Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clay IV.39

Dear Paul: What I wanted to write you about was The Clay Testament. I discovered many things in writing those texts. They were mostly written by a young man who held to the Mallarméan principle that everything that happened to him happened in order to end up as writing. Writing subsequently was realized as a kind of sacrament: that is how I lived it, and continue to do so. †

Most of The Clay Testament was written during the 1990s, after my time in France and overlapping somewhat with my time working on French literature in Madison's graduate program. Some of the stylistic models and allusions come from French Renaissance literature, as anachronistic as that might be. But the quest was biblical, or biblical parodic. †

I don't think scripture is a closed book. As I've said, I think Christian truth in large part remains to be revealed. †

We have the orthodox understanding(s), we have the heresies, we have the Jewish tradition, we have our own experience of the world, we have the gnosis: these together must work as the forge from which we might take a more complete understanding of the truth. †

The four Gospels remain the most authoritative written sources. They also remain authoritative, I believe, as a genre model. †

Genre models are important if, as I would insist, writing is sacramental. †

I believe one can affirm the following: Reading the scriptures is always also a kind of writing; writing is sometimes also a way of reading the scriptures. †

These few comments are to explain how I understand the work of The Clay Testament. This work remains unfinished. I still seek others who might realize writing as a sacrament. Best, Eric

No comments: