desert

And it is as though, in consequence, my days had rearranged themselves. No longer do they jostle on each other’s heels. Each stands separate and upright, proudly affirming its own worth. And since they are no longer to be distinguished as the stages of a plan in process of execution, they so resemble each other as to be superimposed in my memory, so that I seem to be ceaselessly reliving the same day. –Tournier, Michel. Friday (or the Other Island).  p204.

If his stay on the island was to be a long one, his survival would depend on this legacy bequeathed him by shipmates whom he must now presume to be dead. The wise course would have been to start immediately on the salvage operations, which presented great difficulties to a man working singlehanded. However, he did not do so, telling himself that by lightening the vessel he would render her more vulnerable to any puff of wind and thus endanger his own best chance of getting away. The truth was that he felt an overwhelming reluctance to undertake any kind of work which would suggest that he was settling down on the island. Not only did he cling to the belief that his stay would be short, but he had a superstitious feeling that in making any attempt to organize his life here he would be dismissing the […] –Tournier, Michel. Friday (or the Other Island). p22.

“Goodbye, I’m leaving and I won’t look back.” At infinity, these refrains must rejoin the songs of the Molecules, the newborn wailing of the fundamental Elements, as Millikan put it. They cease to be terrestrial, becoming cosmic: when the religious Nome blooms and dissolves in a molecular pantheist Cosmos, when the singing of the birds is replaced by combinations of water, wind, clouds, and fog. “Outside, the wind and the rain …” The Cosmos as an immense deterritorialized refrain. –Deleuze & Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. p327.

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2 responses to “desert

  1. On his second expedition, in 1934, Richard Byrd spent five winter months alone operating a meteorological station, Advance Base, from which he narrowly escaped with his life after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly ventilated stove. Unusual radio transmissions from Byrd finally began to alarm the men at the base camp, who then attempted to go to Advance Base. The first two trips were failures due to darkness, snow, and mechanical troubles. Finally, Dr. Thomas Poulter, E.J. Demas, and Amory Waite arrived at advanced base, where they found Byrd in poor physical health. The men remained at advanced base until October 12, when an airplane from the base camp picked up Dr. Poulter and Byrd. The rest of the men returned to base camp with the tractor. This expedition is described by Byrd in his autobiography Alone.

    1933: The Idea
    March: The Decision
    April I: God of 2.5
    April II: The night
    May I: The Intimation
    May II: The Blow
    June I: Despair
    June II: The Struggle
    June III: The Proposal
    July I: Cold
    July II: The Tractors
    August: The Searchlight

    Unusual radio transmissions
    might have been like this

    • zzttpp

      What a sacrilege to put that world-class nobody, Bono, in a Joy Division video. ‘Weeks before that bad taste leaves my palate’.

      Also, contender for best reply to a question about a friend’s suicide:
      Q: Why do you think he did that?
      A: It’s a secret.

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