- Naught-o-Naut, In and Out of the Blue
Nicely knotted; notable nots; interstices—lots, empty as apt: diligent ellipses.
She makes good spaces (absents actively), but the lacunae are more than negative shunts, more than arch ways of getting from here to there. Her mysteries, languors, her withheld breaths are dramatic and gorgeous—phenomenal nothings that charge direct experiences. In her scripts, the un-shown is rich in its own right . . . Watching a character wait, listening with characters for what they don’t yet hear, quark out dramatic instances for which conventional vocabularies are inadequate, and even unnecessary. Her ghosts and demons, oppressions and graces, are known by what they follow and effect.
Rage and desire do not get the best of her. Politics evade reduction into proscriptive agenda; her leanings (tilts challenging balance) respect the mysteries of gravity. She suggests ways to tend that don’t proceed laterally from conscious will, but constitute as a tangle of personal forces (strong in their immediacy and weak in their extent) and massive, natural forces (weak or slippery or invisible from a personal point of view, and as essentially limitless as destiny). The co-operation the earth requires of us centers attention in The Skriker. Mad Forest underscores our need to maintain an active solidarity based on compassion (against a solidity based on compression). Light Shining . . . warns us away from accepting utopia as a goal rather than as a means of perpetually falling-forward; the sense of utopia is better used as goad to the perpetual reinvention of language en route to manifesto. Utopia is not the fruit of manifesto, but is in the dark growth of the seed that will give rise to it—in the ecology of ideas rather than in the reaping.
She deals with what language does as it germs expression, down in the deep part of loamy becoming. She’s a sensitive reader of the signs of the time, and she could create a hubbub by staging the various crises we face—especially the violence—as entertaining disasters on parade. Violence, redress, revenge, and sentences (diagram-able, and as in jurisprudence), are symptoms that approach [End Page 37] and imply more difficult and profound responsibilities: namely, faith in each other, in our woundedness and incompleteness.
When we act out of appetite (attachment, greed, anger) we set up a clanging. We knock against one another and promote a commerce of appetites (a pursuit of the objects of desire in preference to a clarification of desire; we get, and getting rid of vs. gifting and receiving). This noise upsets the essential song, and the earth, or time, or courtesy change, distort, and sound-back with massive counter-force. The earth et al. shudder up the devastating frequencies of real, unrestrained, cosmic greed, or real haste, or real indifference . . . This warp may be a corrective, to bring us back into harmony with ourselves and our guiding forces, but that’s an optimistic reading. Churchill’s voice is less optimistic than prophetic and mystical: she sounds the alarm (and a bell is a beautifully simple instrument: a determined tongue swung through space, evoking strings of sound on the basis of pointed strikes) that we are on our way to God (or equivalent) knows where.
Various arts are said to be dying when they attempt to escape control of a particular class (class as cultural control sanctioned by economics and often marked by myths of race and nation). But at least in the contemporary case it is the classes that are dying, and that’s why there’s such yowling in the marketplace. The poor and the rich are sharply split, but language is evading control, and the ability of any class to describe itself is unstable—it is an era of opportunity for rapid, massive reorganizations, then.
Churchill’s writing is prophetic because it is about the rupture of systems, lending vitality to the de- and reconstruction of the systems, without tipping over into newly dressed, old ideas.
Language finds a limit at the problem of fairness. Society is too diverse to harmonize needs, in the spirit of averaging them out. Leaps of faith are required. I...