Stay the Same


#30 Harry Wootliff
8 July 2012, 12:27 am
Filed under: ALL, Responses to the project

I travelled up to Knoydart to visit Sam for the first time since she moved there. This quote from one of my favorite writers Joyce Carol Oates, articulates better than I can, what I feel Sam’s project is about: a desire to “make life more coherent, to set something in order, to single out meanings from the great confusion of the time, or of our lives…because we are convinced that meaning exists and we want to fix it in place ”

“We write for the same reason we dream- because we cannot not dream, because it is in the nature of the human imagination to dream. Those of us who “write,” who consciously arrange and re-arrange reality for the purpose of exploring its hidden meanings, are more serious dreamers, perhaps we are addicted to dreaming, but never because we fear or despise reality.

As Flannery O’Connor said writing is not an escape from reality, ‘it is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.’ She insists that the writer is a person who has hope in the world; people without hope do not write.

We write in order to give a more coherent, abbreviated form to the world, which is often confusing and terrifying and stupid as it unfolds about us. How to manage this blizzard of days, of moments, of years? The world has no meaning; I am sadly resigned to this fact.

But the world has meanings, many individual and alarming and graspable meanings, and the adventure of being human consists in seeking out these meanings. We want to figure out as much of life as we can. We are not very different from scientists, our notorious enemies, who want also to figure things out, to make life more coherent, to set something in order to single out meanings from the great confusion of the time, or of our lives: we write because we are convinced that meaning exists and we want to fix it in place.”

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By serendipity or telepathy, I read this sentence out aloud to Paul, my partner, this morning…..before I read your blog.

‘It’s a natural impulse to shape the random events we live through into coherent narrative, otherwise our lives would feel like experimental theatre or abstract painting, which would be a complete bloody nightmare.’

It’s from Pete McCarthy, who apart from the occasional profundity is one of the funniest writers I know.

Comment by Rose (Sam's Mum)




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