Grey Morning

On the way home from the hospital

On the way home from the hospital

11 March 2014
7:45 AM
Manila

M.–

I find myself waking up earlier lately, even if I’ve only had a few hours’ worth of sleep. Perhaps just out of a deep desire to make something more of my day.

I am thinking of what you’ve told me, how the days are all we have, really. How they all add up, in the end, and how I need not worry about that at the moment. To concentrate on the now, on this.

Driving home this morning, alone in the car with my father, we are listening to Earl Klugh and talking by way of silence. I stare out the window and look at the grey sky, at the people we pass, at the (still) empty street. I make non-committal noises; Papa does the same.

I relish the moment of peace in what would be an otherwise busy day ahead, and am grateful for it.

We are reading this for the book group:

The Fallguy’s Faith. by Robert Coover

Falling from favor, or grace, some high artifice, down he dropped like a discredited predicate through what he called space (sometimes he called it time) and with an earsplitting crack splattered the base earth with his vital attributes. Oh, I’ve had a great fall, he thought as he lay there, numb with terror, trying desperately to pull himself together again. This time (or space) I’ve really done it! He had fallen before of course: short of expectations, into bad habits, out with his friends, upon evil days, foul of the law, in and out of love, down in the dumps—indeed, as though egged on by some malevolent metaphor generated by his own condition, he had always been falling, had he not?—but this was the most terrible fall of all. It was like the very fall of pride, of stars, of Babylon, of cradles and curtains and angels and rain, like the dread fall of silence, of sparrows, like the fall of doom. It was, in a word, as he knew now, surrendering to the verb of all flesh, the last fall (his last anyway: as for the chips, he sighed, releasing them, let them fall where they may)—yet why was it, he wanted to know, why was it that everything that had happened to him had seemed to have happened in language? Even this! Almost as though, without words for it, it might not have happened at all! Had he been nothing more, after all was said and done, than a paraphrastic curiosity, an idle trope, within some vast syntactical flaw of existence? Had he fallen, he worried as he closed his eyes for the last time and consigned his name to history (may it take it or leave it), his juices to the soil (was it soil?),merely to have it said he had fallen? Ah! tears tumbled down his cheeks, damply echoing thereby the greater fall, now so ancient that he himself was beginning to forget it (a farther fall perhaps than all the rest, this forgetting: a fall as it were within a fall), and it came to him in these fading moments that it could even be said that, born to fall, he had perhaps fallen simply to be born (birth being less than it was cracked up to be, to coin a phrase)! Yes, yes, it could be said, what can not be said, but he didn’t quite believe it, didn’t quite believe either that accidence held the world together. No, if he had faith in one thing, this fallguy (he came back to this now), it was this: in the beginning was the gesture,and that gesture was: he opened his mouth to say it aloud (to prove some point or other?), but too late—his face cracked into a crooked smile and the words died on his lips…

We talked about the importance of a gesture, and of Coover’s rewriting of Humpty Dumpty. I said: I’m particularly enamoured of this piece.

I said: in the beginning was the gesture, and the gesture is this—Coover opened his (metaphorical) mouth to speak, and out came words, and this is what is between us, the writer and the reader—words, words, words.

Perhaps making meaning, finding meaning is a gesture—perhaps the river of words between us is what makes connecting possible. I mean, without words, without a want to speak, how would we ever know each other at all? We could be sitting side by side, or passing one another, and that would be that.

Maybe falling is a gesture, too—born to fall, he had perhaps fallen simply to be born. If Humpty Dumpty didn’t fall, there wouldn’t be anything to put back together, there wouldn’t be a nursery rhyme, etc.

They weren’t able to put him back, no? A quick search led me to this, said to be the earliest version of the rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Four-score Men and Four-score more,
Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.

I am thinking that maybe that’s what falling means. To be changed, to go through a change—not necessarily to be broken, but to trust in the act of falling (writing, living), and reaching another state of being.

Good morning,
T.

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