1. abigail relents
Many humans pass information to each other through ‘conversation’. Sometimes this information is false. Sometimes it is true. I have a dog. More specifically an eritrean shepherd. I am left handed. I have a tattoo on my finger that reads ‘quixote’.
This passing of information occurs even when it is unnecessary. Sometimes information passed from one person to another is remembered [remembered]. Sometimes it is forgotten [not remembered]. Some information is deemed practical: "I shall arrive tomorrow morning.", while other information is deemed superfluous: "I have a tattoo on my finger that reads ‘quixote’".
In some circles, it is more important to know at what time I shall arrive tomorrow morning than to know on what finger I have a tattoo that reads ‘quixote’. Information is weighed against other information and prioritized.
If someone knows what time I shall arrive tomorrow morning, he or she will be able to meet me and ask me on what finger I have a tattoo that reads ‘quixote’.
If someone asks me on what finger I have a tattoo that reads ‘quixote’, it is possible that he or she will not need to know at what time I shall arrive tomorrow morning.
We practice passing and prioritizing information in this way on a daily basis. My name is Percival. I am not Abigail. I am cold. My feet are cold. I like it. I don’t like it. Yes. No. I don’t know. String. Friday. You have the wrong membrane. I’m fine.
These are everyday words that we mumble in order to keep them sharp and at the ready.
How are you?
If we look at this conversation horizontally, for all information passed from one person to another through conversation occurs horizontally, we see the inherent beauty in its sequence:
Hi Percy. Hi Abigail. How are you? Fine.
This dream-like sequence, the basis of all conversation, is an example of a near-perfect combination of form and function. It provides an environment in which people can exist [live]. Rules are established of what can or should be said and of what cannot or should not be said. In turn, expectations are met, practice is rewarded, and humans may interact in relative safety.
Indeed, studies have shown that humans would find their lives in great peril should this sequence become undone. Nevertheless, there are those who have it in their minds to co-opt this sequence and alter it:
Hi Percy. Hi Abigail. Fine. How are you?
Hi Percy. My feet are cold. How are you? String.
Hy? i saAe? fihi. Nebi. Owgra haei loun.
The inevitable question is why? In Ex. 1, although the form is still recognizable, the alteration of the sequence has already gone too far and disrupted the combination’s function. So far. Trundle. This minor disruption of the sequence also creates a minor disruption in our understanding of the world. In Ex. 2 although the sequence is not altered, expectations are not met because of what should not be said and once again creates a minor disruption in our understanding of the world. Ex. 3 is so far astray of its original (in form and function) that its existence and subsequent dismissal would hardly be noticed.
Ring the bell Tessa.
These sequences are rarely, if ever, altered verbally. More often than not, they are altered via the written word.
2. green is the bluest
Let us examine the sequence with a singular text that will help us answer the original inevitable question.
Text (from Abigail the Korean by Alston Lee - 1958):
And so the little boy half-asleep with a small white cloth wrapped around his head and tubes coming from underneath reached his arm from beneath his blanket to touch the woman’s face. He mumbled something to her that she didn’t understand and tapped her chin. With her hand, she followed his. From her chin to her cheek. From her cheek to her hair, which he grasped at as if he were searching for something in the darkness. The woman leaned closer to him but gave his hand the space it needed to wander. Searching and searching and searching until he found the yellow barrette decorated with tiny red and purple flowers that kept her face open to him. She unclasped the barrette and put it in his palm. He closed his fingers around it and turned slowly onto his side. The woman rubbed his forehead below his bandage and told him to sleep. The boy, looking through the only window in the room, said in a soft voice, "we do not want to close our eyes".
For the purpose of our examination, let us change the ‘conversation’ between Abigail and the boy by altering the text:
The woman rubbed his forehead below his bandage and told him to sleep. The boy, looking through the only window in the room, said in a soft voice "no".
This change readjusts what is said between the woman and the boy. There is no longer a disruption in the conversation. With ‘no’, the boy now states what can be expected from a boy when told by a woman to sleep. This readjustment, however, creates a limit, for although the window in the room is open, the word ‘no’ essentially closes it to the spectator. The original conversation therefore is an example of a disrupted conversation occurring within the text that opens the window.
A closer look also reveals a second conversation occurring, as you might have guessed [bane trundle], between the text and the reader. This conversation, although it occurs much more rapidly, follows the rules of the sequence. The text says to the reader ‘tubes coming from underneath’ to which the reader might respond: ‘lily’, ‘hospital’, ‘sun’, ‘do something’, ‘taciturn’, ‘the house by the beach’, ‘oswald’, ‘trench’, or ‘steve’.
The text, regardless of the reader’s response continues unconcerned, albeit considerately (e.g. pauses, punctuation, correct spelling): ‘From her chin to her cheek’, ‘searching and searching and searching’, ‘the only window in the room’. This seemingly microscopic conversation occurs repeatedly between the text and the reader. And from this we might surmise that it is vital in good writing, as with all works of art to be, if not cognizant of the spectator, at least considerate of him or her beforehand if this ‘conversation’ between the two is to take place successfully.
We would be mistaken, however, for there is yet another conversation that occurs, the importance of which makes the conversation between the text and the reader irrelevant and which provides the answer to our original inevitable question. This conversation occurs between the creator and the text. And it is in this milieu that the destruction of limits takes place.
note: we reject, out of hand, the notion that the creator is also a ‘reader’ of the text.
[trane bundle 3 dash 3, ermine contradiction]
3. abigail, when she was young, squeezed drops of sun into my pail
In writing, as in all other forms of art, there should be no consideration for the spectator. The spectator is irrelevant as it pertains to the true purpose of art. For the true purpose of art is to facilitate the growth of its creator–-to elevate the artist, if only for a moment, above the mediocrity of man, and in so doing elevate all of mankind above itself. It is in the ancillary effects of this process that the non-artist sees any value in art (e.g. the creation of something beautiful, the creation of something meaningful, the revelation of possibilities of existence).
These ancillary effects of art are merely the shed skin of the creator. And though it is possible that this skin might touch the spectator and that the creator might even be aware of this possibility, the possibility itself should be of no concern to the person who creates. The shed skin of the creator is nothing more than the detritus of a fertile soul collected by individuals for some individual purpose.
But how is it that the disruption of this sequence facilitates growth in the creator? A brief look at limits and the terrain from which they sprang is necessary to explore this question:
r-23.) the physical as space to grow > fences/boundaries/property/borders/laws (limits) > the imagination as space to grow > the petty/mass psychosis/babble/marketing/work/politeness/politics/education (limits)
Text (from Listless Tales of Love by Winifred Alfred-James - 1927):
Abigail had been asked the usual questions. Were they mutants? A trace species? Perhaps they suffered from a biological deficiency. It was difficult to see them differently even though they were found in the bamboo grove clinging to each other as normal people might. The boy held the barrette tightly as Abigail stroked his cheek. She listened to his little breath and adjusted her breathing to breathe as he breathed. To breathe as he breathed. Sediment. Fray speckled reef ponder. The holy carotid artery and jump station canoe.
4. strewn ablate
Don’t lose the sense of the kitchen on the third floor of the apartment building and the table with the table cloth made from an old sheet and two cups and two chairs and the window and the see-through white curtain blown aside by a breeze (on this summer day) and the vase and the white flower on the ledge and Abigail who stands there and leans out moving her hair away (from her face), resting on her hand to watch…to watch…to watch…as one drop of sweat forms in the curve of her lower back, containing within it the image of strewn ablate.
5. goodbye abigail, i knew your wallpaper
It is a sinister prank, indeed, that language provides the only way in which to escape itself. And though language gives us the means to escape, the very same language that liberates us becomes our prison once more. It is in this constant overcoming of language that man is finally
About the author
Little is known about Monty Cantsin's early life; his precise age and the details of his childhood and adolescences are a mystery. Born in the United Kingdom, Cantsin achieved cult notoriety as the front-man of the Mailmen, a punk band from the 1970s. Known for their anthems of lower class life and their odd glorification of mundane subject matter exemplified by such songs as "Taking out the Garbage," "Honey, Please," "Turn off the Telly," and "My Car's Broken Again," the band split up in 1976 after being together for only six months. In the 1980s, Cantsin found himself in the United States working as a solo artist. He scored a surprise chart placement with the catchy and subversive, "Anyone Can Sing Along," in 1986. After disappearing for over a decade, Cantsin resurfaced in 1999 as an electronic musician known as DJ SINe. His music often incorporated found sounds and snippets from banal conversations recorded at malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores. When asked in an interview conducted in 2006 why his work as DJ SINe was largely ignored, Cantsin replied, "Because I have little to no knowledge of electronic machinery and musical instrument machines." This is his first published piece of writing.