Saturday, 12 March 2016

Clarice Lispector's Complete Stories startle most if chosen at random during an idle moment. This afternoon, waiting for Pat the fox Kelleher to come round and walk the field, I read 'Boy in Pen and Ink', a perplexed investigation of a little boy sitting on the ground, resembling thirty thousand other little boys sitting on the ground at that moment. Then the little boy has a triumph: he reproduces the sound of traffic outside, beep beep, and his mother is proud.  So little in this little boy that can be known; and then everything.

The story about the little boy sitting on the ground is followed by a story about a girl who observed, and eventually ate, chickens. The less a story seems to be about, the more I am ready to like it. Like looking at a nearby stranger, looking for the kernel even in one glance, which you can only do by becoming that person. Involuntary incarnation, Clarice Lispector calls it; she cannot help becoming the stranger she is observing, like the missionary she sits next to on the plane for three hours, whom she will become, she realises with a certain regret, for at least the next three days.

Will I incarnate Pat the fox Kelleher after walking round the field with him for half an hour? Or will we both incarnate the fox he's going to call some evening soon, with polystyrene rubbed on glass which sounds like a rabbit in distress, will we both become the fox he's going to dazzle and shoot?

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