Metafiction

A non-negligible number of books I’ve read of late have shared a common conceit: a chapter that holds the key to unlock the mystery of the whole. Granted, a climax or conclusion is pretty standard fair in any standard text, but that’s not what I’ve been reading. In ‘Camera Lucida,’ we have the clean break along the middle of the spine; in ‘Devil House,’ a whole number of a-ha moments, but only one chapter that literally fractured the narrative (read: act of narrating) in faux-Fraktur; in ‘Immortality,’ it’s part 6. Kundera tells us ahead of time what he’s going to … Continue reading “Metafiction”

47

“Photography has two antithetical ideals: in the first, #photography is about the world and the photographer is a mere observer who counts for little; but in the second, photography is the instrument of intrepid, questing subjectivity and the photographer is all.” (Susan Sontag) X “You can grieve for what you are grateful.” I was out of town when @jacquelineviola’s last installment of the (inconceivable and unbelievably absurd) times landed in my mailbox, so when I opened the carefully wrapped package this morning, I was more than a little surprised to see a sentence that so directly spoke to my mood while away. Wistful, … Continue reading “47”

A Facebook Post About Love

In two days, I’ll be taking a bus to Redmond to cast my diasporic vote in the Lebanese elections. I won’t be doing this because I believe that there will be a direct correlation between casting my vote and seeing any change in my lifetime; I’ll be taking that bus to cast that vote because I love my friends and family and when you love, you do things like that. You show up, you participate, you chip in. I’m grateful to be able to ride that bus to Redmond; I’m grateful that I can ride a bus to pretty much … Continue reading “A Facebook Post About Love”

What is it?

Brown, blue, violet sky—it’s funny how tiktok trends rehash and recycle artifacts that don’t quite feel very retro, though, they must be, alas. The world doesn’t really accelerate; we just get older a lot faster every day. And so, when that kinda thing is annoying, it’s really annoying, but when it’s not, it can be prophetic, like a planetary return, or a shift in the seasons, or a long-gone friendship reborn. I used to repeat that old lyric by that half-Lebanese crooner, who, at one point, provided folks with a global reference point, like tabbouli or hummus, to place me … Continue reading “What is it?”

The Meaning of Six Six Six

And what spot does X mark? X is you and I, the coming together of diagonals—an intersection and ideal symbol for the very search for meaning. X can mean the unknown variable or the buried loot at the center of a treasure map; X is both a placeholder and a destination—a deliberate holding pattern, or, perhaps, a refusal to land on familiar terms. In our cultural consciousness, we have Generation X, The X-Files, and Malcom X. Let your eyes shift back & forth between these correspondences. Contemplate their polarities—if strange patterns emerge, what you are now experiencing is what Umberto … Continue reading “The Meaning of Six Six Six”

The Meaning of 1, 2, 3

Knowing thyself can serve a practical purpose as well; it’s a shorthand that short-circuits the rookie writer’s evergreen anxiety: how to tell a story that is not a long series of introductions introducing more introductions. I-dentity draws the “I”—a line in the sand—and brings the point to focus. I am traveling with another; this is my story. And yet, as with all quick-fixes, identity begs more questions than it answers. Where exactly is the starting line? At a recent staff retreat, I came ill-prepared to a team-building session with a scrapbook as my story-prompt that I planned to turn into … Continue reading “The Meaning of 1, 2, 3”

INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT

I want to tell you about a little project called @INCONJUNCT. But first, a few words about “inconjunction,” a technical term from astrology that’s neither “conjunction” nor “opposition.” It might not even be anything at all as, indeed, it wasn’t for ancient writers like Ptolemy who called it a “non-relationship.” To understand the concept, you may want to hold in your mind a certain metaphysic of cosmic influence—as above, so below, etc—but even that is not entirely necessary; you may choose to follow the symbolic geometry instead: “Dividing a circle into two parts creates a diameter and two points on a circumference separated … Continue reading “INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT”

All-In-One

Today, the Full Moon is in Pisces and I’m thinking about how not that many lunations ago, I would not have known nor cared about what that signified. I’m less concerned with what this time might mean for me and more in awe with how a couple of conversations could cascade into a whole new comportment towards vast webs of signification—stimulating ideas, for sure, but also, whole communities of practice. I’ve stumbled onto a wholly foreign shore and have realized that millions of people have been here all along. It really doesn’t matter what I end up getting out of … Continue reading “All-In-One”

And He Was Amazed

The story of Jesus of Nazareth in Nazareth is layered and maybe a little unsettling, but it’s not wholly unrelatable, especially in a city like Seattle; nearly everyone I know here has a complicated relationship with some place they call “back home.”  Years ago, I read a book that summed up the Nazarenes’ reaction to that carpenter kid next door returning all wisened up and doing “deeds of power” with three simple words: “familiarity breeds contempt.” That’s probably the only thing I remember about that book because it seemed to unlock the secrets behind all sorts of mysterious behavior around me–the paradox of being … Continue reading “And He Was Amazed”

Keffiyeh Day, 2021

“To insist on the universal dimension of a Palestinian grammar of suffering is to resist the containment of the Palestinian question to a regional dispute…” (Zahi Zalloua) Today is #KeffiyehDay, and I’ve been thinking about that quote since I saw it on Twitter last week: “The Palestinian question touches all of us…to the extent that we are all compelled to imagine & invent the conditions for justice and equality in our contemporary global world.” Matt Flisfeder, who shared the quote, closed out his thread with this: “And, I would add that it is the same for the persistence of antisemitism and … Continue reading “Keffiyeh Day, 2021”