A Moderate Totality

A Passage from Luminous Airplanes, or Things As They Were: A Hyperromance

Actually, I have decided to change my way of working: starting with the introductory section you were just reading (i.e., “Patriot Day”), I am no longer going to rewrite anything. If, on re-reading a finished section, I realize that I’ve left something out, or changed my mind, or that what I write in one place contradicts what I write in another (this has already happened several times), I’ll let the error stand, and maybe add a comment about it. I am adopting this new procedure for several reasons:

1) if I keep rewriting instead of writing new sections, I’ll never get to the end of Luminous Airplanes, assuming it has an end;

2) by adding new sections but not changing the old ones, Luminous Airplanes will become a record of how my thinking changes over time. (In fact this has already happened: the oldest sections of this project were written in 2000, and it’s now 2012; not only my style but also my interests and really my whole outlook on the world have changed in the interval.) I don’t know whether this record of slow change (not always slow, though) will be interesting to you, but for me, as I try to figure myself out, it’s very useful;

3) because at some point I have to turn and face the ghosts. In my imagination, at least, not rewriting feels like a kind of resolve. From here on—forward! No more covering my tracks, no more giving in to fear and doubt! If I am to know everything (about myself) I have to include everything; if I am to include everything I have to accept everything. So Luminous Airplanes becomes the story of me, accepting.

In the spirit of honesty and acceptance, however, I should note that I rewrote “Patriot Day” six or seven times before I put it on the Web. Even the current section has been edited down. So maybe what I am saying is, I’m aiming for a reasonable degree of acceptance, a moderate totality.

© 2008-2023 Paul La Farge. All rights reserved.