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It is leaving, II.

et502's picture

Original: Leaves – I don’t remember much from my HS biology class. But I remember learning about leaves and pigment and autumn – the trees withdraw their support, close/sever ties with the leaves… lack of the connection means gradual death, going out (for some) in a fiery blaze of color – colors that were there under the surface all along, only waiting for enough chloroplasts to die so they could shine through. Something like that.

Comments: prefaced with my memory – my incomplete memory of scientific fact as a lens (can you take this seriously?). Personification of the trees, the colors…

Re-vision: Seeing the leaving is forcing re-levating/re-calling studying biology and the changing of seasons in high school. Leaving is withdrawing support, severing ties. Leaving is lacking connection, moving towards death, going out blazing and firing color. Leaving is dying. Leaving is making space for waiting colors. Now, coloring is happening, shining though.

 Comments: I think the original was a kind of half-hearted attempt at both rheomodic writing and "unnatural writing" - combining the intensity of death with pastoral/calm actions. So in the re-write, I tried to focus just on the rheomode, the action or the inaction, re-levating information rather than moving from one actor to another (myself to trees to colors), or assigning postitive/negatives to events that were occuring. 



mturer's picture


Your revision, specifically the part which mentions "leaving is lacking connection" is really intriguing. I first read it as "departing is lacking connection," and I'm not sure if you did this intentionally or not, but the fact that I was initially distracted by the original form of "leaving" made your point more powerful. Leaving, the action of a leaf, is also the action of departure, so it's almost like our language has framed the essence of a leaf as something that departs or separates. A very interesting linguistic situation has been created here!

et502's picture

that was exactly what I was

that was exactly what I was trying to get at! I was thinking about that heading, "it is leaving," and how it could be interpreted in multiple ways: leaves are falling, summer/life is departing. And the meaning gets away from me -there are so many other things that I could have meant or said without intending to mean anything by it. 

I just went on the OED for the definitions of "leave, v."

7. To depart from, quit, relinquish. (which could imply more of a balance, both the tree letting go and the leaf quitting or relinquishing)

8b. To part with, lose (one's breath, life). (this seems more like the definition I was using)

Also, a little more abstract: Up until the 1600s, leaving could be considered "In the course of narration: To drop, cease speaking of." (if we cease speaking of something, are we in the process of putting it behind us, dropping it? When we leave a season, it seems like we can't help talking about it - is this a way to mourn and make the leaving more gradual?)

Smacholdt's picture

Role of Self in Rheomode?

I think that it's interesting that in order to write in the rheomode you almost have to remove your own experience from the prose. In your revising you don't talk at all about your experience in high school biology or your own interpretation of it. I had a similar experience with my own re-write. I wasn’t able to include myself in it because I wanted to focus exclusively on the natural processes happening around me. Is there a way for humans to depict their own experiences authentically in the rheomode? 

et502's picture

I think we probably depict

I think we probably depict our own experiences, but not as individuals. It's always a collective identity - one that involves the environment where actions take place - at least, that's how I've interpreted it. We're positioned somewhere in all that action. We exist, even though we aren't named as actors. Right?