Saturday, January 27, 2007

In the Shadow of Earthquakes

Your double-speak (and triple-same), I assure you, is as distressing to me as my silence is to you. The surplus of transmissions nearly overwhelms my recovering tongue as it strives to regain its footing. I endeaver to regain my composure and compose, in several parts, a missive that moves us forward as it recapitulates what is behind us. The mission, then, a quixotic one. One I perform in the shadow of earthquakes, as I shake myself. These tremors will kill me.

Orderliness is next to sane-li-ness, thus I proceed:

1.) in which Don Quixote re-dress-es his last letter:
My last letter was... strange, I know. But I would tell you that I mean it in earnest. I intend in all good faith to establish a field in my letters in which you may believe that what I expound is what I think, and what I relate is what I know. This zone of honesty, contained within the edges of the parchment on which I write may be a citadel at the heart of the otherwise aggressive sphere of the subjective that lays the seige against it. But those of us within its high austere walls will never surrender, and we will not cease to resist until we cannot lift our arms. This is the least honor my lord Truth deserves, and I would give him more if I were able.
Within the walls of this castle, on the lines of these pages you will receive from me, all will be as it seems, whether it bring me fame or infamy.

In any event, it should be much more the former than the latter, because destiny takes me onward along the course paved by other brave knights errant, and it leads only to glory. For it is our lot to right wrongs, defend the defenseless etc etc. And opportunities to make use of the skills I have been given by right of my rank are certainly not wanting in this world. I eagerly anticipate being able to send you fantastic news forthwith, perhaps even a little of it will be anticipated at the end of this letter with its many parts.

I know you doubt my method though you have faith in my conviction. I suppose time will distill which of our tacks is the better, though perhaps we should merely remember that each man must follow his own path, and while I momentarily tread down yours of late, I quickly became infirm, crippled, non-ambulatory, lost. The course to which I redirected Rocinante, then, is my own, and while perhaps leading to the wrong destination, it is the longer road. And that may turn out to be the more important consideration. Directness leads me the more circuitously to the end, and it is a long journey I long for. What of your own goals? It seems headlong is your style, precipitous your approach to you-know-not-what-and-profess-not-to-care. Pull hard on the reigns, look through your glass towards your goal. Reconsider what is "enough".

2.) in which Don Quixote responds to Hamlet's first letter:
Your death would be unwelcome by at least one, and I suspect Sancho Panza would also be loathe to see you shuffle off this mortal coil too soon, as my being in communication with you saves him from the obligation of performing one of his squirely duties, which is to enliven our constant journeying with song--something at which he is no great hand (thus, really, you save us both).
I mean in no way to prod your dirk, but I should convey my thoughts on right death to you. Most certainly one of your own doing, no matter the reason, would be ignominious, and you are right to assume that your legacy would be tarnished--with your own hand. This, of course, because the moment of death reserves the lion's share of the right to write the history of the man. I sense that you care not for your memory, though you linger on it in your letter. But still, know that a glorious death will allow your soul to live eternally in light, while a wretched one will force your soul into millenia of darkness. Each holds the key to immortality, but the cast of that life-after is in your control. I wonder if, before laying down for that long drowse, you might use your divining devices to consult your father on the import, consequences, ramifications of death and the manner of its assault.

3.) in which Don Quixote responds to Hamlet's second letter, the epistolary stutter of impatience:

You say I wish you would not lie. but it is a fiction. I entreat you to lie. Do not misguide yourself about the truth of myself any more than you do about the truth of yourself. Here on the other end of your letters, be assured that as I profess my own honesty, nothing conveys it to you but my words, those same words that conveyed so adroitly my lies. I write truth for its resonance on my end of the circuit. There is no such--can be no such--resonance on your end. And I read your letters in the same vein, though I will momentarily deny it. There is one truth to our communication here in La Mancha. The truth or dishonesty of it in Denmark is of your making for your own purposes, and I do not begrudge your fashioning it as you see fit. Artifacts of transferrence in your alcoves or ashes of emissions in your hearth, it matters little to me. I wouldn't even know it if you didn't say it, perhaps I don't know it even as you do.

Though I would insert a brief comment about a clean country: France is no such land. Search your library for her beloved Balzac as well as her step-son Beckett. Le pays peut rester propre sans l'invention toujours de nouveaux methodes de le nettoyer. You can throw the new invention on top of the old, and make your molehill instead of sweeping it bare. The land can be clean without being a desert.
I will disavow this existential interlude. I must for the sake of my sanity. I wonder if I will be able to resist making them in future, as I intended earlier in so many words. I was coaxed into this deviance, and regret it.

4.) in which Don Quixote apologizes for the lateness of this reply, which was the reason for the afore-mentionened stutter, for which he takes responsibility:
I nearly tire as much of writing these as I expect you tire of reading them, but I must again apologize. This time for the lateness of my response to your first letter, which made necessary your second (and third). My gratitude, to you, sir, for your continued patience while I find my way to the right living that will unburden me of my continuously falling into the obligation of begging your patience and conveying my gratitude. That life beyond reproach, I assure you, is already taking form outside our epistolary conduit; I have only to insinuate it here.

5.) in which Don Quixote responds to Hamlet's third letter expressing his fright and apprehension:
Are you casting spells? Can they be cast so, with a configuration of bizarre characters? I glean from them, though I am loathe to regard them, that you have been transformed. Your continued descent into frightening circles of mysticism leaves me in fear for your safety.

6.) in which Don Quixote brings us up to speed on the convoluted progress of his campaign against the Vile Odvallo, wonders if such an ordered account amounts to anything useful, protests, again, that Sancho Panza can neither read
nor write, and concludes his letter:
My nemesis Odvallo will be challenged outright. While gathering reconnaissance continued fruitfully for some time over the past weeks while I have been in silence, I soon came to regard it as less than worthy of my station. Convinced of the despicable nature of Odvallo, in no small part because of the terrible character of those he chooses to employ, I have decided to end the intrigue and do battle with him forthwith.

A young page boy I found playing at being a goatherd on his lands was dispatched by myself with strict orders to convey my meaning to Odvallo. I intend to dispatch the wicked Baron and send him in servitude to my lady. His lands I will likely grant to Sancho Panza, who bothers me continuously about the meaner spoils of chivalry, those of material rather than fine virtues.
If the Baron is a man of any remaining honor, we will battle at dawn, hence. If he is the worm I suspect he is, I should be forced to storm his keep single-handedly. Rest assured, I will prevail.

This new method I have provisionally adopted, of arranging my writings numerically, categorically, in small segments introduced by a brief description of their contents--can it convey a coherent message? Does it make sense to you? Or is it too dissociated; are its elements too disparate? Do these numerals imprison my story with their Oriental arrangment of lines and stops? Why must a continuous thread be cut for better transmission? Does that ruin the garment? Or must the bolt of cloth be snipped so that it can be better tailored? Is there any story but a mangled one, where the mutilation of the narrative is passed off as the story having been fashioned into a stylish saharienne?

I sense some lingering suspicion on your part about the corpus attached to the hand that writes these words. I assure you, Sancho Panza can neither read nor write. The man that composes this letter is
Your humble servant,
Don Quixote De La Mancha


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