Artist's commonplace book
“It seems that I was always destined to be deeply concerned with vultures, for I recall as one of my earliest memories, that while I was in my cradle, a vulture came down to me, opened my mouth with his tail and struck me many times with it's tail against my lips.” [link]
Sex and death
Just as trees bear their fruit before winter, just as bamboo grass produces it's seed before it withers, sex is simply a struggle with death on a human level. Thus, an erotic impulse without a definite object can be said to be the hope of a man on the verge of death for human recovery. The proof of this is that erotism flourishes amongst soldiers. An increase in the number of erotics among townspeople is an indication that in the cities, and in the nation itself, there will be a greater number of deaths. [link]
Animals who procreate, die. Their relatively short life span is somehow connected to with their procreation. Nature conquers death not by creating eternal organisms but by making it possible for ephemeral ones to procreate. Evolutionarily this seems to have made it possible for really complex organisms to emerge in the place of simple---and almost literally eternal---self-dividing ones... But now the rub for man. If sex is a fulfilled of his role as an animal in the species, it reminds him that he is nothing himself but a link in the chain of being, exchangeable with any other and completely expendable himself. Sex represents, then, species conscious and, as such the defeat of individuality, of personality. [link]
All throughout his childhood he had been very fond of playing parts in front of a mirror. Now in front of the mirror he continued to play parts, but in this one special instance he allowed himself to become absorbed in the part he played (to be spontaneous). This he felt was his undoing. The parts he played in front of the mirror were always woman's parts. He dressed himself up in his mothers clothes, which had been kept. He rehearsed female parts from the great tragedies. But then he found that he could not stop playing the part of a woman. He caught himself compulsively walking like a woman, talking like a woman, even seeing and thinking as a woman might see and think. [link]
James told of how, when walking on a summer evening in the park alone, watching couples make love, he suddenly began to feel a tremendous oneness with the whole world, with the sky and trees and flowers and grass - with the lovers too. He ran home in a panic and immersed himself in his books. He told himself he had no right to this experience, but more than that he was terrified at the threatened loss of identity in this merging and fusion of his self with the whole world.
'I forgot myself at the Ice Carnival the other night. I was so absorbed in looking at it that I forgot what time it was and who and where I was. When I suddenly realized I hadn't been thinking about myself I was frightened to death. The unreality feeling came. I must never forget myself for a single minute. I watch the clock and keep busy, or else I won't know who I am.'
I peered into the mirror. A man I did not know looked coolly back at me. Indeed not the slightest detail would make one think that it is me. The colour, the lustre, the feeling were all successful - a perfect disguise. Yet, what in heaven's name was this emptiness? Perhaps it was the fault of the mirror - the lighting seemed somewhat unnatural - at once I opened the shutters and let in the daylight.
On seeing and being seen...
“In seeing there is love, in being seen there is abhorrence. One grins, trying to bear the pain of being seen. But not just anyone can be someone who only looks. If the one who is looked at looks back, then the person who was looking becomes the one who is looked at.”
During the luckless 1980 season, season-ticket-holding fans of the New Orleans Saints football team began to appear at the stadium wearing paper bags to conceal their faces. As their team suffered loss after loss, more and more fans donned the bags until TV cameras were regularly able to record the extraordinary image of gathered masses of people shrouded in brown paper with nothing to identify them but the tips of their noses.
A distant dream village enshrouded by mist - a settlement that seemed lost among the trees, where I remember spending several days. But precisely because a picture frame was attached to it, it seemed a landscape, and because I was convinced it was a landscape, it became transparent.
If the frame was removed, the mist would be quite ordinary.