The Delights of Your Autopsy
[A Short Story]
Considering what it is I write and perhaps why it is I write what I do when I do; considering context for the writing, the where, the when, the to-whom I write. How is everything and not everything in the writing; style is developed, it evolves, it does not happen right away, even among the most mature writers. What I have to say here has been a consideration of mine since I have taken up the task of writing as I have been writing for a literary review dedicated to the literary essay and short fiction as it has been and even was before I came to work for it. What I have to say, which is have . . . to say, not have to . . . say–you get what I mean, no? Here then let me begin as I imagine I should, if I have not already begun what I have intended by having begun with the consideration of considering . . .
Beauty, as I have already concluded elsewhere in other texts I have authored, as the Romans too understood, cannot exist without form, except in a modified Greek understanding of absolute forms. The Romans and the Greeks did differ on the representation of beauty; go to the Met and walk among the Roman and Greek statuary and see. Beauty manifests as this beauty or that beautiful something we do not need to name at present. I could extend any of the questions that might be asked about what I intend in the pages I write, I am always writing beyond the limits of one of essay or another or story or poem–God the variations of form that happen there, in my poetry.
I write and I write and I write, ah! the walking shadows. How do shadows talk? What do they say? Saying so much over the years in notebook after notebook . . . and what is anyone’s blog but an extension of one’s notebooks, what we used to keep in journals. Curiously we are not more guarded when we write in blogs, or is that because the internet and bogging have appealed to people with much lower literacy than journal writing appeals to . . . journal writers traditionally and for the most part have been much more literate than most people blogging today–a prejudice I hold, I know. But it may still be true even if I hold to it out of prejudice.
I have written many essays, stories, poems, critiques in a variety of styles for a variety of purposes for a variety of audiences–know your audience. I could continue any questioning far beyond where I take my inquiries in the essays I publish in the pages section of my website, fit only for those who understand what we once called literary tradition. Style shifts for need, of course. What more should I ask? I am what you read, my hypocrite readers; I am everything and everyone there; every essay, every word, every title, every post, every video/film, each photograph you might see. Could I apply this fore mentioned literary approach to subjects as diverse as from language and linguistics to epistemology and ethics? Yes. From history to law to then again historiography? For certain. Or to reading and writing in the most general application? I imagine so. From painting and sculpting to the state of theater in America? Why hesitate with a reply? I can write five hundred words on anything, even the things I have idea about at all.
From blogging, to Orthodox Jewish landlords in my building diminishing maintenance services correlative with the rise in Muslim tenants in the compound where these Orthodox Jewish landlords are allowed, by the City that governs the housing they own, to act as they wish, or do not wish, and with impunity? Yes. And I address all of these and then so much more, but how is always ever present. What is the rhetorical edge I am going to use and will it cut appropriately? Rhetoric must cut. I need to wield a scalpel’s blade. Surgery in satire is better than butchery.
My pen is my scalpel, of course (an image I have read elsewhere, I forget, I think it was in a poem by Jay Ruvolo); memory at times is a knife that cuts . . . could I address in tones more sober that Mayor Frumpberg was a large Orwellian pig–in direct contrast to his diminutive staure and mousy nature before the media? Of course I could–but I would still need to tread gently. Did Frumpberg let landlords off thier leashes? I could say that he did, but to what effect when most of what we have in the media has conditioned us to be hyper polite to the extent that we are psychopathically polite?
Yes, of course we–that means I–could address all of these things, and I do understand that some might say that these conclusions are not matters of course; but I insist that there are self-evident necessities that must be phrased as we do, as I do–this review is not mine–it is me; I am the review. Thus, whatever it is that we will do, I will do; whatever we do, I do; whatever is done has been done by me. So, when I ask what I can do in my writing, I am of course posing the question as we like to say rhetorically. But as I have said before in other essays and herein, rhetoric is an edge that cuts. Is it though, the meat cleaver, or the surgeon’s scalpel, I will use.
Surgery, I will perform; or, is it autopsy. Writers are sometimes coroners. But who am here: I am me, the man I am, but I cannot forget that the man I am is a plurality, not a singularity. I am we, of course, not just in the way I know that all the world is a stage, and like Jacques, I know that each of us plays many parts, not only the roles that advancing through age demand, but the roles created because I am not the same man when I speak to my neighbor as I am when I speak to my mother, nor have ever been the same man speaking to my mother as I have been speaking to my father, not the same man I am speaking to my father as I am speaking to any of my close male friends, not the same speaking to any of them as I am speaking to any woman who has been my lover, not the same speaking to one of them as to another or another or another of them, or speaking to any woman classmate in any college class I have had, not the same to any one of them as I am to any other one of them, nor as I am speaking to a woman friend who is not a lover or a lover who is not a friend, or to an elderly woman on the train, or a woman police officer, or a woman professor of my Victorian Lit class.
How could we not be many, plural; each of us is we, a multiplication of selves by the plurality of them in each Self, each person building a Self of many selves out of the experience and the givens of his or her life, no? I am not the same man I was last week, nor will I be the same man tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, sometimes being an idiot, even.