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textual intimacy

Appropriations posting

life as literary psychology, part 2 of 5


revised 10.6.10. I got so wound up with this posting, in personal terms that are now removed, that I forgot that it was intended to be a sequel to part 1 of the envisioned 5. I still haven’t done parts 3-5, but this posting is now properly a sequel to part 1.


Listening to you, a cohering sense of your attitude about what we’re talking about likely emerges. Your coherent stance is part of you, instancing something trOpical of your whole sense of the world and life.

If I know you well, a confident sense of you all told (as if all tolled) may be implied in any instance of your presence, a sense made nonconsciously by you over time from all your presentations of yourself—and my projections (perceptions) that prove durable as simply you there being yourself, you so shown in the way you are for any instance. Yet, whom you wholly are can never be exactly known—a life ongrowing.

But one can have a confident sense of an other, in light of time—true for parenting, true for friendship, true all around.

A good story can be like a real other, over time implying a confident sense of the narrator or main character as distinct identity. Between authorial narration and readerly invocation, the story becomes “ours,” emergent from the text. A great story may shorten readers’ actual struggles or educe a real potential for living through whatever better, providing ready advantage for the reader that was unavailable for the author’s struggles or potentials. Conversely, actual (in the flesh) interaction can be like a text. Actual lives may resonate with vintage echoes, archetypal scenery.

Trite to the sophisticated mind, perhaps, but quite important for what we are in nature, stories and lives educate, mentor, heal, and inspire each other like living texts or reading lives (which was a key theme of Deconstructive literary theory and criticism during the latter decades of the 20thC).

So, let us have relief through Literature. And, conversely, let’s live so fruitfully—and dramatically?—that we unwittingly garden stories worth making into so much more than common time allows.

Walt Whitman heralded prospects of some great “Commerce” between Americans (which was by no means about a commodity market, of course). My anticipated Conversation of humanity is probably beyond my talents to gather (though I have an excellent library), but what better to echo than the aspiration of Literary life to embrace a synergy of multimodal mind: all modes of being human gathered into some cohering Eros of, say, philosophically psychological Poiesis.

We shall see. I’m not backing away from the aspiration—though commonly losing the forest through fascination with various trees, like theory of reading, which I want to develop into a sense of especially “literary” reading (but fear I lack the Literary background—but maybe I have deeply inhabited enough; I’m never confident about that).



One’s reading of another across instances, like first reading of a rich text, may be not yet imaginable as one self, a singular voice. Worse yet, our better nature (like the perfect photo) mixes with simulacral ephemora, hiding vulnerability in a mass of sheltered, safe vacuity.

So, Literature is a history of misreading and learning to read—as well as being rhetorical journalism, psychology, therapy, and what all storytelling that fits every conceivable dimension of being alive into a stream of being read.

Software for graphical work may, by default, “snap to grid.” A mind goes for ready coherence. One draws the other into what keeps distant one’s basic questioning of the grid (or schema of understanding), but the question returns in mirrors of willfulness and control, dissociation and carelessness, or one’s selection of memory coalesces the insignificance of what must stay excommunicated (including denial that there is any such endeavor).

So, Literature is so many little stories making time in which a reader selects what trees prevail in a forest drawn; or real lives struggle with the difference.

To have acted wrongly is not to have made oneself essentially all those wrongs.

How interpersonal life relates to one Self (or light to dark) is what literary art best explores.



“The narrative technique known as ‘free indirect style,’” says a recent article, “mingles the character’s voice with the narrator’s. Indirect style enables readers to inhabit two or even three mind-sets at a time. This style, ...became the hallmark of the novel beginning in the 19th century with Jane Austen....”

With “indirect style,” there’s a pretense of synergy between narrator and character minds, as if magically read by the narrator. But it’s derivative of authorial life (which a reader would not see), and the reader releases himself into a synergy with the narration, a displaced affair with the author, together looking “outward” into narrator-read character—the mind reading—distanced from authorial life by narrator confession, framing in the play of different minds a resonance of authorial knowing that one’s mind is a mystery only partially held through each character (irreducible to the lot of them via authorial-narrator difference)—as each of us are various characters with and through each other, in each other, parsing self and interself into postures to which each character belongs in mirrorplays growing each other, cross-pollinating, secretly hybriding through caring and distancing—though the narrator singularly confesses it all as cohering world, as if the author had always been as cohering as the distanced and distancing narrator “unwittingly” expresses; or the author was never so fragmented as the unreliable voice of some self-betraying confidence.

It’s an authorial god’s work: pretending there were no actual lives distanced into characters contemplated (as if all is not ultimately-displaced roman à clef in avowals of artistry), thus magically known by mere fabrication—audacity of talent!—rather than lived, secreted through mere narrator’s confession and framing, and they lived all that because the author is such a talented imagination—that’s all, as their intimacy is just what can be imagined for one’s kind.

We make our ways through streams of well-read letters possibly having some other purely at last in a narrator’s voice made to be entertaining someone else.

“They love longing for boundless synergy, selves merged in highly shared beholding, entwining in the same unfolding time.”