For our setting, your setting: your smoothie-purple mouth, your shoelaces, every refracted ray of light, all the shifting corners along your walk (and all parenthetically interesting details). The setting, in other words, is your every sense upon every facet, layer, and opening. The setting flows—it is there and gone, there and not, moving quicker (it cannot be caught). The setting is somewhere, in time (sensed incompletely) and space (extending out indefinitely). A visual edge never appears—it is only inferred, assumed.
For our character, a reader: reading “reading” on a page, mute, and now aware of its own silence, as if waking from a musical daydream. Before now, it was only a characterless setting; now it is here, doubled on itself. It is a familiar presence, even too familiar (too intimate). It flows, flowing up whenever it will, to make itself knowable. Here and now you are (where else would you be?).
For our plot, this dream; but what connects the dream of purple to the dream of sweetness?—to the dream of a mouth? Where do they float? How do they fuse?
An interlude: it comes upon a sentence, this sentence, arranged, it says, as a line from left to right. Across, above, behind, and everywhere around the sentence, come faces (your faces) that disagree. “It reads right-to-left to me,” says one. “To me, it’s an infinite plane,” says a third, traveling a beam. The second one speaks next, “I’m the first to say it: there’s no right way to read it.”
“To light, the earth is flat,” comes the fourth soundless voice. “To you, the light is vision.”
For our falling action, two falling objects that seem motionless to themselves: an earth, a reader. Everything is falling. Everything is still. How odd this dream.
For our ending, your ending, which, as absence, you will not—. It does not—. Neither setting, nor character, nor plot reveal the end. It cannot be a now. Shall we listen (inside) to a poem (to a dream) without a home?
We, old mirror, even we’re in here
With infinity’s first step.
These arms, these hands—how many?
Uncountably many (without a left and without a right).
You, painting of a face in a mirror, even you’re in here,
—where “here” means only near-to-me.
Jonathan van Belle is a bookseller at Powell’s. He’s the author of three books, including the pre-posthumously published Charter Party Companion to Private Holidays (all available in the most spider-infested kudzu undergrowth of Amazon). At the moment, Jonathan is working to build a philosophical community in Portland, with the aim of establishing a permanent residence for the Portland Philosophy Museum.