Somatic Review of How Phenomena Appear to Unfold by Leslie Scalapino
How Phenomena Appear to Unfold Leslie Scalapino Litmus Press (2011) $24
As you open the Cover to How Phenomena Appear to Unfold, take your time. Observe the pheasant, hanging as though being let of blood. Observe the peacocks witnessing the butchering process. (Let this say something to you about art and writing before reading a single word inside the cover.) OKAY. NOW. Proceed to the table of contents, skip over the praise from big-wigs. Form your own opinions. Look over the headings, but don’t think too hard about them. Pick a place to begin or not to begin, but be sure to start with the first word. Maybe flip back to the author’s headshot so you can see her beautiful smiling face and get a sense of her happiness at your happiness (hopefully you are happy as you read this book—MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECSION TO BE HAPPY). This book is about phenomena, discovery, alteration. Find yourself within the pages. Read an essay and make that home. Read a play and make that home too. Occupy each bubble of words like it was your last breath, and notice how this phenomena makes your body feel. When you get to the art, imagine yourself in the image. You could read nothing but the images, or read them first or read them last. As reader, you are collaborator. Between each new page, concept, essay, orwhathaveyou, take a break. Allow the information to stick in your short-term memory. Sleep on it if it helps. Literally, under your pillow. This is about you. You’ll want to remember as much of this as possible. This is the ‘Division of Fact and Experience’, ‘to reinstate (restate) experiencing in space, the mind/eye making estimations/approximations as concepts that are the same as being in space:” let the reading takeover your mind, let your mind take over your body. How does this phenomena make you feel? MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO BE HAPPY.
Is this a “relational state”? Consider how you abstracted, abducted or absconded this book. This is phenomena, too and if you know anything about coincidence, is it coincidence that I should be writing this and you should be reading it? Turn to page 66. Read the little paragraph beginning, “The actual” this is my message to you, the reader, from me, the reviewer. Why? Because this book is not fiction or news. BUT the ideas are NEW. Enough.
Review by: Caroline Swanson