continent. 1.3 (2011): 158-170. The Fragment as a Unit of Prose Composition: An Introduction —Ben Segal The fragment, the note, the idea, the aphorism even: there are many names and as many uses for such small shards of free-floating text. Typically fragments are less works than gestures, arrows pointing in the direction a person might research, meditate on or develop. Unlike paragraphs or sentences, they do not flow directly from and into their bordering text. Instead they are independent, defined by (...) their singularity, by the white space that encases them on a page – even when they are cobbled together and marshaled into service as the contents of a book. Still, though not exceedingly common, books of fragments (or notes or what-have-yous) do exist. However they are labeled, the very aloofness of disconnected micro-texts allows them certain privileges and possibilities that a writer can employ and exploit. In such instances, the book of fragments may, almost paradoxically, gain a coherence as a singular work, all the more satisfying for its fractures. Two such books are Maggie Nelson's Bluets and Evan Lavender-Smith's From Old Notebooks . In this mini-feature, continent. is pleased to present a series of excerpts from each of these books, a selection of 'outtakes' – fragments that did not make it into the final manuscripts – from each, and short interviews with both Nelson and Lavender-Smith about the fragment as a literary device. Notes on the interviews: 1) Since this feature includes excerpts and outtakes from both Bluets and From Old Notebooks , I chose to ask both Nelson and Lavender-Smith similar questions about working with the fragment as the building-block of a larger work. This means that the questions are, for the most part, more concerned with things like form than about specific passages from the books. 2) In both interviews, I ask a question that cites The Literary Absolute . It should be noted that TLA is concerned with the fragment as developed and understood in the context of the Jena Romantics (the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, etc.), not necessarily the fragment in general. Maggie Nelson Interview: 1. "Bluet" conjures a constellation of similar words. These include Blue, Bullet, and the flower to which the word actually refers. I'm wondering if this range is intentional and if there's anything I'm leaving out. Or, more simply, can you talk a little about the title? I first got interested in the word BLUETS via the painter Joan Mitchell, about whom I’d written earlier in my book on women and the New York School. LES BLUETS is the name of one of my very favorites of all her paintings; she painted it the year I was born. Later the poet Jimmy Schuyler wrote a lovely prose poem about this painting, which I also adored, and which I’ve also written about. So the word had been in my mind for some time, as had her amazing painting (which is in several panels, so also in parts—i.e. in dialogue with questions of parts/wholes). While it was in progress, I always called BLUETS “The Blue Book.” But I knew I always wanted an eventual title that referred, however obliquely, to the book’s form. In this case, the form is notably PLURAL, as is BLUETS, which seemed right. Also, I have always pronounced BLUETS “bluettes,” which is kind of a personal joke about feminization. Like, “majorettes,” etc. It’s a joke because I think the book has a lot to do with the robustness of being a female human, so I found irony in the diminutive nature of the suffix. I also liked the fact that the word means a kind of flower, as it allowed each proposition, or whatever you might call each numbered section, to be thought of as a single flower in a bouquet. This sounds cheesy here, but I think I talk about this idea in a less cheesy way in the book itself, near the end, when I’m ruminating on its composition, and its surprising (to me) slimness, or “anemia.” 2. I know you've thought (and taught) about the fragment as a mode of writing. I'm wondering how your study of the form influences the way you use it. While writing a book, I’m influenced by things the same way I would imagine most writers are: I look for what I want to steal, then I steal it, and make my own weird stew of the goods. Often while writing I’d re-read the books by Barthes written in fragments— A Lover’s Discourse , Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes —and see what he gained from an alphabetical, somewhat random organization, and what he couldn’t do that way. I mostly read Wittgenstein, and watched how he used numbered sections to think sequentially, and to jump, in turn. I read Shonagon’s The Pillow Book , and tried to keep a pillow book about blue for some time. (It didn’t last long, as an exercise, but some of the entries made it into BLUETS.) I re-read Haneke’s Sorrow Beyond Dreams , which finally dissolves into fragments, after a fairly strong chronological narrative has taken him so far. In the course I taught on the fragment, which was somewhat after the fact of writing BLUETS, but conceived in relation to it, we studied a kind of taxonomy of fragments: the decayed fragment (Sappho); the contemporary fragment (text messages, twitter, blog posts, etc.); the modernist fragment (T.S. Eliot; fragment as mark of psychological disintegration); Freud’s fragment (dreams, slips, etc. as thruways to the unconscious; the sampled or plagiarized fragment; fragment as waste, excess, or garbage; the footnote; fragment as frame (Degas, Manet); life narrative as fragment: we can’t see the whole until we’re dead, and then we can’t see it (pathos); fragment as psychological terror (castration, King’s head); fragment as fetish, or as “organ-logic,” as pornography; fragment as metonym & synecdoche; fragment as that which is preserved, or that which remains; fragment as the unfinished or the abandoned; and so on and so forth. I think, in the back of my mind, I was aware of all these categories while writing BLUETS, and put them each into play as needed while writing. The book seems to me hyper-aware of the fragment as fetish, as catastrophe, as leftover, as sample or citation, as memory, and so on. Many of the anecdotes in the book (such as about the decay of blue objects I’ve collected, or my memory of a particularly acute shade of blue, or the recountings of dreams) perform these concepts quite directly. 3. In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like the idea of the “super-work,” the fragment that indicates the whole it has been excised from. However, on a concrete level, I don’t think that’s really true of BLUETS. Some of the propositions are very much in dialogue with the ones that have come before it, acting as rebuffs, or conclusions, or swerves. To detect their motion, one has to already be in the car. Often they are as short as: “ Disavowal , says the silence,” or “As if we could scrape the color off the iris and still see,” or “In any case, I am no longer counting the days.” These don’t make much sense outside of their context. Although, now that I’ve isolated just these few, I can see that they might gesture to the whole—but I think you’d have to know what the whole was, for the exercise to feel full. I am interested, however, in the notion of collecting, of a collection—and how to know when to stop, when you’ve amassed enough. While writing BLUETS, I thought of Joseph Cornell as the ultimate teacher in this respect: he collected enormous amounts of junk, he “hunted” for treasures all over the city, but each box or collage or even film has a certain minimalism, each feels as if it’s been distilled to become exactly as specific as it should be. In other words, the composition emanates from the piles of junk left in its wake, but it in itself becomes perfect. It may be unfashionable, but I’m interested in this sense of perfection. 3b. Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? I have to admit, I don’t entirely understand this question. Preservation of potentiality—that’s what I don’t quite understand. I will say this, though: writing a book, especially a book of this kind (i.e. I’d wanted to write a book on the color blue for my whole life), has a certain pain in it—the pain of manifestation. Every word that gets set down, every decision made—form, content, sentence structure, image—begins to define a work that previously was a kind of infinitely indeterminate mental cloud, or beautifully diffuse physical sensation. As the book comes into being, I’m often thinking, “this is it? this is all it’s going to be?” For me, I think it’s this feeling, rather than that of not having anything to say, or a terror of the blank page, that can bring a sort of writer’s block. Think of Lily Briscoe at the end of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse —after her long reverie, she eventually must make the mark on the canvas. She brings the brush down, then sighs: “There, I have had my vision.” To have made the mark, to have manifested the vision, brings with it a certain satisfaction, a certain euphoria and relief—but also a brand of pathos. Of all the possible books, you wrote this book. Of all the possible brush strokes, you made this one. How very strange! The good news is, you’re usually so tired when you finish a book that you don’t care anymore—you’re just happy it’s finished, and that you can move on. And if you’re lucky, you may eventually marvel at the specificity of the result, feel the magic and largesse in its specificity, in its singularity. I feel this way about BLUETS. 4. Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in Bluets as well as other texts that use a similar approach. BLUETS always had a specific set of dramatic personae, and also a sort of narrative arc. It begins by saying, “Suppose I were to begin,” which places the whole book, at least for me, in the realm of the novelistic, or at least the speculative. That freedom was important to me while writing. I have a lot of issues, for lack of a better word, with narrative, but I also have no problem with trying to structure a work so that it acts as a page-turner. I wanted there to be a lot of momentum in this book, as well as plenty of opportunities for eddying out into cul-de-sacs. That was the tension—how to make some chains of propositions that pull you forward, and then allow for some to bring you so far afield that you might find yourself wondering, “why are we talking about this here?” before remembering how you got there, and why it might matter. While some of the fragments may seem disconnected or distinct, the truth is that they each had to fall into one the book’s major categories, which included love, language, sex, divinity, alcohol, pain, death, and problems of veracity/perception. If I truly couldn’t tether an anecdote or factoid to the thread, it eventually had to go. I also spaced out the distinct threads fairly methodically, and had the characters reappear at a fairly regular rate. There’s even a kind of “where are they now?” section at the end, announced by my injured friend’s letter to her friends, in which she tells them how her spinal cord injury has affected her life, and how she feels today. I’m sure one could write a book of very disconnected fragments that didn’t so overtly weave into a whole—I’ve read many of them—but it’s also true that the mind will always work overtime to put disparate things together; the Surrealists mined that tendency for all it was worth. I think that’s a cool approach, to let the reader make the connections, but it’s important to me as a writer to make sure that the connections, when made, actually point toward what I want to be pointing at, rather than just reflecting the human brain’s capacity to make a bridge. 5. To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes, fragments, bluets, and aphorisms? Basically, is taxonomy important? Taxonomy, hmm. At some point I was very compelled by issues of taxonomy, but over the years I’ve grown less interested in the question, as the notion of the “hybrid” or the “cross-genre” seems to have become its own kind of jargon or pitch. I got very excited some time ago when I was trying to subtitle my book JANE, and I came across Brian Evenson’s book DARK PROPERTY: AN AFFLICTION. I thought—of course! A book can be a CONDITION rather than a GENRE. So I subtitled JANE “A Murder,” with this concept in mind. My most recent book, THE ART OF CRUELTY, I subtitled “a reckoning,” using the same logic. This has been one means of skirting the whole genre issue. On the other hand, I don’t really like it when people called BLUETS “notes” or “aphorisms,” or “fragments,” because it’s not really any of those things. Aphoristic philosophy—which was one of this book’s inspirations—is not made up of just aphorisms per se. There may be great aphorisms to be found in Nietzsche or Wittgenstein, for example, but neither is writing a series of one-liners. Their projects are bigger than that. They are in dialogue with argumentation as much as with impression. Likewise, I don’t really see BLUETS as poetry. I mean, I don’t care if someone wants to call it that—if they do, it happily expands the notion of poetry—but I’ve written enough poetry to have a lot of respect for its particular tools, which include the line break, and forms of logic unavailable to prose. BLUETS thinks in prose; it is written in prose. It sometimes thinks in images, and sometimes in sound, but essentially it is about sentences, and about trains of prose logic and their limits. But if someone wants to call it poetry, I wouldn’t go to the mat about it. 6. Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Texts about fragments to recommend: Here are the ones that come immediately to mind: The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert , Anne Carson’s If Not, Winter , Stevie Smith, “The Person from Porlock,” the poetry of Lorine Niedecker, Lucille Clifton, and Paul Celan, Tom Phillips’s A Humument , Ann Lauterbach’s essay on “the whole fragment,” Linda Nochlin, The Body in Pieces , Mary Ann Caws, The Surrealist Look , Heather McHugh, Poetry and Partiality . And the drawings of David Shrigley 7. And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. No, I’m happy with these questions!! The Beginning of Bluets (An Excerpt) 1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkins as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a sea horse) it became somehow personal. 2. And so I fell in love with a color – in this case, the color blue – as if falling under a spell, a spell I fought to stay under and get out from under, in turns. 3. Well, and what of it? A voluntary delusion, you might say. That each blue object could be a kind of burning bush, a secret code meant for a single agent, an X on a map too diffuse ever to be unfolded in entirety but that contains the knowable universe. How could all the shreds of blue garbage bags stuck in brambles, or the bright blue tarps flapping over ever shanty and fish stand in the world, be, in essence, the fingerprints of God? I will try to explain this. 4. I admit that I may have been lonely. I know that loneliness can produce bolts of hot pain, a pain which, if it stays hot enough for long enough, can begin to stimulate, or to provoke – take your pick – an apprehension of the divine. ( This ought to arouse our suspicions. ) 5. But first, let us consider a sort of case in reverse. In 1867, after a long bout of solitude, the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé wrote to his friend Henri Cazalis: “These last months have been terrifying. My Thought has thought itself through and reached a Pure Idea. What the rest of me has suffered during that long agony, is indescribable.” Mallarmé described this agony as a battle that took place on God's “boney wing.” “I struggled with that creature of ancient and evil plumage – God – whom I fortunately defeated and threw to earth,” he told Cazalis with exhausted satisfaction. Eventually Mallarmé began replacing “le ciel” with “l'Azur” in his poems, in an effort to rinse references to the sky of religious connotations. “Fortunately,” he wrote Cazalis, “I am quite dead now.” 6. The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love's primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain. 7. But what kind of love is it, really? Don't fool yourself and call it sublimity. Admit that you have stood in front of a little pile of ultramarine pigment in a glass cup at a museum and felt stinging desire. But to do what? Liberate it? Purchase it? Ingest it? There is so little blue food in nature – in fact blue in the wild tends to mark food to avoid (mold, poisonous berries) – that culinary advisers generally recommend against blue light, blue paint, and blue plates when and where serving food. But while the color may sap appetite in the most literal sense, it feeds it in others. You might want to reach out and disturb the pile of pigment, for example, first staining your fingers with it, then staining the world. You might want to dilute it and swim in it, you might want to rouge your nipples with it, you might want to paint a virgins robe with it. But you still wouldn't be accessing the blue of it. Not exactly. 8. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that all desire is yearning. “We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it,” wrote Goethe, and perhaps he is right. But I am not interested in longing to live in a world in which I already live. I don't want to yearn for blue things, and God forbid, for any “blueness.” Above all, I want to stop missing you. 9. So please do not write to tell me about any more beautiful blue things. To be fair, this book will not tell you about any, either. It will not say, Isn't X beautiful? Such demands are murderous to beauty. 10. The most I want to do is show you the end of my index finger. Its muteness. Bluets that did not make the final version of Bluets We think of a glowing chunk of sapphire, for instance, or a pane of Chartres stained glass, as luminous, and God knows they are. But such luminosity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with clarity . To call something a false idol is to elevate it to the company of deities, even if one eventually casts it down (cf. Milton giving Lucifer the best speeches). For the truth is that I have never really understood what love and will have to do with each other. Following the blue, as if tracking a trail of decomposing crumbs left in the woods by a benevolent or absentminded stranger, is, at times, the best I can do. Joan Mitchell: so beautiful and athletic when young; so craggy and indomitable as she aged—in both cases, without vanity —like my Swedish grandparents, whom I barely knew, but whom I remember as being tan and fair at the same time, prematurely decimated by morning vodka with OJ and an endless boil of cigarettes. Do not think, however, that this is a scrapbook in which blue is the star and I its delirious fan. For it is a mistake to think of blue as separate from us. It is the bulge of the carotid against the bracket of your skin. It is the matrix of veins that enlaces your heart. At one point during this period, Klein—no stranger to grandiosity—“signed the sky.” He also arranged performances at which he dipped naked women from head to toe in IKB blue, rolled an enormous canvas out on the floor, and instructed the women to drag each other around on top of it while a string quartet played nearby. He called the women “human paintbrushes.” In both cases, I have arguably been nothing more than a child of illusion. Beethoven felt differently. “Can you lend me the Theory of Colours for a few weeks?” he wrote to a friend in 1820. “It is an important work. His last things are insipid.” There would seem to be a lesson here, but I am not prepared to describe it. “They feel as though if you fell into them you would be trapped and unable to breathe, choked and suffocated by the powdery pigment,” wrote Berger of Klein’s IKB monochromes. At times I look forward to this ravaging, if only because it represents all that I am supposed to fear, and because, if one manages to live long enough, it seems something of an inevitability, and looking forward to an inevitability seems at least an approximation of spiritual wisdom. In the far-off blue places, one finds oneself face to face with one’s stupidity. The cradle of it. It is a tremendous relief. Instead of sputtering forth a gargle, a howl, or an assertoric proposition, one can remain silent, stupefied. It is as if one’s tongue had been sewn, at long last, into its den. For one does not just seek oblivion. One can also find it. Sometimes one can even purchase it. Of the oblivion seekers themselves, Eberhardt says simply: “They are people who like their pleasure.” Caravaggio is a serious painter. He does not use blue. Neither does Goya, nor Velasquez. They are tenebrists , not denizens of the carnival. The blues of Picasso and Matisse, even in their most melancholy applications, do not strike me as altogether serious. The blues of Joseph Cornell, Hiroshige, Fra Angelico, and Cézanne, on the other hand, strike me as quite serious. The blue of Vermeer is simply too painful to discuss here. Let us leave the woman in blue alone with her letter. Let us leave her transfixed, standing on the bright edge of the earth, about to fall. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly thought that the most powerful mordant was a drunk man’s piss: yet another instance in which alcohol fastens the blue. But one can, I think, feel similarly bound, without the spirit. And when Cornell made Rose Hobart , he had to snip away 57½ minutes of the original film in order to showcase the object of his desire. Love, too, can sometimes be a condensery . On the other hand, speaking through the voice of the Egyptian god Thamus, Socrates comes down fairly forcefully for poison : “This discovery of yours [i.e. writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth.” But what has a soul to do with memory? I admit that here I run out of ideas; I must again consult the Encyclopedia. “Much of our moral life depends on the peculiar ways in which we are embedded in time.” This has the aura of truth, but really it takes us no further. For what has morality to do with memory, or with a soul? Instead of a roving dialogue unfolding under the shade of a plane tree, this is more like a coarse talk show taking place in a hall of mirrors: no guests, one host. To do: make a list of people who seem to have found some dignity in their loneliness, and consult it when I feel constitutionally incapable of abiding my own. “Frequent tears have run the colours from my life” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Does it follow, in spiritual matters, that one’s doubt is surrounded by a plateau of certainty? “Whosoever unceasingly strives upward, him can we save,” wrote Goethe. But who is to say that faith isn’t the abyss, and doubt the surrounding peaks? For while we may have learned the names for these things, articulation is still a form of accommodation. We stutter to each other in a sort of shorthand, at times carving out shapely analogies. But we cannot be sure that we are talking about the same things, or that we are employing the same code. —But now you are talking as if you were drowning, your lungs swollen with expired air. Why not just give up the dive? In which case you could start swimming along the surface: a cold spot here, a warm patch there. Same pond. Remember: the knights pure enough to enter the presence of the Holy Grail never return. It is only those who have been “incompletely transformed” who come back to tell the tale. And some seekers don’t come back from the wilderness as shamans, but rather as brain-damaged vegetables whose musculature now resembles gelatin. Remember this if someone appears in a field of chollas, hands you a loincloth and a tab of pure blotter acid with one hand, and keeps the other out of sight. We might here note that Andy Warhol was also, for a time, riveted by blue pussy. His blue pussy was a beatific cat, gazing upward from the last page of his 1954 book of watercolors, 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy , looking as if he were happily anticipating “pussy heaven,” as Warhol elsewhere termed the feline afterlife. Perhaps, then, the mistake is to look for a vividness, or a sweetness, apart from illusion. In which case we waste much precious time warding off the specter of the mirage . In such moments, death itself may appear a light-hearted occurrence. Evan Lavender-Smith Interview: 1) Do you consider From Old Notebooks (FON) to be a kind of constraint writing? I guess it would have been more of a constraint if you'd only culled things from your notes instead of writing pieces specifically for/relating to FON. I certainly think that the book shares something important with constraint writing, as I think it does with conceptual writing, although I don't know that it fits neatly into either of these categories. Perhaps it's a kind of faux-constraint or -conceptual writing. The book's primary constraint—only things written in notebooks are allowed —sort of collapses under the weight of its own self-reflexivity; as you say, the entries become about the book itself, which I think ends up undermining or subjugating the austerity we associate with a more typical constraint-based writing. I suppose there's also a secondary constraint associated with the structure of the book and the ordering of the entries, this zany process whereby I classified entries according to a number (1 through 12, I think) referencing subject/theme, then deleted all of the entries leaving only their reference numbers, then arranged the numbers in something resembling sonata form, then plugged all the entries back into their placeholders. But that's a very secret, Roussel-type constraint, one that perhaps does not do much to create a noticeable intensity of constraint. And also I ended up making many revisions to the order of the entries that broke with the output of my secret formula. So yes, I think something like "sham constraint" writing is probably a more appropriate designation. 2) FON is very often self-reflective, often feels as if it is struggling to pin itself down. I'm wondering if the form (disjointed notes) allows for that kind of reflection to creep in repeatedly without weighing down the whole book. Does the ability to ask a question and then immediately head off in a totally different direction free you to be self-doubting without wallowing? Does this question make sense? Maybe I should ask more generally what kinds of content does this form afford that more traditionally structured work might not? I am hopeful that the self-reflexivity is less cloying in this book than I find it to be in other highly self-reflexive texts on account of what you mention, the ability of the book to veer off in another direction nearly every time an instance of explicit self-reflexivity occurs. I would say this is also the case with respect to the book's many instances of pathos and sentiment or even bathos and sentimentality: whenever the book broaches sentimentality in an entry, it is followed by another entry about something totally different, which can serve to undercut the sentiment of the previous entry. And this is probably also the case with the book's movement toward and immediately away from entries/fragments dealing with specific literary or philosophical texts/authors with which some readers may be unfamiliar, insofar as one entry might concern Kant's transcendental idealism and the next entry the color of my infant son's poo. The book is quite contrapuntal, in this respect, which is one of the things that original structuring scheme was meant to effect. As to alternative or unusual kinds of content afforded by the book's form, I'd like to think they are many, but I have always been most excited by what I perceive to be the book's presentation of a kind of form-becoming-content, this process by which the reader is engaged with form as he might otherwise be with character, or with setting, or with plot—part of what's driving the reading experience may be the reader's sense of an evolving form, a form that begins somewhat expositionally, that becomes somewhat conflicted and tense, and that finally achieves a kind of resolution. But, from another perspective, the book's form remains exactly the same from the first to the last page. My reading of the book would posit or project a kind of talk-to/talk-back relationship between form and content; each is strongly influencing our vision of the other, and perhaps, over the course of the book, they become difficult to distinguish. 3) In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like this idea, but I may have some reservations about generalizing it too far beyond Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe's intended historical context. In my book, there are perhaps some entries/fragments that possess a sort of immanent intensity—entries seemingly able to "speak for themselves," so to speak—but there are also very many that do not. I think that the book itself would argue—in fact, I believe it explicitly does so—against this notion that any one of its constituent parts could be removed from the whole and still remain "meaningful" or "true." I imagine the parts of the whole, in this book, not as cogs in relation to some whole mechanics or machine, say, but instead as mechanical movement itself; perhaps the most important thing about any given entry is not what it says so much as the fact that it begins and ends. The book seems to me to be always moving forward in time and space; once a fragment has happened, the book is done with it; there's no turning back, no looking over the shoulder. There's an entry somewhere that goes something like "This book is nothing more than the trash can of my imagination," a potential interpretative model that has become something of a guiding light in my understanding of the book's form: the entries/fragments do certainly accrue, as trash accrues, but we don't necessarily feel compelled to go picking through this heap of trash. 3b) Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? Of course I think about this mostly in relation to the fragments/entries concerning specific potential works, the entries that begin "Story about" or "Novel about," etc. As I continue to work to see many of the ideas in the book realized, even today—and as I will likely continue to do for a long time—I remain in a sort of dialogue with the book. So I find myself still writing the book, in some sense, even though the book is already written. One of my favorite things about From Old Notebooks is how it opens its own amorphous and evolving prefatory engagement with my future writing. I believe the book references the claim of some critics that Ulysses was written in such a way to make it appear as if it were presaged by passages in the New Testament, just as some have claimed that passages in the New Testament were written to create the appearance of having been forecasted by passages in the Old Testament (I believe there is a specific poetic figure denoting this kind of retroactive foreshadowing that I'm now failing to recall). I've always really loved that idea and perhaps still hold out hope that my future writing will serve to indirectly modify From Old Notebooks in these types of sly and tricky ways. Also, in relation to the above-mentioned trash-can model as one of many such potential models for the book's form, there's a way in which the book regularly returns to a reading of itself, always trying to understand how it is working and always coming up with new strategies for its own analysis. So it seems to me, with respect to the preservation of potentiality, that the book is also intent on preserving its own "infinite hermeneutics" (or at least an illusion thereof). 4) Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in FON as well as other texts that use a similar approach. I think it's important to address the burden placed on the reader vis-à-vis development when considering narratological staples like character and plot in relation to highly fragmented narratives. In my own reading experience of books in which neat narrative progression is supplanted by a fragmentary or elliptical progression, the reader oftentimes must begin committing to processes of projection and transference in order to eke out that amount of development she would require of narrative. I especially like this possibility for two reasons. The first is that in the absence of stable or "full" development, we may feel inclined, as readers, to fill in the blanks with manifestations of our own, consciousness-specific desire for coherence, which can create a sort of personalized Möbius strip out of reading and writing, artistic creation and reception becoming tangled, distinctions and distances between these categories becoming blurred. The second, which may follow from the first for the more theoretically inclined reader, is that this process may serve to expose our own prejudices about what narrative is supposed to do or achieve, thereby leading us to an anxious readerly condition in which we are forced to confront the poverty of our own understanding regarding the first principles of narrative art. These two effects—1) tangling the reading/writing experience, and 2) forcing the reader's reconsideration of artistic rule—are, to my thinking, among the most powerful effects available to writing. 5) To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes , fragments , thoughts , and aphorisms ? Basically, is taxonomy important? Supplementary question: In FON , there is a passage: "Why am I so averse to classifying FON as poetry-because poetry doesn't sell." If you want, this might be a good place to talk about genre classifications as well. This answer will surely seem coy or naïve to some people, but the fact is that my own tedious and protracted grappling with the strictures and arbitrariness of generic classification has finally given way to a vision of an imaginative writing largely unfettered by those academic or commercial or cultural pressures which have served to delimit the typological boundaries of art and language. That seems to be a goal for me, anyway, to work to maintain a position of restless and relentless searching in relation to form, and to resist, as best I can, pressures associated with the commodification or canonization of language and form. Of course that position is itself probably overdetermined by pressures both within and beyond my comprehension—e.g. it is very reactionary; very Modernist, in a sense—and it also strikes me to be of a piece with a rather antiquated and distasteful image of artistic creation and the "author-function," but nonetheless it's what I seem to prefer. 6) Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Here are some things I've recently read and enjoyed in which I felt the fragment was the text's dominant or near-dominant mode of engagement with narrative/poetic/philosophical development and progression. Mean Free Path , Ben Lerner Bluets , Maggie Nelson Varieties of Disturbance , Lydia Davis Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel , Evan S. Connell AVA , Carole Maso Reader's Block , David Markson Deepstep Come Shining , C.D. Wright The Passion According to G.H . by Clarice Lispector The Crab Nebula , Éric Chevillard The Book of Questions , Edmond Jabès Monsieur Teste , Paul Valéry Mourning Diary , Roland Barthes The Arcades Project , Walter Benjamin Philosophical Investigations , Ludwig Wittgenstein "Diapsalmata," from Either/Or , Søren Kierkegaard Unfortunately, I haven't read much theory discussing the fragment as a narratological device, although I did enjoy the Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe book you mention above. 7) And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. I should say that From Old Notebooks is currently out of print, as I, perhaps bullheadedly, insisted that the publisher remove the book from their catalog when I discovered that they'd been implementing a pay-to-publish scheme, which, given the revelation of its specific details, I felt to be manipulative and unethical. There are many used copies floating around, though, and I am hopeful that the book will be reprinted someday. From Old Notebooks Excerpts NB: The first excerpt covers the first few pages of the book. The second covers pages 16 and 17. These excerpts show how FON develops from a series of ideas for texts to a more varied series of notes that further reveal the character, preoccupations, and desires of the writer. Excerpt 1: Short story about a church on the ocean floor. Congregation in scuba gear. Memoir in which narrator struggles to describe her childhood – offering two or more contrary accounts of the same event – having been raised by divorced parents with unresolved anger toward each other such that discrepancies between parents' accounts of each other's involvement in her childhood have damaged narrator's memory beyond repair. Academic essay entitled “ Cute Title: Serious Subtitle : On the Preponderance of Precious Subtitling in Academic Essays.” Novel in chapters, each chapter spanning one year, 1977 – 2006. In lieu of chapter number, photograph of Tom Cruise's face from that year. Story about a garbage man who cannot fathom how anyone might be content living a life not wholly dedicated to being a garbage man. Excerpt 2 Something entitled “From Old Notebooks,” simply a transcription of entries from these notebooks. Story involving a couple whose divorce proceedings center upon the allocation of the books contained in the family library. Living off-campus on the outskirts of a city where I knew no one, in a studio apartment the size of a large walk-in closet, I would occupy myself in the evenings with and obsessive study of the shadows of my hands against the wall as I faux-conducted piano concertos; and later, after having taken three Ambien, intimate conversations with bits of magma crawling across the carpet that had detached from the glowing wires on my electric space heater. That same year, in a fit of manic loneliness, I invited a raccoon into my apartment with a trail of cracker crumbs. Do not let Jackson and Sofia live off-campus as undergraduates. Cached auto-complete entry options that appear when I type the letter e into the search field in the toolbar of my internet browser: evan lavender-smith “evan lavender-smith” “evan lavender smith” evan + “lavender-smith” evan + “lavender smith” evan + lavender + smith The letter f: fear of death Contemporary authors who construct a thick barrier between themselves and their readers such that authorial vulnerability is revealed negatively, i.e., via the construction of the barrier. If Team USA had a mascot, it would be God. Character who refers to Wellbutrin as his muse. “I hope to one day storm out on Terry Gross during an interview because I am that kind of eccentric famous author.” ----------------- Notes that were cut from From Old Notebooks Short story about literary executors sifting through the Gmail account of a recently deceased author. It would better suit me to drive a hybrid hearse. First line of a story: "The M.F.A. in creative writing was the degree Shontiqua had her sights set on . " Story/mock-essay: conflation of the obnoxious languages of U.S.A. patriotism and M.F.A. workshops. The flag at half-mast because the market’s way down today. Awakened from dream . . . saw figure in arrangement of stars . . . closed eyes . . . dream changed. . . . The smile is perhaps the human equivalent to the dog's wagging tail, with an important caveat: the human can fake a smile. Can a man fake an erection? To do philosophy, Back then I was doing some philosophy —what a ridiculoususage. It is thanks to the proud philosopher who, attempting to justify his existence, humbles himself to a position of activity. The greatest act of fraud on the part of philosophy is that it attempts to exist outside of time , the word of the philosopher presented to us as the Word. This is what Derrida means to criticize when he praises Nietzsche's pluralism, or Levi-Strauss's mythopoetics: Philosophy cannot pretend to be above or beyond the form of the book. The question of being flashes through us , mind and body. The corporealization of the question of being. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must—write? The proliferation of M.F.A. programs in creative writing has given rise to the whirlpool of conservatism which is contemporary American literature. Surely it's no coincidence that I began From Old Notebooks shortly after I stopped seeing my therapist. Somewhere I read Edmund Wilson refer to Beckett's late style as terminal . I understand why he would say so, but I would prefer to reserve that term for David Markson's late style. Random House settles out of court to pay $2.35 million in genre-damages made by James Frey against his readers. What if the publisher of F.O.N. markets the book as a novel , and it later comes to light that the book was in fact a memoir . . . ? That the problem of death has been outmoded is the grand illusion of philosophy after Heidegger. The modern philosopher says, "Death is not my problem. Being is my problem." The modern philosopher might call death an adolescent problem , and being an adult problem . But what he fails to recognize is that the concept of being is merely an abstraction of the concept of death. (He forgets that being is incidental to non-being, and that the latter is only conceivable by way of analogy to death .) The modern philosopher wants to pretend that death is irrelevant to his project, but it is the impetus for his project. Surely the reason I lash out against it is that I am jealous of poetry. Surely contemporary poetry does not deserve my wrath . Someone could read the book with an almanac in hand and point to certain entries which suggest the concurrence of public events (e.g., terror, war, football), thereby assigning dates to those entries. As if. Do people auction their personal diaries on eBay? I might consider auctioning these notebooks if the book is ever published, in keeping with the spirit of the book, that is, the spirit of facile self-disclosure. The poem is dead. Long live the poem! The ending of F.O.N. might contain the beginning of the next book—a sequel entitled Work-In-Progress . F.O.N. might blurinto W.I.P. The point of physical distinction between the two books would be arbitrary. Work-In-Progress would be written in the same form as F.O.N., but it would be also written in an entirely different form, as the (conception of the) form of the book "F.O.N. + W.I.P." is an evolving (conception of) form, a (conception of) form that is always becominganother (conception of) form. No matter how much I want to force From Old Notebooks to become something called Work-In-Progress , I won't be able to: any contrived becoming of that sort would represent a violence on the form of the book. I'm going to have to take a leap at some point, though, a leap out of the book, like a leap from a burning building. “The Voidhood of the Void; or, An Archaeology of Nothing.” Rather than enact the high drama of self-reflexivity, the new writing will accept self-reflexivity as status quo —metafiction's birthday is passed, no need to keep celebrating—in the tradition of the documentary film, the reality TV show, and the internet blog. Such a writing must, by definition, be genreless, or make the question of genre irrelevant: hence, the post-generic . Perhaps my next novel will be a one-page poem. (shrink)
Objective To assess parental permission for a neonate's research participation using the MacArthur competence assessment tool for clinical research (MacCAT-CR), specifically testing the components of understanding, appreciation, reasoning and choice. Study Design Quantitative interviews using study-specific MacCAT-CR tools. Hypothesis Parents of critically ill newborns would produce comparable MacCAT-CR scores to healthy adult controls despite the emotional stress of an infant with critical heart disease or the urgency of surgery. Parents of infants diagnosed prenatally would have higher MacCAT-CR scores than parents (...) of infants diagnosed postnatally. There would be no difference in MacCAT-CR scores between parents with respect to gender or whether they did or did not permit research participation. Participants Parents of neonates undergoing cardiac surgery who had made decisions about research participation before their neonate's surgery. Methods The MacCAT-CR. Results 35 parents (18 mothers; 17 fathers) of 24 neonates completed 55 interviews for one or more of three studies. Total scores: magnetic resonance imaging (mean 36.6, SD 7.71), genetics (mean 38.8, SD 3.44), heart rate variability (mean 37.7, SD 3.30). Parents generally scored higher than published subject populations and were comparable to published control populations with some exceptions. Conclusions The MacCAT-CR can be used to assess parental permission for neonatal research participation. Despite the stress of a critically ill neonate requiring surgery, parents were able to understand study-specific information and make informed decisions to permit their neonate's participation. (shrink)
The Oregon Basic Health Services Act of 1989 seeks to establish universal access to basic medical care for all currently uninsured Oregon residents. To control the increasing cost of medical care, the Oregon plan will restrict funding according to a priority list of medical interventions. The basic level of medical care provided to residents with incomes below the federal poverty line will vary according to the funds made available by the Oregon legislature. A rationing plan such as Oregon's which potentially (...) excludes medically necessary procedures from the basic level of health care may be just, for the right to publically-sponsored medical care is restricted by opposing rights of private property. However, the moral acceptability of the Oregon plan cannot be determined in the absence of knowing the level of resources to be provided. Finally, Oregon to date has failed to include the individuals being rationed in discussions as to how the scarce resources are to be distributed. (shrink)
Signs of mankind's solidarity, by J. R. Nelson.--Mankind, Israel and the nations in the Hebraic heritage, by M. Greenberg.--Christian insights from biblical sources, by C. Maurer.--Muhammad and all men, by D. Rahbar.--The impact of New World discovery upon European thought of man, by E. J. Burrus.--The effects of colonialism upon the Asian understanding of man, by J. G. Arapura.--Religious pluralism and the quest for human community, by S. J. Samartha.--From Confucian gentleman to the new Chinese 'political' man, by D. (...) A. Robinson.--The scientific revolution and the unity of man, by B. Towers.--Language and communication, by E. A. Nida.--Man and the son of man, by J. Moltmann.--The potentiality of conciliarity: communion, conscience, council, by W. B. Blakemore.--Oneness must mean wholeness, by J. R. Nelson. (shrink)
I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuitionism collapse into “subjectivism”, i.e., that they make truth in ethical theory depend on what people believe. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.M. Hare and Peter Singer.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's recent defense of moral skepticism raises the debate to a new level, but I argue that it is unsatisfactory because of problems with its assumption of global skepticism, with its use of the Skeptical Hypothesis Argument, and with its use of the idea of contrast classes and the correlative distinction between "everyday" justification and "philosophical" justification. I draw on Chisholm's treatment of the Problem of the Criterion to show that my claim that I know that, e.g., baby-torture is (...) wrong, is no more question-begging than Sinnott-Armstrong's denial that I know this. (shrink)
What do Ross’s The Right and the Good; Chisholm’s Theory of Knowledge; Kripke’s Naming and Necessity; and Audi’s The Architecture of Reason have in common? They all advance important philosophical positions, but not so much via analytic arguments as via formal schemas, distinctions, examples, and analogies. They use such formal schemas, etc, to describe the world so as to make some aspect of it manifest. That is, they simply try to ‘tell it like it is’. This ‘method of descriptive manifestation’ (...) is less commonly recognized than it should be given its divergence from the self-image of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to bring some order to a classic debate over the mind/body problem. I formulate the dualist, identity, and eliminativist positions and then examine the disagreement between eliminativists and their critics. I show how the apparent impasse between eliminativists and non-eliminativists can be helpfully interpreted in the light of the higher-order debate over methodological versus substantive commitments in philosophy. I argue that non-eliminativist positions can be defended using Roderick Chisholm's defense of what he calls "particularism" in (...) the problem of the criterion. (shrink)
I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuition make ethical theory politically and noetically conservative. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.B. Brandt, R.M. Hare and Richard Miller.
