Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thought of the Heart

So I've been insanely busy this semester, since moving back to San Francisco. Thus, I haven't even posted since school started. I took the picture on the left at the California Academy of the Sciences. A group of friends and I were there to see Jens Lekman play some music. Prior to the show we toured around the Academy. I have a special appreciation for primates of all kinds so I had to take this picture. It's a mountain gorilla. I didn't notice until now that the rectangular reflection near the gorilla's chest resembles some tablet or book shaped object. As if the gorilla is reading. All of this resonates with me right now because I'm working on something about monkeys and gorillas and humans really. B read my initial effort and posed some really great questions which provoked creative thoughts. In finding a way around her criticisms I ended up creating an entirely new work that I read in class just the other day. My teacher said it was 'performative'. I like the idea of performing the writing. It's something I haven't really thought about - at least not with that term. Mostly this semester has been about writing 'Catherine' and finishing my thesis - simultaneously discovering a vast amount of forms and content exist for me to take up. The story about the monkeys is really just the beginning of this discovery.

Last night I went to Dodie Bellamy's class at SFSU because Ariana Reines was going to speak to the class about her new book Mercury. In fact, tonight I'm going to watch Dodie and Ariana read in the Mission. It was sort of like a star struck moment for me to meet Ariana. I took a lot of notes when she spoke about poetry and her writing process. Dodie, Ariana, Ariana's book tour partner Stuart, and I went downstairs for tea and chips. Though I feel fairly confident in talking about writing now, I still had the whole star struck thing going and I'm sure Ariana thought I was a bit crazy. One thing I felt and understood about Ariana's writing, which maybe I didn't understand until I heard her read two of her poems, is that a certain type of love is propelling her writing. It seems as if she is writing as an extension of her physical body. And it feels like her extension is an extension of love. Not romantic or sexual necessarily. But love as caring and as wanting to empathize with the recipient of the writing, her community on this earth. My thoughts/feelings on this were echoed this morning when I sat down at the CCA Oakland cafe to eat my cheese danish and coffee. Dodie had given me a book by this psychologist (Jungian/Post-Jungian) James Hillman. I didn't have time to even get past the first 5 pages because I was responding (in writing) to every sentence. Hillman writes about the difference between mind and heart, the origin of philosophy, philos is not a detached reasoning of life; philosophy comes first from the heart. Hillman uses a quote from a Greek writer (I think, I haven't had a chance to check it out yet): "As you speak, so is your heart." The heart is speaking, I am speaking, Ariana is speaking.


Dodie Bellamy said...

Jason, this is lovely. You capture so well what I too was feeling about Ariana in class. Glad that the Hillman book is speaking to you.

Jason R Jimenez said...

Thanks Dodie. I didn't know what to expect from Hillman but any time a writer mentions philosophy, there's a good chance I'm hooked.