One day I went to the Natural History Museum. This was after having met for lunch with an analyst here to discuss our work, analysis, or, as I’d said in my email, anything! The presence of the concept of analysis itself, and all its coordinated attachments, is so important to me and offers so much, I had what felt like the pure spirit of wandering. [I throw a log on the Hegel fire and hope it will actually burn.] So, I wandered into the National History Museum, which was flooded with children, school groups, etc. I asked a volunteer, if she had to recommend one thing to see, what would it be. I am a geologist, she said, so I think you should go into that room. It is also much quieter there, she said, and no one here, on the first floor, is really looking at anything. There you can take your time and I think that would be a nice memory to take away.
I could have found myself anywhere.
I liked this idea of quiet and I would have never thought to go see the rocks, but I was so taken by their look and their descriptions. I looked for a list–I wanted there to be a list of all the descriptions of all the rocks. But if there had been, what, exactly, would I have done with it?
Are we talking about finding yourself anywhere, or finding yourself anywhere? This is a move that Derrida makes any number of times, but he makes it in particular in Glas.
I have picked up Glas for the first time since the seminar ended. I find the part that I’m thinking of:
Ideality is death, to be sure, but to be dead–this is the whole question of dissemination–is that to be dead or to be dead? (133)
[Emphasis on to be or emphasis on dead ?]
Some sentences later: When one says “death is,” one says “death is denied”; death is not insofar as one posits it.
[To the far right, in the front, wearing a red wrist band, sits a sweet Hegelian; in the center, a smiling writer on Derrida and Agamben; in the back, a not necessarily a Hegelian in yellow: we are on our way to Dalston for the most delicious meal that I’ve had in London, Turkish food.]
I saw King Lear at the National Theater on Monday and it was raining right before the show. It rains a lot here, little spurts, and I was safe under the awning and this woman was working something out with her umbrella. It had *not* flipped open on its own. It was she who had flipped it open in order to repair it. King Lear was amazing and exciting to me, although it was difficult to understand. I mean, speech! It’s tough to decipher. In a letter I wrote I recounted the consequences of the tyranny of love. My King Lear take-away.
The rocks at the Natural History Museum:
steep white scalenohedra
Cave-in-Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois
crystal showing “ghost”; with
chalcopyrite and blende
This is to say nothing of my visit to the Freud Museum yesterday, on my 33rd birthday, and someone told me that, speaking of pilgrimages, people cry when they see the couch. I *did* cry, but it was in thinking of the commitment to listening, that he listened 12 hours in one day some times. I also have not mentioned my incredibly lovely time with the poet and delight, Francesca Lisette, and the urgency and care with which she suggested I drink a hard shake for my birthday. So I had a “Brandy Alexander” which was vanilla and chocolate ice cream, nutella, and Brandy.
Someone quite (the British use “quite” quite a lot and it’s absolutely infecting my speech. This is the nature of speech, I realize. It is always being transmitted and it is impossible to shake off and this is both exciting and scary, depending), someone quite surprising, who was always saying surprising things, making a turn in the conversation that changed the affect and urgency of the questions, something I often aim to do in discussions, enters a room with two fingers raised like she aims to say, “I come in peace.” Each time I see this I want to double-check. “So, you come in peace?” And they reply, “I come in pieces.” I find this delightful and terrifying. I hate to pit delight and terror against one another, but the longer I am in London and am thinking, the more I think they are in the same ring, duking it out.
I had the extraordinary pleasure of attending a reading/ talk by Adam Phillips on July 1st with another new friend, a painter who builds the paint slowly and saw the colors of these chairs in a careful way. Phillips read from his biography of Freud, Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst, which is also to say the making of the psychoanalyst. [The picture above is of Phillips wedged between heads.] The first bit was all about Freud’s ambivalence about biographers. I said that psychoanalysis seems to me to be about figuring out how to tell stories about yourself that you can live with and in that sense, it is entirely autobiography. I kind of asked and answered what the difference is between biography and autobiography for Freud. And it’s the “auto.” What Freud disliked, or found entirely suspect, was the idea of someone telling someone else’s life. Phillips said yes, that’s pretty much it. The analyst doesn’t tell a story about your life that you haven’t already told.
There are still lots of pictures of people and buildings and stories to tell. I am here for another week and then off to Bologna for a few days.
[And I’ve finally decided to release us all from the ancient aesthetics of this blog.]