jim leftwich on mg’s “glitchasemic2” (in diaphanous press, fall 2017)

glitchasemic 2
Marco Giovenale
glitched asemic writing 7.17 x 9.98 cm.


“climbing high mountains / tryin to get home” — repeated four times, in Blind ​Willie McTell’s voice, as my first thought when looking at this glitchasemic (later in the same song McTell sings “I am bearin’ the names of many, tryin to get home”)​.​
i have to force myself to think of Bill Beamer’s “​​dritings”
and of Marco’s “​​drawritings”​.​
both of these configurations seem foced in the extreme,
radically constructed, so much so that i would prefer something
that didn’t even attempt a seamless hybrid​,​
maybe “writrawings”​.​
i know exactly where i am here, and it is in the midst of a swarming
excess of meanings, as far from the experience of something “having
no semantic content” as i could possibly be.
the late re-definition of the term “asemic” to mean “having no specific
semantic content” doesn’t solve this problem, it merely redefines the
prefix “a-” as synonymous with “poly-“.​ that simply doesn’t work.​
McTell’s voice in my mind makes me think of Ginsberg/Trungpa’s axiom
“first thought, best thought”. “was it even my thought?” is what i am thinking now?
i don’t think so.
it wasn’t even my second mind, to offer a nod to Howlin Wolf, it was
a spontaneous association while looking at Marco’s tiered glitchasemic.
the image is beautiful, stratified and slowly receding, blips and
scratches of the once-written, now a scree and a talus of broken
I am bearin’ the names of many, tryin to get home.
​it has been suggested by some that the​ asemic is a return to or a glimpse of the pre-written, but i don’t experience it that way and i find it disingenuous to attempt to persuade myself that the asemic is the pre-written whether i experience it that way or not.
i experience it, always, as a failed attempt at achieving the post-written. it is not driven by nostalgia or regret, it is driven by anxiety and aspiration. it is a writing against itself, not a writing prior to itself. as such, it exists precisely as a variety of writing, and the mind responds to it by reading, i.e., by giving off meanings like a fire gives off smoke.

i have been working with and against the idea of asemic writing for 20 years now, using the term asemic writing for all of those years. in January of 1998 i ​said in an email to Tim Gaze that ​”the asemic text would seem to be an ideal, an impossibility, but​ ​possibly worth pursuing for just that reason.​” ​ that’s what makes the idea of asemic writing interesting. it is a specific failure of writing, and will always be so, and we have known that all along, from the outset of our activities. asemic writing is the embrace of a potentially beautiful failure in writing. it will not ever be what it says it is. that’s the only reason to ever want it.

— Jim Leftwich