Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who Are You?

Kiss & Tell Alain de Botton - a novel with an index. A novel about writing. A novel about who we all are.
"In dwelling on the actions of those we can never share drinks with, biographies shield us from our universal involvement, explicit or not, in biographical projects. Every acquaintance requires us to understand a life, a process in which the conventions of biography play a priviledged role. Its narrative traditions govern the course of the stoies we may tell ourselves about those we meet, it shapes our perceptions of their ancedotes..."
The narrator decides that he will write the biography of the next person to walk into his life, a woman who he dates as he learns all about her.
We communicate in (Anita) Brooknerish sentences and not Joycean ones - package our thoughts into a statement that makes sense, ignoring the mental babble and digression that is really in our heads.
One of the subjects he covers is secrets - those things we think the world will disapprove of.
"In this sense, the tendency of others to spill secrets may stem less from cruelty than from an ability, as an outsider, to recognize that what is deemed private in fact belongs to the province - far wider than the narrow strip the secret-holder imagines - of the normal."
I certainly find that I keep secrets that others would not and am also willing to talk about other subjects freely that friends might keep close to their hearts. And certainly, I've been guilty of the sulker's fantasy, usually to the detriment of my relationships with others.
The sulker's fantasy is to be understood without needing to speak, metaphorize or explain, because words embody a defeat of a prior and more intimate level of communication.

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