ambiguity.”

Maybe that’s why I am angry. Maybe that is why I am always preoccupied but dissatisfied with love. Nothing can possibly penetrate deep enough, and those experiences that get close are so deeply tormenting and agonising. But still we desire to get close to people. At every opportunity, however, as masks grow more grotesque and irreal, there is the realisation that, even in our desire to know others absolutely, we cannot help keep something back of ourselves.

Blanchot quotes Jean Wahl’s Études kierkegaardiennes: “If he had openly shown it” — himself, his torment, his truth — “to everyone, no one would have ever looked at it.”

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