INTRODUCTION BY NANCY FUMERO What is a translation that stalls comprehension? That, when read, parsed, obfuscates comprehension through any language – English, Portuguese. It is inevitable that readers expect fidelity from translations. That language mirror with a sort of precision that enables the reader to become of another location, condition, to grasp in English in a similar vein as readers of Portuguese might from João Guimarães Rosa’s GRANDE SERTÃO: VEREDAS. There is the expectation that translations enable mobility. That what was (...) written in one language be accessible in another. And that a translator is to serve as a mediator, acting ultimately in service to ideas within the source text. To disperse them. However, this notion of translation is partly antithetical to the ideas in Rosa’s work. Or, alternately, to convey the despair of terrain slipping beneath one’s feet, and to encounter the heightened suspense of magic, the translation, as part of its strategy, cannot devotedly rely on its original language, not as its source text. The work undertaken by Felipe W.Martinez is a new form of translation that risks everything in order to encounter the same treacherous knowing Rosa had traversed. And it takes its risks by not taking risks: by being, almost word for word, a literal translation. This is an approach that reductively converts, as opposed to translates. The idiomatic differences between English and Portuguese are not accented. The syntax is not finessed. Liberties are not assumed on account of improving readability. What stands, resoundingly amid such absences, is the awakened challenge of reading. The genuine peril of not knowing. That is, this translation, one that purports to know nothing, creates access into the guileful world Rosa had created in Portuguese. But not by translating. If anything, GRANDE SERTÃO: VEREDAS is speaking a cosmic language through a linguistic one. And W.Martinez does us the service of recognizing this, as what configures the shapes of words and sentences is not as simple as neologisms, portmanteaus, and digressions, but as terrifying as the path the fool traverses: all paths. As such, this translation doesn’t speak English, just as the original does not speak Portuguese. It is the assemblage of paradox as a new logic that can be navigated, if only one could suspend the comfort of readability, of expectation. If one could descend a mountain in the pitch dark of night, each step shocking the body, unable to acclimate to the unleveled heights. Without a doubt, the translation is incongruous to the Portuguese. Taking a small excerpt to compare: Eh, well, thereafter, the rest the Sir provide: comes the bread, comes the hand, comes the god, comes the dog. What is striking is the interplay between “god” and “dog”. To most English speakers, this anagram is a familiar one. But in Portuguese the words god (“deus”) and dog (“cão”) are not so closely linked. In fact, there is no direct mention of “deus” in Rosa’s text: Eh, pois, empós, o resto o senhor prove: vem o pão, vem a mão, vem o são, vem o cão. Both are fascinating. In Rosa’s excerpt, the rhythm is unmistakable and precise, despite, of course, the indices of hesitation: the commas, the Eh, the uncomfortable way of searching through prolongation and wait. This is the sort of paradox Rosa can engage within a sentence. W.Martinez’s does this as well, at a scale that reverberates beyond the sentence, and with one noticeable addition: deus. What may appear to be an overstep, to add such a weighted word that draws out wordplay but is, nevertheless, not in the source text, is exemplary of risk. The translation buzzes because of it. This is because throughout the text we encounter dogs frequently, as some primal beast on par with humans. The dog is one that masters and can be mastered. A creature that is at times its face, and at others a mask. It is a powerful presence. For the translator to be attuned to the reverent undercurrent attributed to this animal, and create within the translation such charged play in English from what was only an implication in Portuguese, is in tribute to the grand beauty within dissonance. What aberrant modes of writing and translation can teach us most assuredly, is that things, words, are not in states of rightness or wrongness, but of oscillation. This isn’t so different from what Rosa says himself: The Sir look…see: the most important and beautiful, of the world, is this: that the people are not always same, still were not completed — but that they go always shifting. They tune or detune. We find this so readily in W.Martinez’s translation, this tuning and detuning. Nancy Fumero Los Angeles GRAND SERTÃO: VEREDAS BY JOÃO GUIMARÃES ROSA TRANSLATED FROM THE PORTUGUESE BY FELIPE W.MARTINEZ Nonothing. Shots that the Sir heard were man brawling not, God be. Bleach white sights on the tree in the backyard, down in the river. By my right. I do this every day, I like; from the bad of boyhood. Thereof they came to call on me. Case of a calf: a white calf, errorful, eyes of to not be—saw selves—; and with a mask of a dog! They told me; I didn’t want to catch a sight. Same that, by the defects of birth, upturned lips, looked to be a laughing man. Folkface, dogface: they determined—it was the devil. Bananas. Killed it. Do not know who owned it. They came to borrow my guns. I caved. I’ve no power to impose. Oh, sir, you laugh certain laughs…Look: when it’s a true shot, first the dogs begin to bark, instantly—after, then, you see who’s handed death. Sir, endure, this is the Sertão. Some want that it is not: that situated Sertão is in and out of those general fields, they say, end of the road, highlands, the other Urucuia. Toleima. For those of Cortino and of Curvelo, then, isn’t here said Sertão? Ah! That there’s more! To place the Sertão it’s told: it’s where the pastures lack latches; where one can tear off ten, fifteen leagues without running into a houseinhabitant; where criminalousness lives out its christ jesus. Sifted out from the tightening grip of the law. The Urcuia comes from the western mountains. But today, its banks, give all—farmlands of farms, pastures of meadows of good yield, low tides, cultures that go kill for kill, until these virgins there are. The general fields run round. These general fields are without size. Ultimately, whichever one one approves, the Sir knows: bread or breads, it’s a question of heads…the Sertão is everywhere. Of the devi? No comment. Sir ask the dwellers. Falsely I fear they unspeak that name of his—only say: whatsitcalled. Volt! no… Whosoever over avoids it, lives with it. In the sentence of one Aristides—who exists in the first palm grove on the right hand side, called Vereda-of-Cow-Calm-of-Saint-Rita—everyone believes: he can't pass in three designated places: then can be heard the tiny cry, behind, a little voice warning:— "Here I come! Here I come!... "— that is the Capirote, the whatsitcalled... And one Jise Simplicio—who anyone from here will swear he keeps an imp in house, a little satanite, imprisoned and obliged to help in all greedful deeds; reason that Simplicio emprises en route to complete riches. As such, for this they say too that his beast bristles and refuses, denying his banner, unyielding, when he wishes to mount... Superstition. Jise Simplicio and Aristides, continue getting fatter, thence unheard or heard. Still the Sir study: right now, in these days of time, you have people purporting that the devil proper stopped, mid-passage, in Andrequice. A boy out of there, to whom'd appeared, and there lauded that, to get here—normally, by horse, a day-n-half—he was capable of such with only some twenty minutes enough... by coasting the River of Chico by the headwaters! Or, too, who knows—sans offense—will not have been, for example, even yourself the Sir who announced such, when you passed by there, for fun run funny? Thereof, not my given crime, I know that wasn't. And evil I wanted not. Only that one question, in hours, at times, brightens peaceful reason. But, the Sir understand: if such a boy, there was, he wanted to dupe. Because, hey, that, to cut the river off by the springs, would be the same thing as one redoubling in the internals of this our state of ours, costant of a journey of some three months... Then? Whatsitcalled? Dodo. The fantastication. And, the respect of giving him such these names of delicacy, is what it is for one to want to invoke that he form of form, with his presence! Not that is. I, personally, almost that have lost in him the creed, deserving to Deus; is the that to the Sir I say, to pure-secret. I know that it is well established, that it greases our Saintly-Gospels. On occasion, I conversed with a young seminarian, super suitable, conferring in the book of prayers and coated in vestments, with a stick of black-sage in hand—prosed that he went auxilitator to the father, to extract the Cujo, from the body living of an oldwoman, in Waterfalls-of-Bulls, he went with the vicar of Field-Round... I conceive. The Sir not is as I? I didn't believe a single thing. Compadre mine Quelemem describes that that which reveals effect are the low spirits meager, of third, adoing in the worst darkness and with anxieties of connecting selves with the livers—they give support. Compadre mine Quelemem is who much me consoles—Quelemem of Goias. But he has to live far from here, in Jijuja, Vereda of Buriti Dark... Ahrr, I leave myself there, that in enevildemonment or with support—the Sir too must have had known diverse, men, women. As not yes? For me, umpteen I've seen, that I've learned. Ma-Neigh, Blood-o'Other, or Legion-Lips, or Tear-em-Down, Cold-Cutter, or Sissy-Goat, one Treciziano, or Verdigris... or Hermogenes... o'them, pileload. If I could forget so many names... I'm not a man for calming horses! And, same, whom of yes of to be jagunço self enters, yea is for some competence entrant of demonion. Will it not? Will it? From first, I made and mixed, and to think not I thought. I didn't have the deadlines. I lived pulling difficult from difficult, fish alive on griddle: who lives asp'rously, no fantasies. But, now, fete of fate to me comes, and sans little disquietudes, I'm from creaky net. And myself invented in this like, of to speculate ideas. The devil exists and nonexists? I say the saying. Opennouncement. These melancholies. The Sir sees: exists waterfall; and since? But waterfall is gulch of ground, and water so pouring from it, retumbling; the Sir consume that water, or undo that bankment, remainder waterfall any? To live is negotiation much perilous. I explain to the Sir: the devil vigors inside of human, the wrinkles of human— or is the human ruin, or the human of adversess. I free, per se, citizen, is that not has devil notone. Notone!