[ by Charles Cameron ]
This post, the first of several at our temporary Zenpunditry.Wordpress backup site — make a note of the URL — while ZP itself was down for a week, also contained an announcement of that problem, now no longer required.
I don’t have anything earth-shattering to report by way of an immanent apocalypse, but my interest in form got nicely tweaked yesterday when I finished watching the movie of Faulkner‘s As I lay Dying — which uses a lot of split screen work that reminded me of my collection of DoubleQuotes in the Wild…
But anyway, I was saying…
I finished the film, stunned and impressed, and went to look see if I could find a copy of the book (I thought it was a short story) online, and came across what to me is the most exquisite short paragraph devoted to form — the second para in As I Lay Dying –
The path runs straight as a plumb-line, worn smooth by feet and baked brick-hard by July, between the green rows of laidby cotton, to the cottonhouse in the center of the field, where it turns and circles the cottonhouse at four soft right angles and goes on across the field again, worn so by feet in fading precision.
Such awesome beauty there, squaring the circle, circling the square — and for me, the recollection too of John Donne doing a similar rounded squaring:
At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go…
Such exquisite geometries both great writers offer us.
I suggest it’s because they have an eye for form — they look or the shapes, the patterns in things — they’re constantly scanning, constantly practicing pattern-recognition.
Which as you know, is an desirable cognitive skill in analytic work — one of the way to connect the dots.