——When I started playing into simple conversational modes (simpler by far than it takes to express this), on those paltry subjects always in the air, and made myself appear to be a regular guy, a person full of variable opinions, it was as if I thought there was always someone else in the room, standing with reserve, aside, watching, capable of seeing my behavior as a necessary, and highly moral concession. I was making a concession of my better nature, for the sake of infiltrating social situations where, in due course, my presence would work invisible miracles. Transforming sympathies on the spot, or later . . .  Later would find us, poring over the results. How heroic! And also how questionable, even how twisted, is this? For, of course these transformations did not happen–that I could see, but the conversations only became more intensely focused on their subjects, sports-talk, or opinion-politics, nicely and predictably degrading, right in my presence.  And further, for my special reward, the thought was granted, revealed to me perhaps by just that listening better nature, that among the people I was now talking to, not a one had any cognizance of my previous incarnations. Royal humor here, but I do not complain, nor do I suffer too greatly the history of these delusional incursions into . . . workaday reality.  My estate is large, and I have always experimented with defiant withdrawal, the idea is always there: retreat from the others’ honking, from their confabulated society. I am always testing it, to see what happens when I don’t ring anyone up, or barge into their houses, start any project, provoke any detour in conversation even, but just play dumb, and at the most encourage them to keeping walking in circles. As they will! Essentially, I feel that when I am not stirring things up, I am snubbing everyone. How’s that!  It is never my role to just add to a consensus. For I am different, explicitly of a different nature, it is obvious to me, for I am always in peril of my very soul.  Can the others say that? I feel I am broadcasting, wearing it on my face, that it is obvious in my tone of voice, and the dismissive gestures that I make before I even know how to stop–that I am exasperated.  Exasperated, say, let’s say, with a lack of cooperation. And yet, if I protest, all I will get is questions. Peculiar looks and defiant behavior from those whom I most intend to protect. Why I am riding the edge, trying your patience, should be clear to you by now, I say.  Exasperated with what, will you say? How dare I speak of what is wrong? Did I say anything was wrong? Missing, maybe, but let me show you this fortress  . . .   Come to fetch me, a crowd of considerations are driving me deeper into irony and bitterness–they will honk. Ah, but I no longer convey any true information about myself, but act as if I am not able to say anything about any current divinations, or projects.. I have had to go outside my usual recruiting sources, do some finagling to get any semblance of players, and use my imagination, dearly, to get a playing field at all. Being so utterly out of luck. But I am chipper, in the main, and go on about my apparent routine, seeming to perfect a spiritual isolation, like a man going around his estate at night, checking to make sure all the gates are locked. A most stealthy transition is made in the course of a text that begins with the stating of an abstract distinction, and moves to the building of a setting, by the suggestions for that setting within the language used in the distinction. Unobtrusive, common metaphors take over the reader’s interest, rather than the distinction being made, and draw the author himself into imagining that his arguments are taking place somewhere close by.

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