L. 12. 1 Bear Hunt Song, or rules of creative conduct revised

  1. Be wary when it feels like a word association game.
  2. What is the form?  Form is the wheel you don’t have to re-invent.
  3. If it’s truly new, it should be somewhat off-putting, something you would just as soon skip past or avoid, like a stranger who a year later is an intimate.
  4. Today’s intensity is tomorrow’s regret.
  5. Welcome intrusions.

I have no problem with these.  I still feel cute as a button uttering them.  Shirley Temple cute, if I’m being honest.

Three gnaws a bit, though.  I want it to be more concise, more aphoristic, more…Lichtenbergian .  Georg is the Master!  I’m so happy the quote rotator is back up to speed, humming away.  In these dark days of diminished production quotas, it’s a reason to visit the site everyday.  I can fiddle with Three, maybe, in the spirit of Lichtenberg:

3.  The truly new is that troubling stranger who in a year’s time could easily become an intimate if you gave in to your instincts, but who would more likely reject you outright for understandable  reasons.

Shirley Temple is now disgustingly cute.  I think my more compact version is actually longer, but it feels more precise and even has a touch of storytelling verve, which is not usually my forte.  So it’s a keeper.  Bon bons at play…

But I’m also content to chuck all of them.  I don’t really believe in them as working guidelines.  I don’t really believe myself these days when I claim I create.  I have been revisiting the circumstances that first put me on a supposed creative path, and the truth is, I really cannot speak of  those circumstances in any other way than as an encounter with an impasse.  At a certain point in my development, I met with something I couldn’t understand or encompass or circumnavigate.  The instruments I normally employed to get at things were useless.

Always an exciting moment, of course.  And, in my case, I think, traumatic.  Every encounter with an impasse is something of a trauma, I might assert.  The moment of defeat makes an impression and sets the stage for a lifetime of re-visiting, of rehearsing the fatal encounter.  Exciting, traumatic, and, ultimately, therefore, essential.  Because, as I said before, you are not equipped.  You lack savoir faire.  There is no help.  You become a moment of possible extinction.  Such a threat, a loss, a lack, touches on the essential, on you, on life.  You can’t find a ring to grasp.  You plunge.

Here’s a version of the Bear Hunt Song as thoughtfully preserved by a helpful Boy Scout troop.  The song is basically a guide to using prepositions in one’s various encounters with the world.  It is the prepositions that function as the working codes, the symbolic formulas, that afford you the chance to move on Reality, to engage it, to establish meaning and possibility.  Reality as a set of known possibilities is, in fact, mapped out in the song.  But here’s the interesting thing:  at the heart of the song is an encounter with an impasse.  And that moment, really, is the essence of the song.  The key moment, the thrill, is when prepositions aren’t worth a damn.  And that is why it is fun to perform the song.  Repeatedly.  The Bear.

To put it briefly, my particular preoccupation with “creativity” and all that it promises and withholds is due to meeting a Bear.  My continued engagement is a rehearsal charted by a particular practice, a particular way symbolic reality works and then unravels.  I flee and re-approach.

I was lost in a Baroque tangle and baffled by words.  That was the Bear.  At the time there were no friendlier words to begin to characterize the predicament or the effect.  I then began to collect related objects that seemed to want to adhere to the initial mysterious mute monstrosity.  The “creative” path took its place as a possible connection to that mute kernel, along with others.  All within a family drama, of course, and surrounded by various figures of interest.  And so I orchestrated more and more elaborate meetings with the thing in the cave.

What to do?  What will this new clarity tell me about how to proceed?  I’ll keep you posted.



17 Thoughts on “L. 12. 1 Bear Hunt Song, or rules of creative conduct revised

  1. Jeff on May 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm said:

    I think Melville actually wrote a book about this.

  2. Jeff on May 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm said:

    Hey, remember when we were all going to do a Lacuna thing about encountering The Bear? We were going to use the Cherokee story about the Bear and the Rabbit dining together, and of course the Chekhov thing. Might be fun to re-visit at some point … when we encounter The Bear, what do we do?

  3. Jeff on May 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm said:

    (Wait, Melville’s book was about a whale. My bad.)

  4. marc on May 2, 2012 at 7:21 am said:

    I went to Jeff’s link and the Bear was there, calling himself Richard Branson. Run away! Run away!

  5. marc on May 2, 2012 at 7:28 am said:

    So I once proposed that the only way a machine could truly achieve consciousness was if something was written into its software that didn’t work. Alternatively, you could say you have to find the machine version of: Aaaaaaaaah! It’s a Bear! Aaaaaaaah! Run out of the cave, etc…….!

  6. Jeff beat me to it: the Lacuna project on bears, giraffes, and queers needs a serious re-visit. Also, gratuitous nude performance.

  7. But a serious question: am I untangling your thoughts correctly when I say that you are suggesting that the only possible result of an Encounter is… an Impasse? Or just the most likely?

  8. Jeff on May 3, 2012 at 12:00 am said:

    Hemingway carried big frickin guns. Impasse, my ass.

  9. marc on May 3, 2012 at 5:17 am said:

    Somehow I’m reminded of what you told us on the first day of your seminar: “Context is what girls discuss with their dolls when they dress up and play Tea Party.”

  10. marc on May 3, 2012 at 5:21 am said:

    But to clarify. It’s not really a “narrative” impasse. It’s a formal or logical impasse. You aren’t able to characterize it as such while you are encountering it. “Bear” is a metaphor for…wait for it…jouissance. You knew I’d have to mention that sooner or later.

  11. marc on May 3, 2012 at 5:22 am said:

    The Real. What doesn’t work. A question that only can be answered with one of your mother’s shoes…

  12. marc on May 3, 2012 at 5:35 am said:

    Yes, I need to find some new concepts to play with.

  13. marc on May 3, 2012 at 6:51 am said:

    The fun of the Bear Hunt Song is in part the celebration of identifying the Thing as the Bear. I tried to read a poem my brother wrote while he was in college that won some national poetry award, and I could not “read” it. It was incomprehensible. Many of the books on his bookshelf were incomprehensible. My father’s job was incomprehensible.

  14. marc on May 3, 2012 at 7:04 am said:

    Many such impasses exist as we try to formulate knowledge about “sexuality,” of course. But that’s so obvious. I was going after things that might be a bit more subtle but equally pertinent.

    So it’s possible, in my case, that “creativity” is more of an acquired object or an intriguing effect than it is a workaday lived practice.

  15. I think I shall throw the word affect out there and let you gnaw on that for a while.

  16. marc on May 4, 2012 at 9:53 am said:

    Must. Re-evaluate. Everything.

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