letters

letters

or,

a version of the previous post from the minor angle, the less outspoken, to be whispered, by the whisperer

or, a quick view into my writing processes and how sometimes i build a text,

from notes written on scraps of paper and on notes on an iphone then lost and recalled in a lopsided way

longing for, attempting at a writing lost at sea

like bas jan ader in search of the miraculous lost toward the horizon of an ocean

and again i encounter borders of my self

and again I think of the horizon in melville’s late short story daniel orme, daniel the sailor landlocked and looking at the horizon

daniel orme

daniel, or me?

daniel a  letter lost

and always a letter gained, in this country people often spell my name as daniella, i gain one L, a letter lost a letter gained, an A and an L
which amuses me, first because it makes my name sound a bit like a joke, where ella in the name rhymes comically with ella in the surname, the double L in italian drastically accelerates the way you pronounce a word, whereas the pace in ela is much slower and opens all up backwards toward the e
and secondly it amuses me because it makes me think, ah, L is listening, there you go, the gift you get from this added L to your name really wants you to find some meaning in it, a bit like that famous bullet with one’s name written on it, L is the bullet with the surplus of my name written on it and is bound to strike me.

so let’s go back to that book from the 24 july post, and the letters in it and here I have found my beginning and my L:

 

(This is to be read aloud)
. . .

A lead-coloured blanket crept up toward the edges of the sky and darkened it with restless flickers of anthracite shading. It then gradually thinned down and shaped itself into a word, I could read each letter one by one, emblazoned in capital letters the word was 
 L I S T E N 
and the letter type was exactly the same one that appears in the poster of Max Neuhaus’ renowned performance from 1976. In my sound-art nightmare, one by one the letters began to peel off the sky and to fall on the ground, some of them denting the soil, others caught in tree branches, or cracking roofs, others splashing in the river, others shot off like silver bullets ready to peel off my ears. Some of them looked like they were ducking off edges to disappear. Others were big and still darkening even in their decay. I followed them one by one:

L , I , S , T , E , N .

L sounds the Italian word lontano, away, far away, L is away, listen and listening, lontanando, L landslides loops loiters laps lingers . . . . . and at last L leaks through the window of a library and lands, alphabetically observant, on an open book by Leopardi, Giacomo Leopardi the Italian Romantic poet who once wrote a poem looking at a hedge on a solitary hill and listening to the wind rustling through leaves and meditating on the passing of time, and infinite silence. L the letter lands on the page and sticks onto the first letter of another poem there, L as in La, in Italian it’s the musical note A, the note you use to tune an instrument, a beginning, and La is an article as in the, La, La sera del dì di festa, The Evening of the Holiday. 
I look at some verses from the poem: E fieramente mi si stringe il core, a pensar come tutto al mondo passa, e quasi orma non lascia. And it grips my heart fiercely, to think how all in the world passes, and nearly leaves no trace.
I want to linger on that quasi, nearly: All in the world passes, and nearly leaves no trace. Nearly. And yet, a trace it leaves in its passing, this everything. The same heartache the poet got at the thought of things passing in the world, arises as he recalls hearing the echo of a song, lontanando, as it dies little by little, crushing his heart. Un canto lontanando morire a poco a poco / già similmente mi stringeva il core.
Like Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s fictional Edison in his late nineteenth-century fiction Tomorrow’s Eve, who wondered what happened to the sounds he could not record before he invented the phonograph, Leopardi wonders about the cries of his ancestors, remote lost sounds of conflict and war. In the night of the holiday all is peace and silence, the world is resting, and so are sounds except for those of memory. The L in listening is away, lontano, it prompts memories from afar. How far back, in time?

 

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