Category: readings

Pessoa: A Biography

By Richard Zenith

About half way thru. Very nicely done.


Pessoa described himself as a “secret orchestra.” Rimbaud as a piece of wood transformed by destiny into a violin.

Detective Fiction ?

Pessoa lamented the hesitation and incompletion that plagued so much of what he wrote.

In Book of Disquiet, illustrates the uncertainty principle that runs throughout his written universe.

Variations on the Invented Self. Powered by ideas rather than plot. Self multiplication.

Part 1: The Born Foreigner 1888-1905

Chapter 1

Born June 13, 1888. A Gemini.

Saudade: word signifies intense longing, yearning, nostalgia, as state of mind, existential condition.

Tagus River, sometimes called Mar da Palha or Straw Sea.

Writing as painting: “Against the blue made pale by the green of night, the cold unevenness of the buildings on the summer horizon formed a jagged, brownish-black silhouette, vaguely haloed by a yellowed gray.” Book of Disquiet — BOD

Both parents passionately into language. Father a Music Theatre Critic side job. Defined his ancestry as a mixture of aristocrats and jews. Mother Catholic.

Restless religious curiosity. Read extensively. Including astrology.

However closely you touch me

When I pass by, always drifting,

You are to me like a dream —

In my soul your ringing is distant.

With every clang you make,

Resounding across the sky,

I feel the past farther away,

I feel nostalgia close by.

First published piece of creative prose “In The Forest of Estrangement.”

His father secure in a government job. Reading by four. Fondness for comics.

Chapter 2

Brother born 1893, contracted TB, like his father. Fathers’s mother bouts of dementia that alternated between sullen withdrawal and exalted verbal eruptions. Father searching for a cure at sanatoriums. Father died 1893. Mother Maria forced to downsize from spacious apartment with two housekeepers and grand view of Targus. Those days were over. Brother Jorge died 1894.

Mother met Joao Rosa on streetcar, made in America, they called the Americano. He became the great love of her life. A ships captain in Navy, had sailed all over the world.

Was promoted to Port Captain. His ship called the Liberal. Campaign to subdue Mozambique rebels. Slated to become Portuguese consul in Durban South Africa.

Chapter 3

A true and intimate disbelief

Has made the whole world a desert for me.

Bullfights at Campo Pequeno with his Uncle Cunha. Portuguese bullfights, known as the corrida, somewhat less gruesome than those in Spain. Attended concerts, opera with Aunt Maria.

From the 1920’s? “And instead of ending with my childhood, this tendency expanded in my adolescence, taking firmer root with each passing year… Today I have no personality: I have divided all my humanness among the various authors whom I’ve served as literary executor. Today I am the meeting place of a small humanity that belongs only to me.”

First heteronym Chevalier de Pas, knight and letter writer. At five or six. Knight of No ? Pas also means steps. Mother herself, diligently wrote letters to her family, constantly.

MOI: Letters for me are, and always have been, an explosive aberration. Serve as an annex or extension, to break against boundaries, crash selves even. Open my life up to both relative and the absurd as a promulgation. A place occasionally can devolve into, however taboo, lit up against what occurred to my char as a direct affront, ceaselessly repetitive limitations of reality.

Pessoa’s niece found and published some of Uncle Cunha’s letters to Fernando.

Pessoa would dress up for Carnival. Majority maternal relatives, great aunts and their husbands, lived in Lisbon. Mothers family came from Azores, an island archipelago, west of Lisbon, northwest of Morocco.

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In re Cutty Sarcus: on the Dog Latin in Wittgensteins Tractucus

Rereading the Tractucus

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Available from Gutenberg Archive.

First time read Wittgensteins Tractatus I loved it. I tend to read philosophy as a part of language studies. I remember it as this strange wonderful wavefront on the magnificence of propositional logicalizing in a perfectly formal attitude (itemized like Euclid).

Thought what a smashing exuberance (it is exuberant, kind of reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in that way). Charged with tracking, as he delineates/decimalizes, the proposition of a logical system, that declares itself based on “fact,” as opposed to things.

Cutty Sarcus, I am thinking, with that dog latin title?! Latin comic is he being? No yes maybe.

It is a fun read — if you are into language and concepts about thought, it is beautifully written. And approached in a manner looking to simplify. I read in a headlong gulp — watching him track through propositional language, something that can be itemized but cannot be caught — except as defined by itself.

Its kind of like a treatise on what is and is not a pipe, while discussing an enumeration of metaphysical values and logical forms. Heavy as water soaked in silk.

