“you and I are on the other side of almost everything” (pellucid)

a thought that perhaps speaks to the essence of romance. isn’t that what the feeling is with another person, that conviction of making another world, un monde à part, not just separate from “almost everything” but in some sense actually against it? and isn’t that in part what becomes so addictive about being with the other person? here i’m paraphrasing the backcover blurb of a little novel by kundera called l’identité (written originally in french but readily disponible in english). much of it is a meditation on the nature of couples, of what we seek in joining them and what is thereby gained and, perhaps, lost. I read it a couple of months ago – the prose is typically spare and limpid – and find my thoughts often returning to it. kundera is lucid, life rendered pellucid* (to deploy our WordOfTheDay).

dears.jpg I was put in mind of kundera by that thought, “you and I are on the other side of almost everything”, which is actually a song lyric I heard performed last night by the dears (though it could be “on the outside of almost everything”. I’m awaiting clarification, but “truth is subjectivity” to invoke the lonely daneofmanynames so I’ll go with my ears.) hadn’t seen them in a while nor indeed any live music in a proper concert setting for some time. a really wonderful show – sound, lights, ride cymbal, hearts-on-sleeves, the whole thing – for which I wanted to thank them. it’s always good to be reminded what humans can do when they get together.

(a sidebar thought on kundera: for anyone with some intermediate manoeuvres looking to work on their french reading chops, kundera novels are a great place to start; plus he now writes in french and personally revised the french translations of his earlier novels. he’s almost minimalist in his prose; short, polished sentences. you’ll have to start by looking up a bunch of words but then find they keep recurring. also the chapters are short and the pages go by quickly. important to have that feeling of accomplishment. l’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. you have to admit it does sound even better in french.)

*from the OED: pellucid, 1. Transmitting or allowing the passage of light; translucent, transparent.

(entry composed and posted with breakfast # 2 en plein air in bryant park in the midst of the preening madness of fashion week. I think I was offered about 6 copies of the times style magazine as I tried to navigate the well-calved crowds. inside the park, by the carrousel, the bust of goethe looks on impassively. I’m tempted to write stoically. the sorrows of aged johann.)

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2 Responses to ““you and I are on the other side of almost everything” (pellucid)”

  1. remotedevice Says:

    a good percentage of godard’s 60s films explore the “you and i are on the outside of almost everything” idea in his typically cheeky manner. i love rewatching those movies — a bout de souffle, band a part, pierrot le fou, even alphaville. in these films, godard casts love as rebellion, coupleship as revolt. and it’s interesting to note that while godard started with this romantic thesis, by the time of pierrot le fou or week-end, he had passed through the “that which is gained” idea into the “that which is lost.” his couples ceased to stand against the world and began to stand against each other, tearing apart their sanity (pierrot – the title character literally blows up his head at the end), individuality (week-end – one half of the couple is literally consumed by the other), and morality (made in USA – a woman’s search for her missing husband mixes her up with gun runners and terrorists). utterly different meditations, i would assume, from kundera, but highly recommended for parkside reveries on romantic entanglement.

  2. didactique Says:

    more revering right now of the shadowy deus ex machina of remotedevice than lounging in further reveries. loss of sanity, individuality, and/or morality. try to be sure before you start…

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