— is the that I say. The Sir approve? Me declares total, frank— is high merit that me make: and to beg might, increased. This case— by rashtravagance that me they see— is of mine certain importance. God grant not was... But, not say that the Sir, awised and instructed, that agrees in people of them?! Not? You I appreciate! Your high opinion composes my value. Yea I knew, waited for it— yea the field! Ah, a we, in oldness, we lack of to have plowing of rest. You I appreciate. Is devil notone. Nor esprit. Never I've seen. Someone ought to see, then was I myself, this your servant. Was I you to tell... Well, the devil regulate his state black, ins creatures, ins womens, ins humans. E'en: ins childrens— I declaim. Since not is said: "boy—trainee of the devil"? And ins thes uses, ins plants, ins waters, in terra, in wind... Manures. …The devil in the street, in the middle of the vortex... Hey? Hey? Ah. Figuration mine, of worse by back, the certain memories. Mal-make me! I suffer pain of to tell not…Meliorate, if chillingly: well, in a ground and with equal format of branches and leaves, not give to cassava-calm, that is eaten common, and the cassava-mad that kills? Now, the Sir yea saw a strangeness? A cassava-sweet can rapidly to turn agonizing— motives not I know, at times is said that is for replanted in the terrain always, with mutations then, of caules—go embittering, of s’much in s’much, of its self takes poisons. And, well look: the other, the cassava-mad, too is that at times can fix calm, the estimate, of is to eat sans notone mal. And what this is? Eh, the Sir yea saw, for to see, the ugliness of hate pleated, facetorqued, on the faces of one cobrarattlesnake? Observed the porker fat, capita day more felicity brute, capable of, could, snort and engulf for its own dirty coziness the world total? And sparrowhawk, blackbird, some, the features of they yea represent the need of cleave for before, rend and shred by beak, appears a knife much fine for ruin I desire. Total. Has even twisted races of stone, horrorous, venomous— that spoil mortal the aquas, if they are buried beneath of well; the devil inside of them sleeps: they are the devil. Is known? And the demon— that is only thus the significance of one mercury malign— have order of to follow the path of him, have license to brag?! Arr, he is variegated in all! What the what wastes, goes spending the devil of inside of the people, by itttybits, is the reasonable to suffer. And the delight of love—compadre mine Quelemem says. Family. Really? Is, and not is. The Sir think and not think. Total is and not is… Almost all more grave criminous ferocity, always is much good husband, good son, good father, and is good-friend-of-your-friends! I know of those. Solo that have the afters— and Deus, joined. I spy many nimbi. But, in veracity, son, too, softens. Look: one called Aleixo, resident a league from Step-of-Sour, in Of-Sand, was the man of major badness calm that yea you saw. Me agreed that near the house of his had a weir, amidst the palms, with traíras, for souls of enormous, desenormous, to the real, that received fame; the Aleixo gave of to eat to them, in hours just, they self accustomed to if assuch of lunacies, in order to gobble, seemed to be fishes instructed. One day, solo for grace rustic, he killed an oldman who by there passed, destitute begging alms. The Sir not doubt—have people, in this bored world, that kill solo in order to see someone make grimace… Eh, well, thereafter, the rest the Sir provide: comes the bread, comes the hand, comes the god, comes the dog. This Aleixo was man afamilied, had children small; they were the love of his, total, absurdity. Gave good, that not even a year there passed, of to killed the oldman poor, and the children of Aleixo there they asickened. Smallepidemic of measles, they said, but complex; they never heal. When, then, they healed. But the eyes of theirs vermillionized high in an inflame of spraining to rebellion; and nexthing— the that not I know is if they went of at once, or one later and later other and other— they remained blind. Blind, sans remission of one sweet of light of this Ours! The Sir imagine: stairset— three boys and one girl— all blind. Sans remediable. The Aleixo not lost the judgment, but he changed; ah, mutated complete— now lives of band of Deus, sweating to be good and charitous in all his hours of night and of day. Appears even that he fixed the felicity, that before not was. He himself says he was a man of luck, because Deus wanted to have pity of him, to transform for there the route of his soul. That I heard, and me it gave rage. Reason of the children. If being castigated, what culpa of the let-there-bes of Aleixo those little children had?! Compadre mine Quelemem reproved my uncertainties. That, for certain, inother life returnaound, the children too had been the most wicked, of the mass and part of the father, demons of the same kettle of place. Sir the what thinks? And the oldman, assassinated? — I know the Sir goes to discuss. Well, too. In order that he had a sin of crime, in the body, by to pay. If the people— conforming compadre mine Quelemem is who says— if the people turn to to incarnate renovated, I contemplate even that enemy of death can come as son of the enemy. Look see: if to myself I say, has a subject Pedro Pindo, neighbor of here more six leagues, man of good for all in all, he and the woman of his, always been good, of goodness. They have a son of some ten years called Valtei—name modern, is the that the population of here now appreciates, the Sir knows. Well this-little-thing, thislet, since that some understanding illuminated in him, deed demonstrated the that is: petition stepfather, acid burner, likeful of ruin of inside of the profundity of the species of its nature. In which that torments, to the slowly, of all beasts or raisinglings little that quarrel; one time he found a creole woman hooched foolish sleeping, he arranged a shard of bottle, lashed at three points on the stern of the legs of hers. The what this boy drooled seeing, is bleeding hen or to knife pig.— “I enjoy of to kill…”— one occasion he teeny me told. He opened in me a fright; because: birdy that self leans over— the flight yea is ready! Well the Sir oversee: the pa, Pedro Pindo, mode of to correct this, and the ma, they give in him, misery and mast—they cast the boy sans to eat, they tied to trees in the yard, he nude, unplumed, even in June cold, they tilled the bittybody of his with the trammel and with the goblet, after they cleansed the skin of the sanguine, with bottle gourd brine. The people know, spy, fix wasted. The boy yea relowered of thinness, the eyes entering, caress of bones, enskulled, and tuberculated, the time total hacking, coughness of the that draw parched pectorals. Arr, that now, visible, the Pindo and the woman self habituated of on him hit, of little bit in little they were creating in this a pleasure ugly of diversion— as they regulate the canings in hours certain comfortable, until they call people to see the example good. I think that boy not endure, yea there is in the ta-da, not arrive for the lent to come… Ooee-ooee, then?! Not being as compadre mine Quelemem to want, that explication is that the Sir bestowed? That boy had to be a man. He should, in swing, terrible perversities. Soul of his was in the pitch. Demonstrated. And, now, paid. Ah, but, happens, when he’s crying and paining, he suffers equal that as was as a boy good… Bird, I saw all, in this world! Yea I saw even horse with hiccups… —the that the thing most costous that is. Good, but the Sir may say, should of: and in the start— for offenses and arts, the people— as for that was that s’much amended was started? Ey, ey, ey all collided. Compadre mine Quelemem, too. Am solo a sertanite, in these high ideas I navigate mal. Am much poor poor-thing. Envy my pedigree and of ones conform the Sir, with total reading and doctoration. Not is that I be illiterate. I spelt, years and middle, midly speller, memory and palmer. I had master, Master Lucas, in the Curralinho, he memorized grammar, the operations, rule-of-three, even geography and study patria. On leaves great of paper, with caprice I traced handsome maps. Ah, not is for to speak: but, since of the start, me they thought sophisticated of side. And that I merited of to go to course latin, in Lesson Waterlily—that too they said. Time nostalgic! Going today, I appreciate a good book, despaced. On the farm The Lilittlelemon, of one mine friend Vito Soziano, so sign of this almanac thick, of logoglyphs and conundrums and other divided matters, all year come. In s’much, I place primacy is in the reading advantageous, life of saints, virtues and examples— missionary astute engambling the Indians, or Saint Francis of Assis, Saint Anthony, Saint Gerald… I like much of moral. To ratiocinate, exhort the others for the good way, to acounsel to just. Mine woman, that the Sir knows, vigils for me: much prayer. She is a blessable. Compadre mine Quelemem always says that I may to aquiet my fears on conscience, that being well-attended, terrible good-esprits me protect. Eep! With like… As is of saint effect, I help with mine to want to accredit. But not even always can I. The Sir knew: I total the mine life I thought for me, lining, I am born different. I am and I same. I divert of total the world… I almost that nothing not I know. But I disconfide of many things. The Sir, conceding, I say: in order to think long, I am dog master— the Sir loose in mine front an idea ease and I research that by profundity of total the backwoods, amen! Look: the should of to have, was of so reunited-selves the wise, politicos, constitutions graded, closed the definitive the notion— to proclaim for one time, art assemblies, that not have devil notone, not exists, not possible. Valor of law! Solo assuch, they gave tranquility good to the people. Because the government not cares?! Ah, I know that not is possible. Not me settled the Sir for philistine. One this is to place ideas arranged, other is to deal with country of people, of flesh and sanguine, of thousand-and-many miseries… S’many people—gives scare of to know—and notone so calms: All nascenting, crescendoing, so wedding, wanting collocation of employment, consumables, health, abundance, to be important, wanting rain and affairs good… Of luck that lacks of so to choose: or we t’weave of to live in the salacious common, or care solo of religion solo. I could to be: father clergyman, if not chief of jagunços; for other things not was I birthed. But mine oldness yea principaled I erred of total account. And the rheumatism… There as whom says: in the primers. Ahem. Hey? Hey? The that more I think, I testify and explain: all-the-world is mad. The Sir, I, we, the people all. For this is that so lacks principally of religion: in order to desendodorize, to disdodoate. Pray is that heals of lunacy. In the general. This is that is the salvation-of-the-soul…Much religion your servant! I here, not I lose occasion of religion. I profit of all. I drink water of all rivers… One solo, for me is little, maybe not me arrives. I pray christian, catholic, I burrow the certain; and I accept the prayers of compadre mine Quelemem, doctrine of he, of Kardec. But, when I can, I go in the Mindubim, where one Matias is believer, methodist: the people so accuse of sinner, reads high the bible, and why, singing hymns beautiful of his. Total me quiets, me suspends. Whatever small shade me refreshes. But is solo much provisory. I wanted to pray— the time total. Many people not me approve, they think that law of Deus is privileges, invariable. And I! Doof! I Detest! The what I am? — the what I do, that want, much curia. And in face of total I face, executed. I? —not I trammel. Look: I have a black girl, Maria Leoncia, long from here not she lives, the prayers of her afame much virtue of power. Well to her I pay, every month— ordering of to pray for me one third, every saint day, and, on the Sundays, a rosary. Value, so values. Mine woman not sees mal in this. And I am, yea mandated word for an other, of the voyage-voyage, a Izina Calanga, in order to come here, I heard of that prayer too with grand mermermerits, I go to effect with she treatment equal. I want handful of those, me defending in Deus, reunited of me in volta… Cuts of Christ! To live is much perilous… To want the good with too much force, of incertain way, can yea to be being so wanting the mal, per to initiate. These humans! All they pull the world for itself, for the to concert amended. But capita one solo sees and understands the things of one his world. Amountain, the most supro, most serious was Mediero Vaz. That one man ancient… his Joaozy Ben-Ben, the most brave of all, no-one never can decipher how he by inside consisted. Joca Ramiro— grand man prince!