Yes — it is positing itself as a theory of everything. “1. The world is everything that is the case.”

And relates back to identifying statements of proof — but with respect to pictures of facts. “2.1 We make ourselves pictures of facts.”

And then goes on to discuss how thoughts (including science and math) can be expressed through propositional elements. “4.01 The proposition is a picture of reality.”


“5.6 The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

“5.621 The world and life are one.”

“5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)”

“6.44 Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is.”

“6.522 There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical.”


“6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.”

So you see he is Cutty Sarcus the latin comic, of a sort. With an introduction by Bertrand Russell, say no more.

Project Gutenberg’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, by Ludwig Wittgenstein; Title: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; Author: Ludwig Wittgenstein; Contributor: Bertrand Russell; Translator: C. K. Ogden; Original Language: German

Emile Cioran

Presently reading, and starting to take some notes.

The Trouble with Being Born

Time was becoming unstuck from being.

Carried away by irresistible desire to proclaim.

Long to be free — desperately free.

Forget to be born.

When we have worn out the interest we once took in death…we fall back on birth, we turn to a much more inexhaustible abyss.

ME: Death was FELT as an inherent charm, employed by my fancy as a fugitive doorway to freedom. Everywhere else was proscribed. Considered by startling pliancy of my imagination as basically a killer, as bordering on evil. Why my menace was born — began to howl for space to think, to overthink, languor, moon, thrum shrill murk mourn, for a place that could not be proscribed by body and limits of time, a freedom for reverie that could withstand its own consciousness.

As we say in French, j’ai mal.

Crept out of somewhere.

Tendencies toward an inner quest. Set failure above any success — permits us to see ourselves as God sees us —

Two kinds of mind: daylight and nocturnal.

ME: A little night music.

Mystery and inconsequentiality — between the pyramids and the morgue.

If attachment is an evil —

If a monk became proud of a task was to forsake it.

ME: I got caught up in a chain of belief, where if I did it well, suddenly — and were then to become proud of it, I was bound to fail — loose connection to indescribable what, of that moment, of sudden awareness that created it. The sirens attaching to this belief — at end of day, were part of that thing that caused me to freak after any success. Distrusted pride as an enemy to consciousness. But in fact there is also its opposite, that I can bring myself to trust it — if willing to investigate if willing to be vigilant. Fully accept its materialization as a point of context and part of MY continuity. Tho some early successes were so sudden and sweet, they seemed to come out of nowhere, there was no context I could give to it, except that, on an off chance, I wrote something that was in deed incantatory — and my hungry pride of menaces had not spoiled it.

Heights of Despair

All kinds of insights would blend and flourish in a fertile effervescence.

ME: AKA miracle mush, to my agents of the valiant “brooding woody.” Who I marry with the cryptic — with language as la chute, as it is slippery — a freedom I proclaimed for myself to compose to.

Works by Percy Shelley

Standing up for myself, expressing gratitude and strength — all about eve creations.

Yall in strange wonderful way give us ins and give us outs. Continuity is a kind of revolving grace — Doesn’t stand still, but moves around.

Gave me back my past not merely as a transformational beauty thing, that over time became entrenched in a sea of curious delusion and trauma — But NOW, has been transformed again into: determination, discipline, commitment, and a new kind of self-possession. As it is. As it was. As I am. With a place in my heart for all who sod there.

Working up some new selfies: 

How the pirate preys on herself.

Making Peace vs. Keeping Peace

That what is “Magic Spread” of evil in the good. A discussion with Percy Shelley:

Short prose works[edit]

  • “The Assassins, A Fragment of a Romance” (1814)
  • “The Coliseum, A Fragment” (1817)
  • “The Elysian Fields: A Lucianic Fragment” (1818)
  • “Una Favola (A Fable)” (1819, originally in Italian)


* Zill: one of a pair of small metallic cymbals worn on the thumb and middle finger; used in belly dancing in rhythm with the dance

Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk

This is a fun read. My take his phrases, his phrases are FAB ULOT. Encourage anyone who loves lit phrase raise, to read.

Series of rhythms.

Description. Instruction. Exclamation. Oh my.

Onomatopoeia. Mix to taste.

Authority Intimacy Pace.

Little Voice. Moment by moment.

Big Voice. Overvoice French Movie. Victoriana: Put a porch in front. Of.

Snakes Skeleton//gs PoisonousDarts.

Dialogue as gesture. Gesture as dialogue.

