The Work of Alfred Smith (an unused writing name of Thomas Albert Fox)
"utterance of the true thing of it that is" - or the beginning of history
This is a work of four volumes in the making to be published under the name of Thomas Albert Fox. Smith is contracted to transfer all rights to justWords Ltd on completion of the four volumes by not later than August 2011 AD. It is a work that has remained in draft for many years, and is at the present time (2007) being published in its first volume, the remaining three volumes await adjustments, corrections and proofing and writing in the case of the fourth volume. In the meantime, Smith insists the entire first book of it in its various and many drafts is kept shrouded. as whole. Smith's work remakes the uttering of English her soul: this being of her that haunts us here among ghosts whose earth and air of it holds us in a word's space of us that we are of and waits to absorb us wholly in transmission of that final truth of us that we die of, the word anaesthetized, expired upon the air that made it, the death of common sense.
Alfred Smith's utterance in its first book of it, "first utterance of the true thing of it that is", is a 392 page work. Its format challenges the inherited assumptions that lie in the English literary forms, the consequential constructions of the old technologies of that quilled and sedentary literary form through the technologies of paper, ink, letter-press print, shelves and binding, manipulation (the human hand), oculation (the human eye), boxes and shelves, the mustiness, the feel of the book-as-object, its smell, the sense of it clustered, candled and congregated in its caves and cloisters merely one of millions, nay of 'googolions', shelved in vast invirtuous barns where they lie their grains of truth a heady brew. In this he 'de-forms' the entrapment of the temporal convention in which English history is contained, and, by impoverishing its booking, releases from their bounds enrichments that reside in the interstices of 'history', the true thing of it that is. Such deformation obviates (not deconstructs) the underlying forms that pre-construct how we 'can' use (the English) language. Smith has found and excoriated widespread redundancy of form and content in literary narrative and its concomitant oral narrative as pre-scripted by the seemingly human (natural) 'heritigial (inherited) historicism' forming that normal (occidental) consciousnesses habituating a common 'formasphere' wherein (or of) humankind has its delusions limited and kept caged among such 'formaspheric' pre-constructions.
In contemporary jargon (2007) it has been possible to invent "utterance of the true thing of it that is" as a post~post-modern narrative, a cybennial narrative seemingly about the English 4-5th century preoccupation and occupation of the tribal land around here (Wessex) res nullius (empty of Romans, unfull of the Romano-Britons, being merely wilderness and aboriginal Britons only). Like cyberspace, 5th century 'Wessex' can be regarded as 'empty' among traces of seemingly incipient occupation, traces of preoccupation. John Locke's Second Treatise on Property maintains, with the Romans, that all 'empty things' remained the common property of all mankind until put to some use, when the user gains proprietary rights over such open space. Smith has chosen this period because it is a relatively unknown quantity in terms of conventional history. As there is little so called concrete "evidence" to bring easily to bear, he can avoid his approach being quickly and misleadingly confounded on "normal" historical grounds. The apparent 'period' of "utterance" stops such assumption and creates a strategic breathing space to give Smith's work a chance to air itself freely. In this Smith has a Spenserian turn of mind:
For the methode of the poet historical is not such, as of an historiographer. For an historiographer discourseth of affairs orderly as they were donne, acounting as well the times as the actions; but a poet thrusteth into the middest, even where it most concerneth him, and there recoursing to the thinges forepaste, and divining of thinges to come; maketh a pleasing analysis of all.
[Edmund Spenser to Sir Walter Raleigh, 23rd January 1583, about "The Faerie Queene".]
Smith writes in a form antecedent to modernism, but superseding post-modernism. He writes in a new cultural form I have termed cybennialism; it is surely time to take the black bags of post-modernism to the rubbish dump. Smith's words in "utterance" are not post-modernistically 'representatives' of 'reality', but are themselves real mirages living in the air:
in sight of its reality
on the face of it
nothing less than the lip of a word, a quench of glass at a pool's edge, lapping,
a miracle oasis
clenching in reality
a real mirage,
[closing lines of "oasis" , from Selected Poems of T A Fox, Volume seven "The Charred Lord" and Volume five "Presence", page 31, Voice ref 1B180]
As real, in Smith's mind, is the idea of true history being a back projection merely:
Legend has not the truth of fact. It can become true, nevertheless, by being absorbed so deeply into the race consciousness that it is made to [have] occur[ed] by some mysterious, retrospective projection.
[James Plunkett, "The Gems She Wore", Hutchinson & Co 1972, p96, in distinguishing between the truth of legend and and the truth of -mere- fact.]
This parallels the idea of distinguishing between considering our thoughts and actions in terms of there being a critical distinction between the idea of the 'brain' and the idea of the 'mind' (the body/soul problem, the 1/0, the true/false, the subject/object, day/night, the age old duality problem). Steven Pinker's answer to how the brain (mind?) solves the difficulty of, for example, "inverse optics" (how we 'see' the world, how we cope with knowing what we see) seems relevant to Smith's way of solving ('seeing') the problem of 'history'. According to Pinker:
... the brain supplies the missing information, information about the world we evolved in and how it reflects light. If the visual brain "assumes" that it is living in a certain kind of world---an evenly lit world made mostly of rigid parts with smooth, uniformly coloured surfaces---it can make good guesses about what is out there.
[Steven Pinker, "How the Mind Works", Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1998.]
Such guessing is built into our everyday (& night) consciousnesses, and we 'know' our history in the same way. In regard to "utterance", Smith makes the work take on the shape of beaten (cybennial) space whereat three forked tongue of tribes guess and curl into being words empty of voices, seeking to vent their meanings upon the breathing air that lives around us. He is on his way to this New World, though he knows he's only got as far as the Mayflower broken down in Southampton, (old) England, while New England has yet to come.
When we consider the small Number of the first Settlers, and coming from an old Cultivated Country, to thick Woods, rough unimproved Lands; where all their former Experience and Knowledge was now of little service to them: they were destitute of Beasts of Burden or Carriage; Unskilled in every Part of Service to be done: it may be said, That in a Sort, they began the World a new.
[Kate Caffrey, "The Mayflower", Purnell 1974, p333; quoted from a 1748 letter of Jared Eliot of Connecticut, grandson of John Eliot, ancestor of the repatriated 20th Century banker, publisher, poet and literary critic Thomas Stearns Eliot.]
Of course, we are getting to, but not yet among, great takeovers. I mean, like the 18th century, we have the 21st century enclosures of vast (electro-magnetic) fields, no not of land, but of knowledgeness "in" the New World of/in cyberspace (never truly commonplace - land, nonetheless a form of medieval open-field rights do for the moment exist). Yes, all these special fields are being rapidly stonewalled and gatewayed by the new 'owners' of cyberspace, the cybercrats, the aptly named YAHOOS and GOO GOL Goths and so forth; wherein nobody's work, no matter how important, can really subsist in an open field. If you want space, in space, I guess you may still have to to become journalists bought and paid for, or be content to merely hanker to keep ever more the benefits of being first, a perpetual Mayflower Pilgrim .
"The Massachusetts men are coming almost daily, some by water and some by land, who are not yet determined where to settle, though some have in mind to the place we are upon, and which was last bought. Many of them look at that which this river will not afford, except it be at this place which we have; namely, to be a great town and have commodious dwellings for many together. So as what they will do I cannot yet resolve you. For this place there is none of them say anything to me, but what I hear from their servants, by whom I perceive their minds. I shall do what I can to withstand them. I hope they will hear reason, as that we were here first and entered with much difficulty the danger both in regard of the Dutch and Indians, and bought the land, to your great charge already disbursed, and have since held here a chargeable possession and kept the Dutch from further encroaching, which would else long before this day have possessed all, and kept out all others. I hope these and other such arguments will stop them.
