“anxiety or people?”: more notes on handke’s the weight of the world
In spending the morning folding shirts, rolling up socks, cutting my nails, bathing and showering, sipping tea from time to time on the balcony, I succeeded for the first time in conceiving of such activity as a possible way of life (for a while)
Must admit that reading Handke’s The Weight of the World is interfering with my getting back to blogging. It feels now that the blog should be something like this, but on the other hand, what an impossible act of solipsism that would be. I’ve been looking around for more information about the composition of this book, and finding not very much (may have to brush off my deutsch if really want to find anything out), but it postures oddly between a personal journal that was subsequently published and a text that was written for publication from the first. Seems to me that this is an important question, both in terms of understanding the book itself and making sense of what it means to me, what it’s urging me to do.
Which is worse: anxiety or people?
What’s even better about it is that the question of the text’s, well, compositional sociality mirrors one of the driving thematic concerns of the work – the impossible and daily choice between being with others (and all of the disappointments and deflations that come of that) or solitude (and the anxiety that comes of that). The text wobbles between narrative and communication on the one hand and the involution of the lyrical mode, just as the writer can’t quite decide whether it’s best just to be by himself or to be other people.
The trouble with great literature is that any asshole can identify with it.
It’s twittery, isn’t it? I can’t bring myself to use that service – why isn’t a blog enough anymore? But more importantly, Handke’s making me think about the politics and aesthetics of identification and estrangement again, which is something. If only I didn’t have to work on the Fucking Book again today.