In impasse “conversation” insert repetitive nonsense markers. JJs TIP. Before Image Jump. Create as code. Cut, like film.

Insert lists just like this.

Write from within the char. Bend language. Submerge the I. Create epiphany.

Great problems not clever solutions. Sex builds tension laughter cuts it.

Limiting elements.

Chekhovs directive, if put “gun” in drawer 1st act, must pull it out in final act.

A regular series of unlikely conjunctions. Recycle objects. Evasive dialogue increases tension. Never resolve a threat till you raise a larger one.

You don’t write to make friends — good writing is not about making the writer look good. Gradual discovery process.

Unresolved issues creates tension. Stories that spin into madness.

Anytime deny a possibility create it at the same time. Titanic: the ship is unsinkable.

Verbal gimmicks of narrator.

Cole Porter famous not for inventing catchy hooks — but overhearing them. Chuck calls “crowd seeding.”

Workshop. I found my workshop –what I call The Sandbox.

Most are dead. But a few actually are not. Annie Sexton round about says the same thing.

The sous-conversation, or subtext.

If you are going to be writer don’t be afraid to also be a bad artist. Bradbury painted, Capote did collages, Mailer Vonnegut Thurber drew. Burroughs blasted balloons with paint. COMPLEMENTS writing. I FIND THIS TOO.

Overserve your “community.” More than they can handle alone. Dickens, Twain.

Trick yourself into having a great time. Yeah. AHH but it wasn’t a trick. That was the trick.

Does props and surprises at his events, like Oprah, but much sicker.

He says get it all out on paper or one day — for who knows what reason — it could be GONE. I have multiple copies stored. Of instagram? Yeah cause its copied and its backed up. And stuff here. Yeah gets sent to me everyday. Everyday I get a new version data backup. Thats not backed up. No.

Reasons to love to write:

Flooding. Dangerous writing, Unresolved threatening aspects. Harnessing your monkey mind.

“you have to talk , otherwise your head turns into a cemetery.” Yeah. thats where I live. A lot.

Challenge, or frighten. Or both.

The thing after which everything is different. I can never forget. And always forgive.

Agency repping him, guy embezzled agency folded. So went his money. Ha.

Slavoj Žižek Ticklish Subject

The Ticklish SubjectThe Absent Centre of Political Ontology by Slavoj Žižek

Intro: A Spectre is Haunting

Heideggerian proponent of the thought of Being who stresses the need to ‘traverse’ the horizon of modern subjectivity culminating in current ravaging nihilism.

Inherent excess, inherent logic philosophers of subjectivity articulate certain excessive moment of ‘madness’ inherent to cogito.

Abyss of freedom. Key dimension of the imagination is disruptive.

Proliferation multiple forms of subjectivity.

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Slavoj Žižek & Jela Krečič Modes of Abjection

Ugly, Creepy, Disgusting, and Other Modes of Abjection by Jela Krečič & Slavoj Žižek

Ugly as an aesthetic category. Gradual abandonment Unity. Das negativschone, negatively beautiful —

Sublime and the ridiculous, how one rubs up against other —

Overwhelming ugly becomes monstrous, can no longer be sublated into sublime –

Definitions of monstrous – as a badge of ?

when sublime generates excruciation which due to its intensity provides negative stimulus, disruption, disunity, nightmare, much like theatre, like entertainment, only its nebulousness and carnality are interior – not extraneous

charms, emotions, direct impact on health – illness over what life is and what it represents – illness as a line of separation, that presents itself as a defiant metamorphical indivinity, from the doldrums, repetition, impoverishment, heartbreak. songs of threnody emerge from banality like a dangling noose hungry for freedom

vicious cycle unnatural excess unnatural savagery seen as outside of useful

savagery has been called, attachment to a particular choice so suspends rational comparison with possible choices, thrall of passion, passio animi

passion seen as morally reprehensible,

on inclination to freedom as passion

abject, and the disgusting – desperately try to resist being dragged into it.

objects of disgust threaten corporeity

DESTABILIZES line that separates the inside of our body from its outside. Border that separates gets violated!! Inside penetrates out.

Blood – becomes sweet again, takes on nature of ailing heart of god traveling through pain and horror of being mortal. Writhe seeing through time as if in a time beyond time its wretched repetitious onslaught, ugly, constant, inescapable, belabored, searching for beauty finding a blanket of horror.

Horror itself becomes mark of virtue.

violating inside outside frontier

Story Titles: Luminence Flux, Degrees of Freedom, Duck Quacks Loudest Gets Shot