[Extract from the "We were here first letter" of Jonathan Brewster, Matianuck July 6th 1635, from Kate Caffrey, op cit p353]
There was little hope then as now that the tides of seconds could be stopped by Canute-like appeals to the infinite moral flexibility of human nature. But, for the time being, the net glitters with plentiful silver, feeds thousands in a flash, is beautifully ungovernable, a wilderness, a new world waiting its early colonists, its settlers and their consolidation of gains, registrations of property rights, erections of no-entry signs, barbed wire barriers and prohibitions. Now on the brink, glazed by the incipient growth of empires and petty imperialisms rampant among the great engines of the new cyberstates trafficking the new trade routes with consumption, navigating the new highways and byways without rites of passage. New cyberocrassies will to rule, perhaps taking the form of a clique, strings of mobile phones, an in-crowd of cronies conspiring to govern the world, setting up their ports, closing the great net upon all us small fry attempting to survive by navigating the interstices of such meshing, and clubbing from the latest cave. It is as small fry that we may slip through the meshings of the cybocrats only to find ourselves fodder for whales.
Perhaps, the destiny of the computer is that of the car, and before it the cart, to travaille endlessly around great highways looping in and out of the maws of consumption wherein its occupant(s) is virtually free to choose what is offered? But soon what is on offer will surely transform us utterly from this feeding creature grazing the surfaces of earth in killing bands consuming its edible herb and one another acting out the ritual and reality of domination and submission. Transformed to a feeding creature removed from the surface of earth, detached from its living herb and flesh, to mere membership of bands manipulating keys and passwords to gain entry to the caverns and caves of unfleshed minds stuck on the joys of sticks and the capital powers of a portal's imperial guard. Here is the new location of terror, the point of pressure and its application to disempower participation in such indiscernible consumption of indiscernible space. There, remaining, lurks the old brutish creature of the knife and stab, roaming like Ghengis, entering unobserved the door to your room, over your shoulder really appearing with a ready knife, while you exchange email with your police and gargle on your (real) blood.
The marriage of media with massage, of heaven with hell, the great makeover of fiction to fact and fact to friction and friction to heat and heat to fire and fire to irreportable destruction, leaving only a comic strip produced by the clone of God populating the universe in 'Its' own image. We, here in the past, are already strangers in our own country, insubstantial spectators of games whose rules are immaterial to performances. Such performances appear before us as if they are feelings seeking emotions, but are actually new teams teeming taking over vacancy that seems empty space formed by our demise, but can only be vacancy among dimensions we have never inhabited; not even our vacation opens a gap into the future. Such irrelevance is very, very hard to apprehend, to find oneself in front of, facing the utter différance between us here and us then, yet formless shapeless empty skulled Elvir still runs it that it that is everything and nothing:
for what its worth he didnt like blood and all the grief of it you got of that for the sake of making it better of them their stainings for getting that for giving of the kin of them that were harmed the endless bloody meetings working it all out those hateful riddles grievous of their bitter banes of them fouling up his workings against all his ways and means of stopping them their endless manslaughtering and stealing back of lives and livings of his making them all lay down of fighting weapons cooling them those hot heads and hearts full of hate for what its worth of laws laid of the fathers of their fathers too of those olden days that old folk hadnt not forgotten and still knew it didnt they the rights and wrongs of it everything that flowed with it of every shilling or sheep its handing over the nail and finger foot and fathom the breadth and share that it came to whatever it was that it did he knew didnt he that Elvir of his unforgettable minding of it all all the weights and ways of man slaughtering and of every inch and ell and acre of wounds and worths of them their barleycorns and poppyseeds of brawls and harms that could be done in weighing up the worth of wounds and losses and getting his lord to lay it down the last word of it didnt he
every one of it that the old folk of them knew nor not forgetting of him all what a book knew too of its black marks that had them told out the gold and silver and copper of them that were the worth of a slaughtered man or his kin or that were his of him his worth their pounds shillings pence and cattle too and sheep and swine and chickens and ducks and geese of it and of giving up grass too its growth for geese their eating and great white eggs and salt herring too and of salt swinesfleshmeat and smoked and mussels fresh of that water that was kept clean its clever draining and that were good in the morning to break your fast with good beer and milk of her that cow kept in your house that was marked each rime of it that was dealt against every each wound your kin did that marked your own hide of you each furrow and furlong that that Elvir the Wise Reader could read of it all those black marks and other things too that was why he was reader of him the Lord Belgi wasnt he and why that lord kept him to know who hed got to kill or quell of their keeping things from him
he couldnt do all that without him that Elvir the Wise that a lord had to do of his lording it could he
[from p187 "first utterance of the true thing of it that is", justWords 2007.]
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