Cut and Paste, Start Again


soft, clear, metallic tone

Also, there was a milan kundera thing that I was going to look up for you but then forgot about. I looked it up and realized that the part I had written down wasn't itself about how much of a story could sit in a sentence, but that I'd actually gone on for a page or two in the notebook that i'd written the passage down in about that subject, and the fact that I needed to try to treat sentences as though they might someday need to stand apart from the stories I was writing and still have some poetic meaning all on their own.

Anyway, I still like the passage so this was it:

“When Thomas Mann was very young, he wrote a naïve, intriguing story about death. In the story death is beautiful, as it is beautiful to those who dream of it very young, when it is still surreal and enchanting, like the bluish voice of far-off places.

A young man, mortally ill, gets off a train at an unknown station. He walks into the town without knowing its name and takes rooms in the house of an old woman whose forehead is covered with eczema. No, I do not wish to go into what took place in the rented rooms. I only wish to recall a single minor occurrence: walking around the front room, the ill young man had the feeling that “in between the sounds made by his footsteps he heard another sound in the rooms on either side – a soft, clear, metallic tone – but perhaps it was only an illusion. Like a golden ring falling into a silver basin, he thought…”

That minor acoustic event is never developed or explained in the story. From the standpoint of the action above it could have been omitted without any loss. The sound simply happened; all by itself; just like that. The reason I think Thomas Mann sounded that “soft, clear, metallic tone” was to create silence, the silence he needed to make the beauty audible (because the death he was speaking of was beauty-death), and if beauty is to be perceptible, it needs a certain minimal degree of silence (a perfect criterion of which happens to be the sound of a golden ring falling into a silver basin).

(Yes, I know. You haven’t the slightest idea what I’m talking about. Beauty has long since disappeared. It has slipped beneath the surface of the noise – the noise of words, the noise of cars, the noise of music, the noise of signs – we live in it constantly. It has sunk as deep as Atlantis. The only thing left is the word, whose meaning loses clarity from year to year.)"

19:24 - 15 March 2009


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stranger in a strange land - 13 July 2012
june - 26 June 2009
soft, clear, metallic tone - 15 March 2009
right - 12 March 2009
... <3 - 22 February 2009