Sunday, April 16, 2006

Carrying His Own Skin

The crowd was silent
Reading the poems of Baudelaire.
Suddenly, completely unpremeditated,
They lurch forward, in unison,
And sing the National Anthem.

"The problem of hollowness, then, of a-Voidance, is really one of secondary satisfactions, the attempt to find substitutes for a primary satisfaction of wholeness that somehow got lost leaving a large gap in its place. The British novelist John Fowles calls this emptiness the 'nemo' which he describes as an anti-ego, a state of being nobody. "Nobody wants to be a nobody," writes Fowles. "All our acts are partly devised to fill or to mark the emptiness we feel at the core.""
from COMING TO OUR SENSES by Morris Berman

"... there is a way of going about enterprise, particularly as it applies to creativity, in which the activity is preceded by wholeness, rather than being a frantic attempt to achieve it. This frantic approach to life is not inevitable; we really don't have to spend our lives chasing ecstasy in an effort to shut down the nemo [nemo: a feeling of hollowness, an anti-ego, a state of being nobody].”
from Coming To Our Senses : Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West -
Morris Berman (Unwin Hyman, 1990, page 316)

"Next to her hung a further small picture, showing a saint carrying his own skin.”
-- Robert Aickman (The Cicerones)

"Her pillow sounded hollow with notes and knockings, notes and knockings you hear in condemned rooms.”
--Elizabeth Bowen (No. 16)

""WHAT do you call him? Nemo?" says Mr. Tulkinghorn.
"Nemo, sir. Here it is. Forty-two folio. Given out on the Wednesday night at eight o`clock, brought in on the Thursday morning at half after nine.""
-- Charles Dickens (Bleak House)

Des says:
In my fifties looking back at the fifties...
Excitedly waiting for the Beano comic to drop on my doormat every Thursday, the smell of its pages, the stationery smell of newsagents in those days, the smell of books in general, uniform fifties library books (which drabness seemed to accentuate the delights emerging from the print within), my Mum making me wear waterproof leggings when it rained, being able to scribble stories in pencil, using plasticene, throwing bean-bags about in PE, sitting on bristly PE mats, fuzzy grey pictures on the TV screen which, on some evenings, were indecipherable... and arcade amusements on Walton-on-Naze Pier: hand-cranked cranes that could never quite grapple with the pack of cigs wrapped round with a brown ten bob note, pinballs without flippers, ghost house tableau where a coin would produce a skeleton out of the cupboard, silver balls spinning round vertically into the lose and win holes, the win giving you another turn, the lose losing you your coin. More lose holes than win. A lesson for life?

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