Reading, Writing and Re-viewing

Can a journal take anyone anywhere? Reading can certainly transport you–reading is supposed to, and if it does not, then it is the fault of the reader or the writing or both. A good journal–a well written, published, edited one–is a journey of a kind, always on a journey we are–yes, daily in both the word and its reference as well as the time frame–all of us do live day to day, and I might even agree with Ms. Woolf’s assertion that we live in the hours. I probably could make a case for how we live in the minutes, but we still, most of us, sleep at night, watch the sun go down or notice that the sun has set and that it has gotten dark. Diurnal me, yes.

To write in a journal is not just a daily thing, but is itself a journeying somewhere, which where we could ask, this place located inside, each interiority is an inscape of the writing and reading that takes place . . . every journal when written, when being written, is a special journey inside for the writer. I have said before that I do not know what I think until I write; I also do not know who I am, what I am, who or what I can become unless I write. There is no greater revelation to anyone than what happens to a writer in his journal, but anywhere in his writing, when he writes, the degree or the kind depending on the manner of writing, the kind of writing engaged, we must assume that there is a cutting into that takes place, as we must also assume that the writing is engaged with honesty. Without the latter there is no writing, but anytime anyone puts anything on the page, something happens that is completely other than if what is put on the page were kept locked up inside. Writing does allow for a kind if interiorizing of ourselves. It affords us a map, a compass; the writing maps the Self, or it should, if it is writing that is taking place when pen is put to page. This fore mentioned fear is what everyone feels when faced with the prospect of writing about something.  Overcoming this fear is to overcome Fear itself.

I do not know how many times I can say that this review is made up of literary essays–but it is important to note that the kind of writing herein is what would have been called literary and unabashedly so. It is also made up of a literary blog, not just a blog about literature or all things literary, but written with that sensibility in mind and when writing, even when jotting down a line or two. In some places on-line The Falling Leaf Reveiw is cached as The Essay Review, and in others, it is boxed as The Falling Leaf Review, formerly The Essay Review. You may access it by So much the better for me and my review if you do, if you tell others to do so–although I have little hope of this happening. The kind of reading necessitated by the kind of writing that is published here does not happen too often, is rarely taught or achieved in our schools, not even enough in our universities. The internet rarely attracts readers suited to this kind of reading and writing.

Where then does it go, does it arrive, does it take us? I am repeating myself. But the question has not yet been answered. I am not, though, certain that an answer is necessary or even possible. Dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue. What does it–can it–achieve? What is it that any review does? Questions keep coming. I try to answer them as they arrive. Or do I only respond? I assume that there will be some transporting that happens when one reads the writing within the review with the appropriate care, attention, penetration. If writing as I have alluded to above achieves what I have said it does, it can safely be assumed that reading is the mutual and reciprocal counterpart of the writing. Good reading is necessary to access good writing’s potential to the fullest. I know I sometimes only respond to questions and that no answers for some questions are forthcoming. Do I intend to avoid answers? Maybe I do; perhaps not without design, particular effects are deemed necessary. Absence can be a kind of presence, as we have contacted before in these pages.

The intention of giving answers is a restraint; it is a kind of shackling. I do not want that kind of constraint. The essay form is one devoted to uncovering, discovering, recovering in the process. To essay is the process of an essay; the name and the action integral to one another; they are mutual and reciprocal. Essays are trials, hopefully not conducted as the one that mentally tortures Joseph K. So, then, what has this review become before my eyes watching it grow, watching it as it has come to where it is at present. It goes clearly into the world of thinking as a tradition of thinking has been developed by traditions in the west since antiquity. We explore these. Yes, I do not ever know what I think until I write, unless I write–the writing is where I find out how I think. Thinking can be taught in spite of what a rather only seemingly intelligent colleague has asserted in mocking disbelief, that thinking cannot be taught.

Writing is salvation as it is sanitation, sanitizing me–my sanity is contained herein. All sanity is about sanitation; you do know this, don’t you? To sanitize is to keep sanity; sanitation is always about health. Beware, though, when bureaucrats want to clean up society.  To be sane is to be clean in the mind, right? You get it, don’t you? The implications can become ominous when the design for the writing is intended for those whose reading is suited to manipulation by texts intended to steer, distort, undermine thinking. I hate movies where the screenwriters hand comes right off the screen into the audience and tries to move me about like a pawn. This, I hope, is not what is happening here, although it is interesting how the stupid, the semi-literate and the under educated have all come together to imagine that writing such as what happens herein is the kind of writing that is meant to control their thinking, manipulate them in nefarious ways, undermine their free will, limit their freedom. The stupid, the semi-literate and the under educated are growing at an alarming pace. I wonder, sometimes–I do–just what the future holds for America, and I cannot help but think the future is bleak.




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