Monday, July 21, 2008

A Drift

Thoughts of lightness, and the melting of solidity into air, are suggestive of a relinquishing of will. Amongst the pieces of praise for WG Sebald's After Nature is one from the Los Angeles Times; it advises that, "Only by suspending readerly willfulness will you be able to float weightless through his writing." Such a directive is simultaneously liberating and vertiginous ... how might it be to float, drift, succumb to the writing. After a life of careful reading, 'close reading', this presents a sudden moment of airborne pleasure, a transport of delight. Bobbing along in the words brings a lightheadedness, a moment of abandon, and, as this same song of praise reports, "We are willing to be carried along in a haze of not quite understanding because Sebald also revels in the pure music of words...." Such imprecision, of eluding, alluding, even eliding, meaning, is welcome, embraced ... Many passages entice, the page corners folded over now, for future imbibing, for moments aloft in a drift of words ...

This is infirmitas, the breaking
of time from day to day
and from hour to hour,
it is rust and fires
and the salt of the planets
darkness even at noon and
luminaries absent from heaven.
From WG Sebald, And If I Remained by the Outermost Sea

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