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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Clarice Lispector: Mine of Mirrors


File:Tide pools bubbles.jpg

Close-up of foam on the surface of a tide pool, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, California. When plankton crushes ashore, it dies and disintegrates creating foam-like bubbles, which are left on the floor of tide pools floor after the ocean retreats. The bubbles display all the same properties as soap bubbles, displaying typical interference colors, except they last much longer than soap bubbles. The organic material of the plankton, which lowers the surface tension of the water (as soap does), and preserves the film, is responsible for these colors: photo by Brocken Inaglory, 1 March 2008

But now I'm interested in the mystery of the mirror. I'm looking for a way to paint it or to speak of it with the word. But what is a mirror? The word mirror does not exist, only mirrors exist, for a single one is an infinity of mirrors. Mirror is not something created but something born. You don't need many to have the sparkling and the sleepwalking mine: two are enough, and one reflects the reflection of what the other reflected, in a trembling that is transmitted in an intense and mute telegraphic message, insistent, liquidity in which you can plunge a fascinated hand and pull it out dripping with the reflections of that hard water that is the mirror. Like the seer's crystal ball, it drags me toward the void that for the seer is his field of meditation, and in me the field of silences and silences. And I can barely speak, with so much silence unfurling into others.

Mirror? That
crystallized world that has in itself enough space to go ever ceaselessly forward: for mirror is the deepest space that exists. And it is a magic thing: whoever has a broken piece can go with it to meditate in the desert. Seeing oneself is extraordinary. Like a cat whose fur bristles, I bristle when faced with myself. From the desert I would also return empty, illuminated and translucent, and with the same vibrating silence of a mirror. Its form doesn't matter: no form manages to circumscribe and alter it. Mirror is light. A tiny piece of mirror is always the whole mirror.

Remove its frame or the lines of its edges, and it grows like spilling water.

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977): from Água Viva (1973), translated by Stefan Tobler, New Directions, 2012

File:Plankton creates sea foam1 .jpg

Close-up on foam on the surface of a tide pool, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, California: photo by Brocken Inaglory, 1 March 2008

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977): photographer unknown, n.d.; image via VICE

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977)
: photographer unknown, n.d.; image via André (SkyHeLL), 9 November 2004)


Clarice Lispector (1920-1977): photographer unknown, n.d.; image via BrazilNYC, 12 November 2011André (SkyHeLL), 9 November 2004)

Clarice Lispector: Four novels, 2012: photographer unknown, n.d. (via New Directions)

I want to write to you like someone learning. I photograph each instant. I deepen the words as if I were painting, more than an object, its shadow. I don’t want to ask why, you can always ask why and always get no answer -- could I manage to surrender to the expectant silence that follows a question without an answer? Though I sense that some place or time the great answer for me does exist.

(from Água Viva)


TC said...

See also:

Clarice Lispector: The Archer (A Part of the Future)

TC said...

Que mistério de Clarice: Carlos Capinam e Caetano Veloso, interpreçao de Caetano Veloso

Una homenagem a Clarice Lispector na Voz de Caetano Veloso

Frases e Fotos

And by the way, the fine nature photographer who captured the fascinating top shots (which in fact inspired this post) is Mila Zinkova. (You'll have seen her self-portait[s], in the bubble-mirrors.)

Unknown said...

Genius Reflection

Not having been born an animal is a secret nostalgia of mine. Clarice Lispector via Tom Clark has made it a recently rediscovered nostalgia of mine, one I hope to maintain through every remaining moment among flora and fauna (all of which appears to be in a state of rest or on the injured reserve list this afternoon). The 1938 Tibetan Archer sat next to me in the back of the 1948 model bus I rode across Guanacaste yesterday. Cells that said oooooh are now quiet. Others are now saying Owwww.

Harris Schiff

Wooden Boy said...

Always make sure you're wearing a decent pair of gloves when dipping your hand in.

TC said...

A miniature of that liquid mirror might have graced Clarice's dressing table.

She never met a lens that didn't want to drink up her reflection.

The sky in the water, the water in the sky.


And while on liquid dynamics and poetry -- Caetano Veloso's is the voice that was made to sing Clarice's name.



"I photograph each instant. I deepen the words as if I were painting, more than an object, its shadow."


light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, crow calling from cypress branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

recall the flat above level,
elevated “foreground”

“hidden within it,” that is
to say, as becomes it

grey white of fog against top of ridge,
cormorant flapping across toward point