Saint Genet (my blog reborn?)

I think I’ve said what I have to say. A full year of this blog has given me space to spread myself out in language, and find out what I thought about a number of things. I’ve enjoyed it for sure. There’s nothing I love better than language, and, interestingly, now that I can’t read, I find myself writing the things I would read if I could.

When I discovered French intellectual tradition (it began with reading Camus when I was in my teens, spread like wildfire to Sartre and then to Genet) it was like a rebirth. Those guys use language in a very different way. English is a methodical language. To some extent, with its crazy Gothic grammar architecture, it has to be. Generally Presbyterian in outlook, its flights of fancy have to be well buttressed, butterflies broken on the wheel of rational organized thoughts.

But those French writers let the holy fire into their writing. Jean Genet was a lifelong criminal, recidivist, thief, hustler, and artist. His book, with the provocative title “Our Lady of the Flowers”, grounded its narrative in his masturbation fantasies. Their relative intensity guided the plot. When Sartre wrote his biography he called it “Saint Genet”. All the passions have a place in literary discourse, he suggested, and when we bring them in we sanctify them, and we spread the light of human thought a little further out into the darkness.

When we exclude things, call them evil or demonic, we in fact make them so, give them to the demons, and the demons love it. That’s when they win. God is everywhere. Love and light are everywhere. I think Edna St. Vincent Millay said it best when she wrote “They drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, robber, a thing to flout. But love and I found a way to win. We drew a circle that shut them in.”

The only real danger is fear.