— was politico. Zé Bebelo wanted to be politico, but had and not had luck: fox that lingered. So Candelario so demonized, by to think that was with illness mal. Titao Passos was the by the appreciation of friends: solo per via of them, of his same amities, were that such high so ajagunçoed. Antonio Do— severe bandit. But by half, grand majority half that be. Andalecio, in the profound, a good man-of-good, being raving in his total justice. Ricardao, same, wanted was to be rich in peace: for this he warred. Solo the Hermogenes was that born formed tiger, and assassinite. And the “Ofidios White”? Ah, not me speak. Ah this… joyless mischeivious, that was— that was a poor boy of the destiny… So good, congruous. The Sir heard, I you told: the ruin with the ruin, they terminate by the spine-bushes so to crack— Deus awaits that spendance. Boy!: Deus is patience. The contrary, is the devil. So consumes. The Sir file knife on knife— and file— that so they scrape. Even the rocks of the profound, one of in the other, they go-so aroundabounding even, that the rivulet rolls. Per enquantity, that I think, total as hath, in this world, is because so merits and lacks. Afterly precise. Deus not so reports with rifle, not garrotes the regulation. For what? Quit: goof with goof—one day, some illumination and learn: smart. Solo that, at times, for most auxiliar, Deus begets, in the middle, a pinch of pepper… Therebe? Well, for example: some time, I went of train, there in Seven-Lagoons, for parts of to consult a medical, of name me indicated. He went vested well, and in car of first, by via of the doubts, not me they shadowed for jagunço ancient. It goes and happens, that, close same of me, enfront, he took aseat, returning from the wild North, a mac Jazevedao, delegate professionale. Came with a capanga of his, an undercover, and I well knew the two, of that s’much a was ruin, as the other ruin was. The veracity to say, first I had the strict of me to surpasss for one lonng, to mutate of my place. Judgement me told, meliorate stay. Well, looking, I looked. And— you I tell: never I saw face of man furnished of brutez or malady more, of the them in that. As that was ogre, trussed of thickset, relustered of crude in the eyes small, and armed a chin of stone, toweringbrow; not of mid nor forehead. Not laughed, not so laughed not even one time; but, speaking or silent, the people appeared always to him some teeth, prey pointed of canids. Arr, and blustered, an ittybit. Solo growled curt, low, the mid-words grizzled. He came relooking, historicizing the documents— one by one the leaves with portraits and with the blacks of the digits of jagunços, lifters of horses and criminouses of death. That application of work, in one thing of those, generated the ire in the people. The undercover, busybodyguard, total close, seated joined, attending, excelling of to be dog. Me made a dread, but solo in the goof of the corpus, not in the intern of the courages. One hour, one of those reports fell— and I bent quickly, I knew there precisely by why, not I wanted, not I thought— even today I raise shame of this— I picked the paper of the ground, and delivered to him. Thereof, I say: I had more rage, because I did that; but there yea it was done. The man not even me looked, not even said notone thankfulment. Event he soles of the shoes of his— solo looking— that soles rough thick, bent of enormous, appearing iron bronzed. Because I knew: This Jazevedao, when he apprehended someone, the primary quiet thing that proceeded was that he came entering, sans to have to to say, feigning some hurry, and go stepping on the top of the feet of the poorthings. And that on these occasions he gave laughters, gave… Well, geck! I delivered to him the leaf of paper, and went leaving of there, by to have hand on me of not to destroy by shots that subject. Meat that much they weigh… And umbilicated beginning of belly pot bellied, that me created will… With my lightness, joyful that I’d kill. But, the barbarities that this delegate made and happened, the Sir not even has callus in heart to be able me to hear. He achieved of many men and women to cry blood, for the simple universolo ours here. Sertão. The Sir knows: sertão is where mandates who is strong, with the guile. And bullet is a tidbit of metal… S’much, I say: Jazevedao— one assuch, should of to have, needed? Ah, need. Leather ruined is that calls goad of point. That there be that, after— business particular of he— in the life or in the other, each Jazevedao, accomplished the that he has, desclimbs in his time of pain, too, until to pay the that he gave— compadre mine Quelemem is there, in order to fiscalize. The Sir knows: the peril that is to live… But solo of the mode, of these, by ugly instrument, was that the jagunsaga so finished. Sir thinks that Antonio Do or Olivino Oliviano were going to fix goodies by pure spelling of itself, or by begging of the infelicitous, or by always to hear sermon of father? You I think! In the aims… Of jagunço comported active in order so to repent in the middle of his jagunsagas, solo I lay of one: called Joe Cazuzo— was in smashing of one shotshow, for on the summit of the place Sierra New, district of river rusted, on the stream Traçadal. We made mal minority small, and they closed in order summit of us the personnel of one Coronel Adalvino, forted politico, with many soldiers uniformed in the center, commanding of the Lieutenant Epiphany Helm, that after fixed captain. We lasted hour more hour, and yea gave almost of encircled. There, of misslip, that Joe Cazuzo— man much valiant— so kneeled turned on the ground of the thick, lifted the arms that not even shoots of Jatoba dry, and solo yell, howl clear and howl deaf:— “I saw the Virgin Ours, in the resplendor of the Heavens, with her children of angels!... ” He screamed not touched. — “I saw the Virgin!... ” He ensouled? We desequaled. Bolt for my horse—that I thought— I leaped in mal seat, noteven I knew in which rupture-time I unfastened the halter, of tied up it foot of timber. I flew, arrived. Bullet come. The pasture roared. In the brush, the fear of the people so goes to the whole, one fear intentional. I could to lash out, fated burro brute, giv-that, giv-that. Some two or three bullets so drovein the pad of the mine saddle, they perforated of to tear away almost much the kapok of the filling. Horse trembled in pro, in middle of gallop, I know: thinks in the owner. I not fit of to be more well shrunken. Bulleted came to the sack that I had on the back, with few mine things. And other, of fusil, in ricochet decreed, heated my thigh, sans me wound, the Sir see: bullet does the what to want—so pierced impressed, between in me and the harness! Times crazy… Burumbum!: the horse so kneeled in the fall, dead perhaps, and I yea falling for front, embraced in foliage full, branched and linias, that me swayed and skewered, done I was pendulating in web of spider… Whither? I traversed that life total… Of fear of anxiety, I ruptured to read with mine corpus that forest, I know there — and me fell world below, rolled for the hollow of a grotto closed of shrubs, always me grasped— rolled same assuch: after: after, when I saw mine hands, total on they that not was withdrawn sanguine, was smeared green, on the digits, of leaves living that I pulled and mashed… I landed on the sedge of the profound— and a beast dark gave a releap, with a sneeze, too mad of fright: that was a papa-mel, that I descried; in order to flee, this is solely. Bigger being I, me doused mine overcoat; I spigotted total. And of one bit of thought: if that beast irara lying there then there not had cobra. I took the place of his. Existed cobra notone. I could me to lose. I was solo spineless, softness, but that not deadened, inside, the collisions of the heart. I gasped. I conceived that they came, me kill. Not even did mal, me mattered not. Assuch, some moments, at least I guarded the license of term in order me to rest. Conforming I thought in Diadorim. Solo I thought was in he. One joão-congo sang. I wanted to die thinking in my friend Diadorim, hand-o-bro, who was on the Sierra of WoodO’Bow, almost on the border baiana, with our other half of the so-candelarios… With my friend Diadorim me embraced, sentiment my went-flew right for he… Ay, arr, but: that this mine mouth not has order notone. I am accounting outside, things divagated. In the Sir me confide? Til-that, til-that. Say the angel-of-the-guard… But, conforming I came: after so knew, that same the soldiers of the Lieutenant and the goats of Coronel Adalvino remitted of to respect the blast of that Joe Cazuzo. And that this ended being the man most pacificious of the world, fabricator of oil and sacristan, in the Saint Sundays White. Times! For total, cleaned revelation, I fix thinking. I like. Meliorate, for the idea if well to open, is travelling in train-of-iron. Could, lived to top and to bottom, inside of it. Information that I ask: same in the Heavens, end of end, how is that the soul wins so to forget s’much sufferments and maladies, in the received and in the given? The how? The Sir knows: are things of hideous ofmuch, have. Pain of corpus and pain of idea mark forted, that forted as the total love and rage of hate. Goes, sea… Of luck that, then, the Firmiano, by appellationed Louse-of-Snake, so leoprosized with the leg disconformed, thickening, of that disease that not so cures; and not discern almost more, constant the branchials in the eyes, of the cataracts. Of before, years, had to of so disarray of the jagunsaga. Well, one occasion, some was on the ranch of his, on the High Jeuitai, after accounted—that, turns time, comes subject, he would say: “Me give yearning is of to seize a soldier, and such, for one good flay, with knife blind… But, first, to castrate…” The Sir conceive? Who has more dose of demon in self is Indian, any race of brusque. Folk see nation ofthese, for there profound of the generals of Goias, theofwhere has vagarous grand rivers, of aquas always so clear pleasantly, running of down crystal rosed… Louse-of-Snake gave of sanguine of heathen. Sir me will say: but that he pronounced that out of mouth, manner of to represent that yet not was old decadent. Opus of to oppose, for fear of to be tame, and cause in order so to see respected. Total listened for such rule: palavered of ruins, for more so valued, because we to the environs is hard durability. The worst, but, is that they finish, through the same ford, given of one day to execute the declared, in the real. I saw s’much crudity! Pain not pays to account; if I go, I collide. And me dedrip, three that me sicken, this total. Me convokes that the personnel, today in day, is good of heart. This is, good in the trivial. Malices wildwants, and perversities, always have some, but scarcities. Generation mine, true, was not assuch. Ah, goes to turn a time, in which not is used more to kill people… I yea am old. Good, I was saying: question, this that me excavates… Ah, I formed that question, for compadre mine Quelemem. That me responded: that, for close to heaven, we so amplified so, that total the uglies past so exhaled of not to be—fated sans-modus from time of youngster, mal-arts. As we not lack of to have remorse of the which divulged in the pulsation of his nightmares of one night. Assuch that: fleeced-so, flourished-so! Ahem. For this said, is that the journey to the Heavens is delayed. I confide with compadre mine Quelemem, the Sir knows: reason of creed same that has—that, for total the mal, that so does, one day so repays, the exact. Subject assuch rises three times, in ante of to want to facilitate in any minutia reprehensible… Compadre mine Quelemem never speaks vacant, not subtreats. Solo that this to he not I go to expose. We never should have to declare that accept entire the alien—that is what is the rule of the king! The Sir look…see: the most important and beautiful, of the world, is this: that the people are not always same, still were not completed — but that they go always shifting. They tune or detune. Truth major. Is the that the life me taught. This that me animates, mound. And, other thing: the devil and the brutes; but Deus is treacherous! Ah, a beauty of treacherous— gives like! The force of his, when he wants— boy!