Not a Phoenix
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OK, back to The House of Nordquist.
When Is a Word Not a Word?
That is not the same question as when is a vocable not a word? Scat singers, adepts at glossolalia, and sufferers of aphasia, among others, may make word-like sounds meaningless to most of us.
In The House of Nordquist Erik is a different case. He speaks the single vocable “raven,” ordinarily a word but denuded by him of meaning—no longer word or bird. Nevertheless Paul, his naïve acolyte, hearing the sound repeatedly, writes:
“I was certain that I would dream of the raven, even though I knew the utterance did not signify a bird. It would be flying out of Eric’s mouth, enlarging itself as it flew more freely. The one visible eye would be obsidian. The other eye might be red but it would remain invisible because the bird would not turn in its flight. It would fly straight, pulling the walls of the house with it out over the brow of the hill. The Fall of the House of Nordquist. But I did not dream of the raven. I dreamt of the altered sounds of Helene’s body.”
Erik’s ruthless “raven” signifies nothing. It is the negation of meaning, a linguistic null that serves the nihilism of his infernal project: immolation of body, desacralization of music, renunciation of spirit. It is dedicated to the absolute zero bequeathed to him by his mad father, with whom he voyaged through Arctic ice to the edge of Nothingness.
Madness, right? But also terrifyingly logical. Given the human dependence on language, given the abysses of human desecration of language, what could be more germane to Erik’s nihilistic logic than the reduction of the Word to zero, prelude to the certain destruction and the dubious reconstruction of the world?
OK. Next time color and music. Promise.
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Thoth, Inventor of Writing
Yours in darkness and light,
The Author, Devotee of Thoth