Spontaneous Poetics – 74 (Deep Stenography)

AG: Well, I still want to get back to where we started which was, what’s your phenomenology of mind? What’s the phenomenon of what we call consciousness? or what we call language? How does it arrive to you? and what’s the best way to notate that? Can you be a good secretary of yourself? Can you be a good stenographer? (And the difficulty there is between superficial stenography and deep stenography, in discerning what’s actually going on, and not accepting some of the trash that’s thrown up to the social brain. There’s a social brain while writing, and then there’s the private brain. And it’s really trying to get what’s in your private brain rather than your social brain, if I can put it that way. So there’s enormous art involved there. So the art of, say, spontaneous stenography of the mind involves mindful discernment of what’s really going on, and allowing it to happen, rather than packaging it somewhat in poetic style, intervening before the thought gets put on the page, changing it slightly to make it a little bit more smooth (which is what I find is the biggest tendency in my own self, in my own writing – pre-digesting the thought in the instant before I get it on the page, and re-arranging the syntax a little – If I see, doing a sketch, looking at a mail-box on a house-front, maybe I’ll think, “this isn’t good, I’ll have to get the street and the cars in there first, then we’ll get the mailbox” – just for some prejudice – thinking the reader won’t understand).

 Or there’s the problem of (self) censorship – that much of our thoughts are dirty, or just thoughts, or ego-protective speculations on “what would he do if he knew that I knew this”, and you don’t want to write that down anyway. Or, “what would she do if he knew that I was fucking his wife?”. So you wouldn’t want to write that down. Or, “what would the public, what would anybody, think, if they knew that I thought about my navel”?  So you don’t write about your navel, when you had a brilliant thought about the lint in your navel, snot up your nose, and thoughts in your head, and dirty asses – a variety of poetry that John Clellon Holmes pinned on Gregory Corso, when Corso was a young snotty kid, saying, “He writes green arm-pit poetry” (which is a whole genre – “green arm-pit poetry” – there’s always a whole variety of Beatnik “green arm-pit poetry”, compounded of resentment and self-consciousness), But resentment and self-consciousness is not the entire contents of anybody’s mind, however, no matter how goofy and weird they are, because there’s a deeper level going on of just impersonal or ordinary noticing of detail. So it’s that level of benevolent impersonal… the ideal would be benevolent indifferent attentive..  benevolent indifferent attention to the contents of your mind.

It’s 8.15. I’ll continue with this next session. We’ll go on to maybe explore this a little more. If anybody has any thoughts about it, bring (them) in. And then we”ll go on to typographical topography, that is to say, the arrangement of the typography on the page is another consideration in the measurement of the lines on the page.

[tape and class ends here – to be continued..]

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