— me gives the fear dread! Deus comes coming: no one not sees. He does in the law of gentle— assuch is the miracle. And Deus attacks beautiful, so amusing, so economizes. The well: one day in a tannery, the little knife mine I had dropped inside of a tank, solo soup of bark of tan, stryphnodendron adstringens, angico, there I know. —“Tomorrow I try…”— I said, withmyself. Because it was of night, light notone I not disputed. Ah, then, I found: on the other day, early, the knife, the iron of it, had been gnawed, almost by half, by that aqua dark, total quiet. I left, for more to see. Crack, fuse! Know the what was? Well, in that same of afternoon, there: of the little knife solo so found the handle… The handle, for not to be of cold metal, but of horn of deer. There is: Deus… Good, the Sir heard knows, the that knows me understands… We sum, not think that religion fractures. Sir think the contrary. Visible that, those other times, I painted—belief that the neoglaziovia variegata lifts the flower. Ah, good my joy… Boyhood. But boyhood is task for more later so to deny. Too, I of that of to think in vague in s’much, lost mine hand-of-man for the management hot, in the middle of all. But, today, that I ratiocinated, and think the endeavor, not nor for this not I give for low my competence, in a fire-and-iron. The to see. Would approach would come here with war on me, with bad parts, with other laws, or with excessive looks, and I even draw to ignite this zone, ay, if, if! Is in the mouth of the blunderbuss: is in the rete-te-tem… And lonelyonly not I am, there-of-the. For not this, I was I placed encircle my mine people. Look the Sir: here, close, vereda below, the Paspe — cropper my — is mine. More league, if that, have the Herpetotheres, and have the compadre Ciril, him and three children, I know that they serve. Band of that hand, the Alaripe: knew the Sir the that is that so boasts, in rifleation and by the knife, one cearense did this! After more: the João Innatal, the Quipes, Lophiosilurus-of-claws. And the Fafafa— this gave fights high, all side with me, in the combat old of the Anteater-such: we cleaned the wind of whom not had order of to respirate, and ante these we desencompassed… The Fafafa has a mass of mares. He raises horses good. Even a little more distant, on the ped-of-sierra, of band mine was the Sesfred, Jesualdo, the Nelson, and João Concliz. Some others. The Triol… And not I go valuing? I leave terra with them, of theirs the what is mine is, we close that we not even brothers. For what I want to gather richness? They are there, of arms aireated. Enemy to come, we cross called, gathering: is hour of one good shotshowerment in peace, they exp’riment to see. I say this to the Sir, of confidence. Too, not go to think in double. We want is to work, propose tranquility. Of me, person, I live for mine woman, that total mode-meliorate merits, and for the devotion. Well-to want of mine woman was that me assisted, prayers of hers, graces. Love comes of love. I say. In Diadorim, I think too— but Diadorim is the mine nebulina… Now, well: not I wanted to touch on this more— of the Tineaous; arrive. But has a nevertheless: I ask: the Sir believe, think trust of truth in that parlance, of with the demon so to able to deal with pact? No, no is no? I knew that not there. I spoke of favas. But I like of total good confirmation. To vend you proper soul… Inventionate false! And, soul, the what is? Soul of has to be thing internal supremed, much more of the of inside, and is solo, of the that one if thought: ah, soul sheer! Decision of to vend soul is fearless moll, fantasied of moment, has not the obedience legal. Can I to vend those good terras, thereof of between the Veredas-Four— that are of one Mr. Admiral, who resides in the capital federal? Can I some? Then, if one boy boy is, and for this not so authorizes of to negotiate… And we, this I know, at times is solo fated boy. Mal that in mine life I prepared, I was in a certain infancy in dreams — total runs and arrives so swift —; will be that if hath flame of responsibilities? If dream; yea so did… I gave rapadura to the chump! Ahem. Well. If his soul, and has, it is of Deus established, not even that the person want or not want. Not is vendible. The Sir not thinks? Me declare, frank, I beg. Ah, you I appreciate. You so see that the Sir knows much, in idea firm, beyond of to have letter of doctor. You I appreciate, for much. Your company me gives high pleasures. In terms, I liked that I would live here, or close, was a help. Here not so has conviviation that to instruct. Sertão. Knows the Sir: sertão is where the thought of the people so forms more forted of the than power of the place. To live is much perilous… Eh, that you so go? Yeayea? Is that not. Today, no. Tomorrow, no. Not I consense. The Sir me forgive, but in endeavor of mine friendship accept: the Sir stay. After fifth of-morning-early, the Sir wanting to go, then goes, same me leaves feeling your absence. But, today or tomorrow, no. Visit, here in house, with me, is for three days! But, the Sir really intends to trespass the field this sea of territotires, for sortment of to confer the what exists? You have your motives. Now— I say for me — the Sir comes, came late, Times were, the customs mutate. Almost that, of legitimate loyal, little surplus, not even no excess more nothing. The bands good of valientoughs they reparted their end; many who were jagunço, by ouch pain, beg alms. Same as the herdsmen they doubt of to come in the commerce vested of clothes entire of leather, they think that garb of jerkin is ugly and boor. And even the herd in the shrubbed pasture goes waning less mad, more educated: casted of zebu, dissee with the rest of corralers and captiveborns. Always, in the generals is to the poverty, to the sadness. A sadness that even gladdens. But, then, for a crop reasonable of bizzarancies, I recounsel of the Sir to entest journey more dilated. Not were my desmight, by acids and rheumatism, there I went. I guided the Sir till total. March 2013 San Diego, CA ORIGINAL TEXT NONADA. TIROS QUE O SENHOR ouviu foram de briga de homem não, Deus esteja. Alvejei mira em árvores no quintal, no baixo do córrego. Por meu acerto. Todo dia isso faço, gosto; desde mal em minha mocidade. Daí, vieram me chamar. Causa dumbezerro: um bezerro branco, erroso, os olhos de nem ser – se viu –; e com máscara de cachorro. Me disseram; eu não quis avistar. Mesmo que, por defeito como nasceu, arrebitado de beiços, esse figurava rindo feito pessoa. Cara de gente, cara de cão: determinaram – era o demo. Povo prascóvio. Mataram. Dono dele nem sei quem for. Vieram emprestar minhas armas, cedi. Não tenho abusões. O senhor ri certas risadas... Olhe: quando é tiro de verdade, primeiro a cachorrada pega a latir, instantaneamente – depois, então, se vai ver se deu mortos. O senhor tolere, isto é o sertão. Uns querem que não seja: que situado sertão é por os campos-gerais a fora a dentro, eles dizem, fim de rumo, terras altas, demais do Urucuia. Toleima. Para os de Corinto e do Curvelo, então, o aqui não é dito sertão? Ah, que tem maior! Lugar sertão se divulga: é onde os pastos carecem de fechos; onde um pode torar dez, quinze léguas, sem topar com casa de morador; e onde criminoso vive seu cristo-jesus, arredado do arrocho de autoridade. O Urucuia vem dos montões oestes. Mas, hoje, que na beira dele, tudo dá – fazendões de fazendas, almargem de vargens de bom render, as vazantes; culturas que vão de mata em mata, madeiras de grossura, até ainda virgens dessas lá há. O gerais corre em volta. Esses gerais são sem tamanho. Enfim, cada um o que quer aprova, o senhor sabe: pão ou pães, é questão de opiniães... O sertão está em toda a parte. Do demo? Não gloso. Senhor pergunte aos moradores. Em falso receio, desfalam no nome dele – dizem só: o Que-Diga. Vote! não... Quem muito se evita, se convive. Sentença num Aristides – o que existe no buritizal primeiro desta minha mão direita, chamado a Vereda-da-Vaca-Mansa-deSanta-Rita – todo o mundo crê: ele não pode passar em três lugares, designados: porque então a gente escuta um chorinho, atrás, e uma vozinha que avisando: – “Eu já vou! Eu já vou!...” – que é o capiroto, o que-diga... E um José Simpilício – quem qualquer daqui jura ele tem um capeta em casa, miúdo satanazim, preso obrigado a ajudar em toda ganância que executa; razão que o Simpilício se empresa em vias de completar de rico. Apre, por isso dizem também que a besta pra ele rupeia, nega de banda, não deixando, quando ele quer amontar... Superstição. José Simpilício e Aristides, mesmo estão se engordando, de assim nãoouvir ou ouvir. Ainda o senhor estude: agora mesmo, nestes dias de época, tem gente porfalando que o Diabo próprio parou, de passagem, no Andrequicé. Um Moço de fora, teria aparecido, e lá se louvou que, para aqui vir – normal, a cavalo, dum dia-e-meio – ele era capaz que só com uns vinte minutos bastava... porque costeava o Rio do Chico pelas cabeceiras! Ou, também, quem sabe – sem ofensas – não terá sido, por um exemplo, até mesmo o senhor quem se anunciou assim, quando passou por lá, por prazido divertimento engraçado? Há-de, não me dê crime, sei que não foi. E mal eu não quis. Só que uma pergunta, em hora, às vezes, clareia razão de paz. Mas, o senhor entenda: o tal moço, se há, quis mangar. Pois, hem, que, despontar o Rio pelas nascentes, será a mesma coisa que um se redobrar nos internos deste nosso Estado nosso, custante viagem de uns três meses... Então? Que-Diga? Doideira. A fantasiação. E, o respeito de dar a ele assim esses nomes de rebuço, é que é mesmo um querer invocar que ele forme forma, com as presenças! Não seja. Eu, pessoalmente, quase que já perdi nele a crença, mercês a Deus; é o que ao senhor lhe digo, à puridade. Sei que é bem estabelecido, que grassa nos Santos- Evangelhos. Em ocasião, conversei com um rapaz seminarista, muito condizente, conferindo no livro de rezas e revestido de paramenta, com uma vara de maria-preta na mão – proseou que ia adjutorar o padre, para extraírem o Cujo, do corpo vivo de uma velha, na Cachoeira-dos-Bois, ele ia com o vigário do Campo-Redondo... Me concebo. O senhor não é como eu? Não acreditei patavim. Compadre meu Quelemém descreve que o que revela efeito são os baixos espíritos descarnados, de terceira, fuzuando nas piores trevas e com ânsias de se travarem com os viventes – dão encosto. Compadre meu Quelemém é quem muito me consola – Quelemém de Góis. Mas ele tem de morar longe daqui, na Jijujã, Vereda do Buriti Pardo... Arres, me deixe lá, que – em endemoninhamento ou com encosto – o senhor mesmo deverá de ter conhecido diversos, homens, mulheres. Pois não sim? Por mim, tantos vi, que aprendi. Rincha- Mãe, Sangued’Outro, o Muitos-Beiços, o Rasgaem-Baixo, Faca-Fria, o Fancho-Bode, um Treciziano, o Azinhavre... o Hermógenes... Deles, punhadão. Se eu pudesse esquecer tantos nomes... Não sou amansador de cavalos! E, mesmo, quem de si de ser jagunço se entrete, já é por alguma competência entrante do demônio. Será não? Será? De primeiro, eu fazia e mexia, e pensar não pensava. Não possuía os prazos. Vivi puxando difícil de dificel, peixe vivo no moquém: quem mói no asp’ro, não fantaseia. Mas, agora, feita a folga que me vem, e sem pequenos dessossegos, estou de range rede. E me inventei neste gosto, de especular idéia. O diabo existe e não existe? Dou o dito. Abrenúncio. Essas melancolias. O senhor vê: existe cachoeira; e pois? Mas cachoeira é barranco de chão, e água se caindo por ele, retombando; o senhor consome essa água, ou desfaz o barranco, sobra cachoeira alguma? Viver é negócio muito perigoso... Explico ao senhor: o diabo vige dentro do homem, os crespos do homem – ou é o homem arruinado, ou o homem dos avessos. Solto, por si, cidadão, é que não tem diabo nenhum. Nenhum! – é o que digo. O senhor aprova? Me declare tudo, franco – é alta mercê que me faz: