Saturday, March 29, 2008

reading and dancing

I am in the middle of maybe 20 or more books, texts. Since the birth of my child, I rarely finish anything. I used to feel badly about this. Now I take great delight in not finishing something. It is how I assert the right of my living breathing body, bound my time, space and gravity, over ink and paper.

Novels: the only time I can bear novels these days is if I am sick and weak or if it is good children's fiction. The last time I finished a (grown-up) novel was when I was shivering feverishly in bed with a kidney infection. I read Carol Shields' Unless, amongst others, and despite my allergy to Can(chick)lit, I was quite moved by it.

I am now reading Beckett (ok, ok, I surrender). As I rummaged through my bookshelf to find Molloy, I wondered why I had so many books on theatre (because I have Beckett in my theatre section) when frankly, I despise so much of it. Theatre, that is.

Books on dance: I have a number of them, bought by me bound by a sense of duty or
given to me by well-meaning people; but I never read them. They are unbearable. The last book on dance that I finished was 20 years ago: a book on Doris Humphrey given to me by Lari. But I'm not sure if I read it because it interested me or because I loved Lari.

Maybe my allergy to novels is an allergy to endings. As Gabriel Josipovici says (see my entry on authorship/authority): "Finding the conclusion means giving what has gone on before meaning. Giving something an end is not the same as giving it meaning, any more than life acquires meaning simply by coming to an end. The trouble with novels is that the only meaning they can have is conferred on them by their authors: but what authority do they have to confer meaning? "

Last night I watched a number of dances whose endings left me disappointed and unmoved despite my earlier investment and interest in the proceedings.

I find myself questioning the point of dance as an art object that tries to confer meaning on that which is unfathomable.

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