Overstory. Richard Powers

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A novel, where a character dies and revives — listening to voices no one else can hear. Where another is a parpalegic who spends his life coding and living in a cyber dream world, and yet another is married to silence at the death of his family. There is one on the autistic spectrum, who spends his life studying why people do what they do, and a scientist who is almost deaf, who goes years before anyone hears what she has learned. Yet another, felled by a stroke, who can manage only a slngle word at a time–and those, mostly unintelligible.

Whether fiction, or philosophy–or work of art–the one question that links auther, thinker, artist– to their work, the question that hovers over the work, informs everything else one might ask about it:

why did they do this?

What was the unspeakable, imageless, aporia of thought that formed the need and provocation to make this thing?


On p. 383, Ray–the character who has been stroked speechless–is thinking –while his wife reads to him from Anna Karenina:

<To be human is to confiuse a satifying story with a meaningful one, and to mistake life for something huge with two legs. No: life is mobilized on a vastly larger scale,  and the world is failing precisely because no novel can make the contest for the world seem as compleeing as the struggles between a few lost people. >

Try again. Fail again. Fail better

When Death leaves a message–to remind us.


The sciatica hosptial visit–coming together with having to find a place to live, loosing Murphy, an emergency signal from my aunt in Southern Indian … I feel likeI something broke in me.

It was a facebook friend… and comrade… who saw my post on FB, and called 9-ll–persisted when they refused to understand what she was telling them! I had tried to lie down, thinking that if I could sleep, it would give time for this to resolve, but it was so painful I would scream every time I changed positions, and had difficulty standing again.
I couldn’t get down on hands and knees again to find sandles or flip-flops, managed to pull on shorts and a shirt, get down the stairs and open the front door, Barefoot. To wait for the EMT.

There was no one home. this is why I don’t want to live alone in an apt. even if I could afford it and didn’t need to split rent. I’m strong for my age, in relatively good health. I can take care of my needs: shopping, cooking, getting around walking and SEPTA–but one crisis away from a Very Bad End…. I think of Murphy under the table, dying alone in the neighbor’s yard.

Mind/body locked into crisis mode: which means, shut off the chronic anxiety and focused on survival. Noting, that FB played a key part. And not the first time. This is the world we’ve made for ourselves, where we are scattered by distance, dependence on work, or by poverty (which needs to be defined to describe what this has come to mean for our contempory lives) –and our closest community–those who will come to help if they are able, we seldom see face to face, because poverty is more than not having money.  We are in poverty when we are one crisis away from what we once called it, not for lack of money,  but for the destruction of community.

It doesn’t have to be, this way.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Comrades… we can make a better world. This one is not worth trying to save.

Deleuze On Francis Bacon

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts


Francis Bacon’s painting is of a very special violence. Bacon, to be sure, often traffics in the violence of a depicted scene: spectacles of horror, crucifixions, prostheses and mutilations, monsters. But these are overly facile detours, detours that the artist himself judges severely and condemns in his work. What directly interests him is a violence that is involved only with color and line: the violence of a sensation (and not of a representation), a static or potential violence, a violence of reaction and expression. For example, a scream rent from us by a foreboding of invisible forces: “to paint the scream more than the horror…” In the end, Bacon’s Figures are not racked bodies at all, but ordinary bodies in ordinary situations of constraint and discomfort. A man ordered to sit still for hours on a narrow stool is bound to assume contorted postures. The violence of a hiccup…

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