BLUETS by Maggie Nelson
+ What Is a Minor Literature? by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in 'Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature'
14. I have enjoyed telling people that I am writing a book
about blue without actually doing it. Mosty what happens
in such cases is that people give you stories or leads
or gifts, and then you can play with these things instead
of with words. Over the past decade I have been given
blue inks, paintings, postcards, dyes, bracelets, rocks,
precious stones, watercolors, pigments, paperweights,
goblets, and candies. I have been introduced to a man
who had one of his front teeth replaced with lapis lazuli,
solely because he loved the stone, and to another who
worships blue so devoudy that he refuses to eat blue food
and grows only blue and white flowers in his garden,
which surrounds the blue ex-cathedral in which he lives.
I have met a man who is the primary grower of organic indigo
in the world, and another who sings Joni Mitchell’s
Blue in heartbreaking drag, and another with the face of a
derelict whose eyes literally leaked blue, and I called this
one the prince of blue, which was, in fact, his name.
15. I think of these people as my blue correspondents,
whose job it is to send me blue reports from the field.
23. Goethe wrote Theory of Colours in a period of his life
described by one critic as “a long interval, marked by
nothing of distinguished note.” Goethe himself describes
the period as one in which “a quiet, collected state
of mind was out of the question.” Goethe is not alone in
turning to color at a particularly fraught moment. Think
of filmmaker Derek Jarman, who wrote his book Chroma
as he was going blind and dying of AIDS, a death he also
forecast on film as disappearing into a “blue screen.” Or
of Wittgenstein, who wrote his Remarks on Colour during
the last eighteen months of his life, while dying of
stomach cancer. He knew he was dying; he could have
chosen to work on any philosophical problem under the
sun. He chose to write about color. About color and pain.
Much of this writing is urgent, opaque, and uncharacteristically
boring. “That which I am writing about so tediously,
may be obvious to someone whose mind is less
decrepit,” he wrote.