I was going over a Lifeprint ASL lesson, and was stopped cold with an imaginary question… I mean, question that only an act of imagination would answer.
I heard a voice when I read when I was a kid–maybe because i learned to read sitting on my aunts lap when she read to me–it was not my voice, it was the voice of the book.
Someone who has never heard, learns to read English (or other spoken language) as a second language. Reading, at first–for a native signer, would be translation from sign–until they were fluent readers.
This is what I was trying to imagine–what form do the written words take, when you have never heard them? Deaf readers achieve a reading, and writing fluency well beyond any that it’s like, when one is first learning to read a second language–it’s not translation. But what then is the relation to signing?
This is a startling thought… that there must really be comprehension that is meta-language–meaning, that finds itself in word, or signs, but is not identical with word or sign. A primacy of meaning before language.
Why does this seem so incredible to me?
Does this suggest that there is a language beyond language, that underlies all other forms of communication: I think of how animals communicate. I think of music: dancing… of all the arts.
Such freedom as we have, arises out of the generative power of imagination and dreams, which change the shape of our interactive world to make room for us to act out decisions made before we are aware we have made them. Everything in this movement is indirection. We are able to choose to follow a path, only as we are able to imagine it into existence. These are words which describe how that feels to me.
In the morning, I think–I’ve come to the end of what I budgeted for wine this month. I think I’ll not buy any more until the next Social Security deposit–or until I sell another painting, but by some time in the afternoon, this resolve undergoes a change, I can feel it happen: I will finish a painting I like, and want a glass of wine for a reward. I begin to prepare dinner, and think, how good it would be to have a glass of wine with this marinara–and I go to the wine & spirit store, and buy that nice, inexpensive Tisdale Pinot Noir that I like.
What is an addiction, but our body partnering with the source of the addiction to hinder our ability to imagine ourselves without it, as in mourning the loss of one we have deeply loved, we are for a time–even for a lifetime–unable to imagine our lives without them? Imagination is of the body, our body inescapably hooked into the world.
I can, to some degree, give myself to imagining–but always indirectly, by doing something else. Writing a poem, making a painting, the making, what I am doing– choosing pigments and brushing color on the canvas–becomes that ‘something else,’ as I work. When this happens, when I finish–what I’ve made becomes a wonderment, something I had not known I had imagined until it is there before me. The opposite of perfectly completing a task I’ve planned out from the beginning–unless the planning, all along, has itself been the foil. If the painting doesn’t surprise me when I finish it–it feels like a failure. I feel like a failure. As though I had betrayed a job I’d been entrusted do.
“Free will,” as most commonly expressed, is an illusion. I think most of us, most of the time, are but instruments of the machines we have made and set in motion to act in our place, and those who appear to have the most power, are the least free, unconscious servants of the Machinery of Money and Death.
What will free us from this addiction?
Dreams last night. I was walking with another artist in Paris (I’ve never been out of the U.S.A., let alone Paris)–but it was quite vivid, the architecture with its sculptural adornments. I was explaining to my companion, or he was explaining to me (it wasn’t clear) how when you lived in a place where you passed and saw the work of artists going back over time to the middle ages and older–that for a working artist, it would all be contemporary–all working it’s influence, all there to draw on–and it’s very diversity meant that it would be impossible to be merely derivative, or for your own work to be other than wholly new.
This seemed to fold into examining a book of illustrations, like urban street sketches of row houses. There was a small, vague figure in the lower left corner, that I realized when I saw it (as though this were being explained to me), that stood for the person who had committed suicide in each of those houses, or been murdered there… the explanations seemed to increase in the violence revealed, page by page.
These felt like they were the same dream. The same dream message.
New habits for a new Place.
This morning, shower, coffee, breakfast. Read a chapter in a novel Read poems in Lauren Hilger’s Lady Be Good… which became scattered fragments from last night’s dreams and flickering images of old movies.
This is my meditation box. I made it, September, 2014. Today, against the wall, it provided a perfect visual focus.
In the beginning of important things–in the beginning of love, in the beginning of the day, in the beginning of any work, there is a moment when we understand more perfectly than we understand again until all is finished. W.B. Yeats
I didn’t turn on the computer till noon, and have not yet checked news or FB.
I dreamed… drempt… (never liked ‘dreamed’ as past tense. Just don’t sound right)… that I was painting. A very large–very long painting. Dream-voice said: good that you used your whole vocabulary of brush strokes. (Like with traditional Chinese paintings–different classes of strokes for … mountain, bamboo leaves, etc… only this was not representational). Then the thought-voice said Continue reading “Dream-voice. Dream-thought. Making art without the words.”