Thursday, January 16, 2020

Meditation 13


The actor who plays Glenn Gould drives an old car (it was newer then) and nods his head to Judy Collins' “Downtown.” She’s still singing in the truck stop (always the same thing on the radio back then, I advise my students). He wears dark glasses, the better to retreat behind his ears. One student said her sense of smell is hyperactive because she doesn’t hear well. The conversations form a fugue, so I play them one, though they can’t hear Gould’s droning voice from where they sit. The room is way too cold. Another student says his name lacks the second “r” found in Trump’s son’s name. He’s adamant on that fact. Note that voices are also “voices” in the music, that his finger wants to play keys, but only reaches his coat, that “it’s over!” occurs in English, while the interlocutor’s slow-vowelled French sounds unintelligibly sad. “It’s about eavesdropping,” one student exclaims. It’s the poetics of my pedagogy, I think, these few minutes of attending to others’ sounds and organizing them into music. “Then I’ll do my majic,” writes the Ukrainian thug, or was it his boss? The thug has a comical comb-over, his very few strands of greasy hair pushed forward to meet the cowlick that grazes on his forehead. One student wrote in his exquisite corpse that it was getting harder to fold the pieces of paper. A materialist of the word! We write to express ourselves, while he speaks to accuse the other of acting in as malign a fashion as he does. With projection comes the possibility of a tear in the film, one you have to salvage for now with scotch tape, unless you let the reel run itself apart from any images on the screen. A coyote running off a cliff gets some time to think about hanging in the air, the fall he’s about to take, the inevitable starting over (since he is a cartoon). If only we could rewind the deaths of despair. I went to clean up after a Fellini film, but the last reel was Jerry Lewis, and everyone was filing out of the auditorium confused. Is “inherent value” simply another phrase for “art for art’s sake,” hence a wee bit decadent? Or is it the lung that blows into a balloon that looks down on battlefield or tulip field, for once able to breathe because detached from the earth? One student wants to escape reality in her next life by becoming a unicorn. They’re pretty, she says. The exquisite corpse, he notes, doesn’t tell a story. In what world is the unicorn real? Or is there space outside the real, even for the fictional character in her own world, which we might otherwise call real, lacking a bigger lexicon. She took “I am not a crook” for “cook,” but that was the fault of my bad handwriting.

No comments: