Monday, March 21, 2011


Blogspot doesn’t support videos being posted, I think, so I’ll supply one “raw” code for you to copy and paste and one link for “Tristan’s Moon.
Jane Friedman in her writer's and publisher's blog called “There Are No Rules” recently identified four ways of “new” publishing.  She missed Mixed Media (sometimes called “New Media,” like the visual article called “Tristan’s Moon,” which in my opinion is also “writing,” and she missed the subject of the video which is also called “Tristan’s Moon.”  It is a handmade artist’s book by Tim Barrus about the youngest original member of Cinematheque Films, the art school for boys at risk, whose story is told in “Orpheus in the Catacombs” through journal blog posts by Tim Barrus and the boys themselves, as edited by Mary Scriver  Tristan was a remarkable young man whose death is elegized in a slender book of ballads called “Fingerprints on the Iris of the Eye,” written by Tim Barrus, edited by Mary Scriver.  This way of collaboratively creating and publishing work is immensely satisfying.    It flies in the face of the historic notion of the solitary genius.  The context is always the community of boys.  It is organic, one thing growing naturally out of the other.
I was thinking about this when my eye fell on a book called “Sonnets to Orpheus,” by Rainer Maria Rilke, with introduction and translation by Willis Barnstone.  When I took it off the shelf, it fell open to this sonnet:
by Ranier Maria Rilke
Wir sind die Treibenden.
Aber de Scjrott der Zeit,
nehmt ihn als Kleinigkeit
im immer Bleibenden.
Alles das Eilende
wird schon voruber sein;
denn das Verweilende
erst weiht uns ein.
Knaben, o werft den Mut
nicht in die schneilligkeit,
nicht  in den Flugversuch.
Alles ist ausgeruht:
Dunkel und Heilligkeit,
Blume und Buch.
* * * * * * *
We drive on
but in the steps of time
we are a mere electron
in the eternal slime.
Things hurry and soon
come to an end.
Only what knows every noon
welcomes us in.
Young boys, don’t cast
your courage into a swift brook
or the trials of flight.
All things stay at rest:
darkness and holy light,
flower and book.
Trans by Willis Barnstone
I had only a vague notion of Rilke, mostly through his close relationship with Rodin.  He was plagued through his life by what is now speculated to be leukemia, a blood cancer, and died young.  But not as young as Tristan.
One has a choice about these deaths: to mourn and withdraw or to celebrate.  We do both.  We grieve together and alone.  We do it both publicly and privately.  It is a part of life and therefore a source of writing.

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