Saturday, March 01, 2008

Distance, or the measure of desire

Robert's progress on the biotin is still a bit hard to gauge.  We've gone down by another half milliliter on the sertraline--this last Thursday evening, so only two nights have gone by--and he seems somewhat better.  Not as stiff, rotating his shoulder in its socket a bit as he raises and rolls his arm around.  

I feel absolutely focused on minutia.  The smallest details of his movements are interesting to me, and I try to watch with a dispassionate eye.  But how long can you hold your child at a distance?  I'd like to write about him a bit--not just in the blog, but creatively, yet that means holding him at a distance to some extent.  Does distance make for good writing, is that really true?

I was thinking about the metaphor issue, thinking about the obvious counter to my remarks a week or so ago--that metaphor is a result of creating distance between two things.  Let there be space between them.  Isn't there a Robert Hass poem with a line something like, "Desire is all about distance"?  

It's difficult to discuss metaphor, the substitution of one thing for another, with the terms I used earlier, tenor and vehicle.  I'm not certain that metaphors or figures generally always divide so neatly on those lines: what the figure means and what carries it.  Metaphor is a process of looking back and forth between two things very quickly, such that the two blur into one, a thing distinct from its previous categories.

I guess I could say that Robert exists for me in two parts, two categories: Robert before all this and Robert now.  I see him not as he is and not as he was, but as some blur between those two categories.  To get too close is to blur into him, to stand back too far is to detach entirely.  Distance or appropriate measure?

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