e pedir posso, encarecido. Este caso – por estúrdio que me vejam – é de minha certa importância. Tomara não fosse... Mas, não diga que o senhor, assisado e instruído, que acredita na pessoa dele?! Não? Lhe agradeço! Sua alta opinião compõe minha valia. Já sabia, esperava por ela-já o campo! Ah, a gente, na velhice, carece de ter sua aragem de descanso. Lhe agradeço. Tem diabo nenhum. Nem espírito. Nunca vi. Alguém devia de ver, então era eu mesmo, este vosso servidor. Fosse lhe contar... Bem, o diabo regula seu estado preto, nas criaturas, nas mulheres, nos homens. Até: nas crianças – eu digo. Pois não é ditado: “menino – trem do diabo”? E nos usos, nas plantas, nas águas, na terra, no vento... Estrumes. ... O diabo na rua, no meio do redemunho... Hem? Hem? Ah. Figuração minha, de pior pra trás, as certas lembranças. Mal hajame! Sofro pena de contar não... Melhor, se arrepare: pois, num chão, e com igual formato de ramos e folhas, não dá a mandioca mansa, que se come comum, e a mandioca-brava, que mata? Agora, o senhor já viu uma estranhez? A mandioca-doce pode de repente virar azangada – motivos não sei; às vezes se diz que é por replantada no terreno sempre, com mudas seguidas, de manaíbas – vai em amargando, de tanto em tanto, de si mesma toma peçonhas. E, ora veja: a outra, a mandiocabrava, também é que às vezes pode ficar mansa, a esmo, de se comer sem nenhum mal. E que isso é? Eh, o senhor já viu, por ver, a feiúra de ódio franzido, carantonho, nas faces duma cobra cascavel? Observou o porco gordo, cada dia mais feliz bruto, capaz de, pudesse, roncar e engolir por sua suja comodidade o mundo todo? E gavião, corvo, alguns, as feições deles já representam a precisão de talhar para adiante, rasgar e estraçalhar a bico, parece uma quicé muito afiada por ruim desejo. Tudo. Tem até tortas raças de pedras, horrorosas, venenosas – que estragam mortal a água, se estão jazendo em fundo de poço; o diabo dentro delas dorme: são o demo. Se sabe? E o demo – que é só assim o significado dum azougue maligno – tem ordem de seguir o caminho dele, tem licença para campear?! Arre, ele está misturado em tudo. Que o que gasta, vai gastando o diabo de dentro da gente, aos pouquinhos, é o razoável sofrer. E a alegria de amor – compadre meu Quelemém, diz. Família. Deveras? É, e não é. O senhor ache e não ache. Tudo é e não é... Quase todo mais grave criminoso feroz, sempre é muito bom marido, bom filho, bom pai, e é bom amigo-de-seus-amigos! Sei desses. Só que tem os depois – e Deus, junto. Vi muitas nuvens. Mas, em verdade, filho, também, abranda. Olhe: um chamado Aleixo, residente a légua do Passo do Pubo, no da-Areia, era o homem de maiores ruindades calmas que já se viu. Me agradou que perto da casa dele tinha um açudinho, entre as palmeiras, com traíras, pra-almas de enormes, desenormes, ao real, que receberam fama; o Aleixo dava de comer a elas, em horas justas, elas se acostumaram a se assim das locas, para papar, semelhavam ser peixes ensinados. Um dia, só por graça rústica, ele matou um velhinho que por lá passou, desvalido rogando esmola. O senhor não duvide – tem gente, neste aborrecido mundo, que matam só para ver alguém fazer careta... Eh, pois, empós, o resto o senhor prove: vem o pão, vem a mão, vem o são, vem o cão. Esse Aleixo era homem afamilhado, tinha filhos pequenos; aqueles eram o amor dele, todo, despropósito. Dê bem, que não nem um ano estava passado, de se matar o velhinho pobre, e os meninos do Aleixo aí adoeceram. Andaço de sarampão, se disse, mas complicado; eles nunca saravam. Quando, então, sararam. Mas os olhos deles vermelhavam altos, numa inflama de sapiranga à rebelde; e susseguinte – o que não sei é se foram todos duma vez, ou um logo e logo outro e outro – eles restaram cegos. Cegos, sem remissão dum favinho de luz dessa nossa! O senhor imagine: uma escadinha – três meninos e uma menina – todos cegados. Sem remediável. O Aleixo não perdeu o juizo; mas mudou: ah, demudou completo – agora vive da banda de Deus, suando para ser bom e caridoso em todas suas horas da noite e do dia. Parece até que ficou o feliz, que antes não era. Ele mesmo diz que foi um homem de sorte, porque Deus quis ter pena dele, transformar para lá o rumo de sua alma. Isso eu ouvi, e me deu raiva. Razão das crianças. Se sendo castigo, que culpa das hajas do Aleixo aqueles meninozinhos tinham?! Compadre meu Quelemém reprovou minhas incertezas. Que, por certo, noutra vida revirada, os meninos também tinham sido os mais malvados, da massa e peça do pai, demônios do mesmo caldeirão de lugar. Senhor o que acha? E o velhinho assassinado? – eu sei que o senhor vai discutir. Pois, também. Em ordem que ele tinha um pecado de crime, no corpo, por pagar. Se a gente – conforme compadre meu Quelemém é quem diz – se a gente torna a encarnar renovado, eu cismo até que inimigo de morte pode vir como filho do inimigo. Mire veja: se me digo, tem um sujeito Pedro Pindó, vizinho daqui mais seis léguas, homem de bem por tudo em tudo, ele e a mulher dele, sempre sidos bons, de bem. Eles têm um filho duns dez anos, chamado Valtei – nome moderno, é o que o povo daqui agora apreceia, o senhor sabe. Pois essezinho, essezim, desde que algum entendimento alumiou nele, feito mostrou o que é: pedido madrasto, azedo queimador, gostoso de ruim de dentro do fundo das espécies de sua natureza. Em qual que judia, ao devagar, de todo bicho ou criaçãozinha pequena que pega; uma vez, encontrou uma crioula bentabêbada dormindo, arranjou um caco de garrafa, lanhou em três pontos a popa da perna dela. O que esse menino babeja vendo, é sangrarem galinha ou esfaquear porco. – “Eu gosto de matar...” – uma ocasião ele pequenino me disse. Abriu em mim um susto; porque: passarinho que se debruça – o vôo já está pronto! Pois, o senhor vigie: o pai, Pedro Pindó, modo de corrigir isso, e a mãe, dão nele, de miséria e mastro – botam o menino sem comer, amarram em árvores no terreiro, ele nu nuelo, mesmo em junho frio, lavram o corpinho dele na peia e na taca, depois limpam a pele do sangue, com cuia de salmoura. A gente sabe, espia, fica gasturado. O menino já rebaixou de magreza, os olhos entrando, carinha de ossos, encaveirada, e entisicou, o tempo todo tosse, tossura da que puxa secos peitos. Arre, que agora, visível, o Pindó e a mulher se habituaram de nele bater, de pouquinho em pouquim foram criando nisso um prazer feio de diversão – como regulam as sovas em horas certas confortáveis, até chamam gente para ver o exemplo bom. Acho que esse menino não dura, já está no blimbilim, não chega para a quaresma que vem... Uê-uê, então?!Não sendo como compadre meu Quelemém quer, que explicação é que o senhor dava? Aquele menino tinha sido homem. Devia, em balanço, terríveis perversidades. Alma dele estava no breu. Mostrava. E, agora, pagava. Ah, mas, acontece, quando está chorando e penando, ele sofre igual que se fosse um menino bonzinho... Ave, vi de tudo, neste mundo! lá vi até cavalo com soluço... – o que é a coisa mais custosa que há. Bem, mas o senhor dirá, deve de: e no começo – para pecados e artes, as pessoas – como por que foi que tanto emendado se começou? Ei, ei, aí todos esbarram. Compadre meu Quelemém, também. Sou só um sertanejo, nessas altas idéias navego mal. Sou muito pobre coitado. Inveja minha pura é de uns conforme o senhor, com toda leitura e suma doutoração. Não é que eu esteja analfabeto. Soletrei, anos e meio, meante cartilha, memória e palmatória. Tive mestre, Mestre Lucas, no Curralinho, decorei gramática, as operações, regra-de-três, até geografia e estudo pátrio. Em folhas grandes de papel, com capricho tracei bonitos mapas. Ah, não é por falar: mas, desde o começo, me achavam sofismado de ladino. E que eu merecia de ir para cursar latim, em Aula Régia – que também diziam. Tempo saudoso! Inda hoje, apreceio um bom livro, despaçado. Na fazenda O Limãozinho, de um meu amigo Vito Soziano, se assina desse almanaque grosso, de logogrifos e charadas e outras divididas matérias, todo ano vem. Em tanto, ponho primazia é na leitura proveitosa, vida de santo, virtudes e exemplos – missionário esperto engambelando os índios, ou São Francisco de Assis, Santo Antônio, São Geraldo... Eu gosto muito de moral. Raciocinar, exortar os outros para o bom caminho, aconselhar a justo. Minha mulher, que o senhor sabe, zela por mim: muito reza. Ela é uma abençoável. Compadre meu Quelemém sempre diz que eu posso aquietar meu temer de consciência, que sendo bem-assistido, terríveis bons-espíritos me protegem. Ipe! Com gosto... Como é de são efeito, ajudo com meu querer acreditar. Mas nem sempre posso. O senhor saiba: eu toda a minha vida pensei por mim, forro, sou nascido diferente. Eu sou é eu mesmo. Diverjo de todo o mundo... Eu quase que nada não sei. Mas desconfio de muita coisa. O senhor concedendo, eu digo: para pensar longe, sou cão mestre – o senhor solte em minha frente uma idéia ligeira, e eu rastreio essa por fundo de todos os matos, amém! Olhe: o que devia de haver, era de se reunirem-se os sábios, políticos, constituições gradas, fecharem o definitivo a noção – proclamar por uma vez, artes assembléias, que não tem diabo nenhum, não existe, não pode. Valor de lei! Só assim, davam tranqüilidade boa à gente. Por que o Governo não cuida?! Ah, eu sei que não é possível. Não me assente o senhor por beócio. Uma coisa é pôr idéias arranjadas, outra é lidar com país de pessoas, de carne e sangue, de mil-e-tantas misérias... Tanta gente – dá susto de saber – e nenhum se sossega: todos nascendo, crescendo, se casando, querendo colocação de emprego, comida, saúde, riqueza, ser importante, querendo chuva e negócios bons... De sorte que carece de se escolher: ou a gente se tece de viver no safado comum, ou cuida só de religião só. Eu podia ser: padre sacerdote, se não chefe de jagunços; para outras coisas não fui parido. Mas minha velhice já principiou, errei de toda conta. E o reumatismo... Lá como quem diz: nas escorvas. Ahã. Hem? Hem? O que mais penso, testo e explico: todo-omundo é louco. O senhor, eu, nós, as pessoas todas. Por isso é que se carece principalmente de religião: para se desendoidecer, desdoidar. Reza é que sara da loucura. No geral. Isso é que é a salvaçãoda- alma... Muita religião, seu moço! Eu cá, não perco ocasião de religião. Aproveito de todas. Bebo água de todo rio... Uma só, para mim é pouca, talvez não me chegue. Rezo cristão, católico, embrenho a certo; e aceito as preces de compadre meu Quelemém, doutrina dele, de Cardéque. Mas, quando posso, vou no Mindubim, onde um Matias é crente, metodista: a gente se acusa de pecador, lê alto a Bíblia, e ora, cantando hinos belos deles. Tudo me quieta, me suspende. Qualquer sombrinha me refresca. Mas é só muito provisório. Eu queria rezar – o tempo todo. Muita gente não me aprova, acham que lei de Deus é privilégios, invariável. E eu! Bofe! Detesto! O que sou? – o que faço, que quero, muito curial. E em cara de todos faço, executado. Eu não tresmalho! Olhe: tem uma preta, Maria Leôncia, longe daqui não mora, as rezas dela afamam muita virtude de poder. Pois a ela pago, todo mês – encomenda de rezar por mim um terço, todo santo dia, e, nos domingos, um rosário. Vale, se vale. Minha mulher não vê mal nisso. E estou, já mandei recado para uma outra, do Vau-Vau, uma Izina Calanga, para vir aqui, ouvi de que reza também com grandes meremerências, vou efetuar com ela trato igual. Quero punhado dessas, me defendendo em Deus, reunidas de mim em volta... Chagas de Cristo! Viver é muito perigoso... Querer o bem com demais força, de incerto jeito, pode já estar sendo se querendo o mal, por principiar. Esses homens! Todos puxavam o mundo para si, para o concertar consertado. Mas cada um só vê e entende as coisas dum seu modo. Montante, o mais supro, mais sério – foi Medeiro Vaz. Que um homem antigo... Seu Joãozinho Bem-Bem, o mais bravo de todos, ninguém nunca pôde decifrar como ele por dentro consistia. Joca Ramiro – grande homem príncipe! – era político. Zé- Bebelo quis ser político. (shrink)