Have you noted my Goldfinch obsession? Yeah, not even going to put in links to it - this whole blog feels linked to it lately. I've put in the cited text below (which I hope is legal!), but if you're going to read the book, just don't read that text. It won't like spoil anything, but it might be ever so slightly less beautiful and revelatory when you get to it. And I wouldn't want to do that to you. I just put it there as a reference to the erasure. To be clear: all the great things in this erasure poem were already put there by Ms. Tartt. This is just a game with words - like Hobie stripping down a piece to see the wonder of its origin, behold its grain.
The Goldfinch Erasure Poem
p. 761 (Kindle Edtiion)
I’d just as soon forget
the hum of a tuning fork.
here me time
boarding terminals soul-free
drenched with meaning
spangled thundering Sky Mall.
Drambuie Tanqueray Chanel No. 5
beauty alters grain of reality
pursuit of pure beauty a trap
beauty has to be wedded meaningful.
Only am I the way I am
care about all the wrong things
to tip clearly
everything I love or care
illusion, and yet
all that’s worth living for lies charm
great sorrow beginning
understand: we don’t get to choose
our own hearts. can’t make ourselves
what’s good for us
for other people
don’t get to choose the people we are.
drilled childhood platitude culture
Lady Gaga Rumi Tosca
uniform message: doubt what to do
right shrink, career answer:
“Follow your heart.”
someone possessed a heart that can’t be trusted
heart unfathomable leads willfully
cloud of unspeakable radiance
away health, domesticity, civic responsibility
strong social connections
straight towards a
I’d just as soon forget, but I can’t. It’s kind of the hum of a tuning fork. It’s just there. It’s here with me all the time. White noise, impersonal roar. Deadening incandescence of the boarding terminals. But even these soul-free, sealed-off places are drenched with meaning, spangled and thundering with it. Sky Mall. Portable stereo systems. Mirrored isles of Drambuie and Tanqueray and Chanel No. 5. I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers— hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark— and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful. Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet— for me, anyway— all that’s worth living for lies in that charm? A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are. Because— isn’t it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture—? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.” Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections andall the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?
(Tartt, Donna (2013-10-22). The Goldfinch (p. 761). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.)