"For what is most central is the exploration of 'being' to which the text devotes itself, asking the question what remains when everything superfluous is taken away." (Knowlson on Comment C'est)
I found Beckett through his letters. I was reading a review of the first set and was challenged by his success in leaving English behind. I am always writing about leaving English behind and creating a speech community I can live with. I wrote down the quote from the review, about his linguistic history and success, and turned the page—thinking I would never look back. What did I want with Beckett? He was strange. He was Irish. He was someone I thought I had nothing in common with (save the drink).
I pressed on with my language work. Trying to devote 10 hours a week to learning and using Navajo words for everything. We cut all colonial languages out of the house: Spanish, English and French. That left Navajo and Sahnish. I still sounded like a four year old, on a good day. I went back to Ngugi and copied out his statement about leaving English behind and remembered the note on Beckett. I checked out his letters and couldn't follow a word.
Learning and using a language that was forbidden you is very different than learning a language.
I started reading Knowlson's biography, which lead me to the texts. I forgot about our differences and connected as humans—with a great deal in common (including the drink).
"Writing was for him, he said, a question of 'getting down below the surface' toward what he described as 'the authentic weakness of being.' This was associated with a strong sense of the inadequacy of words to explore the forms of being. 'Whatever was said is so far from the experience; If you really get down to the disaster, the slightest eloquence becomes unbearable.'" (Knowlson, Damned to Fame)
Beckett's world is closest to my own. My personal biography is a litany of disaster. Though I think of myself as trying to get above it, I know we (Beckett and I) are working at the same project.
Everyone has the definitive word on the man and his work, but very few dare to admit how loving a writer he was. Within each act and novel the love (not just compassion, but love) for every character is overwhelming. He does go below the surface—even of those who lie on the ground with their face in sod. He takes their position and writes.
He realizes the truth of humanity. He does not break himself into pieces. He bears the weight of life—willing to be whole—even when that whole is broken.
The slightest eloquence is unbearable, which may be why so few can sit with his words, face the action as he's choreographed it, and listen. Listen.
Beckett Reward: Karma Positive + Access to Kickstarter Exclusive Updates + Handwritten postcard thank you from author + E-copy of book + 4" x 6" Original art created from novel (Kickstarter Exclusive) + An exchange of 2 letters between you & visual artist, Niki Lee + An exchange of 5 letters between you & author + Interactive blog interview + Acknowledgement listed out with your name in the book. (All shapes the book takes over its life - your name will be on it) + Hand made artist book consisting of: Original art for cover, 1 piece original art for each chapter, & handwritten text selection from each chapter + Personal delivery of artist book & reading from book by author (travel not included).
Life or Honor: Life As Stranger closes on August 31. The nature and life of the project will be determined by this campaign. If you want to see where this goes, please back now. Rewards begin at $1, and are detailed here in the Red Room and on the Kickstarter site. If you have any questions, or feedback, I am available here, at Kickstarter and on my Facebook Author Page. Ahéhee'. Thank you.