Saturday, August 6, 2011

blog game experiment 2 (materials): On Thought Diving and its Many Uses

I wrote the following in January (original post HERE):

"An idea: a type of guest post where I send someone a topic and some (electronic) "materials" (excerpts, quotes, pictures, links), and the recipient is then challenged to turn it all into a post. Personal writing and thoughts, outside quotes/excerpts/photos/writing, or anything else, is allowed. The only rule is that everything I send must be used. The final result would be posted in a way that would alert the reader as to which specific things were supplied by me.

If anyone thinks this sounds like a fun idea, feel free to volunteer or ask questions (email me or post a comment). I can reveal the subject (or provide a few hints) if no one wants to go in completely blind. The basic idea would probably be even more fruitful with more than one participant (the results could be posted side by side), but just one would be great.

Another way of playing: sending materials without providing a topic.


The second volunteer has recently submitted their contribution! Click HERE to see the result.

Since some of the materials were presented in an "either or" fashion, I decided it would be best to give readers access to what the participant was given.

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Your TOPIC: Thought-divers; deep divers; divers (or any and all variation(s) thereof).


"Nay, I do not oscillate in X’s rainbow, but prefer rather to hang myself in mine own halter than swing in any other man’s swing. Yet I think X is more than a brilliant fellow. Be his stuff begged, borrowed, or stolen, or of his own domestic manufacture he is an uncommon man. Swear he is a humbug — then is he no common humbug. Lay it down that had not Sir Thomas Browne lived, X would not have mystified — I will answer, that had not Old Zack’s father begot him, old Zack would never have been the hero of Palo Alto. The truth is that we are all sons, grandsons, or nephews or great-nephews of those who go before us. No one is his own sire. — I was very agreeably disappointed in Mr X. I had heard of him as full of transcendentalisms, myths & oracular gibberish; I had only glanced at a book of his once in Putnam’s store — that was all I knew of him, till I heard him lecture. — To my surprise, I found him quite intelligible, tho’ to say truth, they told me that that night he was unusually plain. — Now, there is a something about every man elevated above mediocrity, which is, for the most part, instinctuly perceptible. This I see in Mr X. And, frankly, for the sake of the argument, let us call him a fool; — then had I rather be a fool than a wise man. — I love all men who dive. Any fish can swim near the surface, but it takes a great whale to go down stairs five miles or more; & if he don’t attain the bottom, why, all the lead in Galena can’t fashion the plumet that will. I’m not talking of Mr X now — but of the whole corps of thought-divers, that have been diving & coming up again with bloodshot eyes since the world began.

I could readily see in X, notwithstanding his merit, a gaping flaw. It was, the insinuation, that had he lived in those days when the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions. These men are all cracked right across the brow. And never will the pullers-down be able to cope with the builders-up. And this pulling down is easy enough — a keg of powder blew up Block’s Monument — but the man who applied the match, could not, alone, build such a pile to save his soul from the shark-maw of the Devil. But enough of this Plato who talks thro’ his nose."

--Melville's Letter to Evert Duyckinck, March 3 1849. ("X" is Emerson. You may keep it more general (with X), or reinsert Emerson.) The part in bold is what you MUST USE, but feel free to use all (or any selection) of it - so long as the bold text is used completely.


In English (I suggest the Millay Dillon translation, but you can use any, or collage them. If you can't find the Millay/Dillon for either of the following poems online, let me know.)

Something from Baudelaire's poem The Albatross


Something from his poem Le Voyage / Travel.

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At least one sentence from Bolano's The Savage Detectives


At least one sentence from Camus' The Rebel.

(In this case it is not prohibited to use both, but it is strictly prohibited to use something from both Baudelaire poems.)

* * *


You may not excerpt anything found on Wikipedia (as far as you know, obviously).

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PICTURES (resize at will):

A photograph of Melville of your choosing.

REQUIRED photos from attachments: x; x3; x4




At least one (both not required): x6; x7



At least one: x9; x10



At least one: x2; x5; x8; x11





I've kept the information/names of the photos unknown to you so they work more purely as images (I think all of them speak for themselves).

Hopefully I haven't selected too many pictures, but I went with them in favor of text...