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Raindrops

I really don’t quite understand the full significance of the raindrops but it is abundantly clear that they tie so many different aspects of this novel together. Raindrops are the strangest phenomena in this novel, Xanther seems to connect with this force of nature that certainly has a deeper meaning to its constant appearances. What do the raindrops have to do with the Xanther’s panic attacks and the narcons that each character is defined by? It’s possible that Xanther’s epilepsy ties into her ability to sift through other characters feelings and emotions in narcons and their computer code, but she is haunted by this influx of data causing her to have massive panic attacks. Her connection to the cat and her hunger for the number of raindrops displays her undeniable ability while that ability is still unable to be explained. Danielewski alludes to Xanther’s lonely battles with the rain on pg 66, “Like a ghost. A ghost in the raindrops.” Xanther has always been bullied and hasn’t been able to fit in due to her epileptic tendencies but the ability to read others thoughts and emotions could really have caused all these discrepancies with her peers. Borrowing from Kirschenbaum’s “Bookscapes,” the raindrops appear to be Xanther’s affordance between the narcons, other characters emotions and feelings, and her struggle to understand these frantic events while raining. Xanther unknowingly uses the rain to float between the layers of knowledge and power among the VEM, narcons, and other characters.

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R-S-V-P-C

I want to discuss the letters and respective words at the beginning that we could interpret as a roadmap of connecting lines, weaving threads, overarching categories of continuity and significance.

I don’t have them all figured out yet. How they might relate to one another in congruence to the character plots calling out to one another, whether the order matters R-S-V-P-C, whether these words were chosen to locate specific moments within the text or to spark our imaginative assemblage of meanings under the umbrella constructed by them…??

In any case, I will connect as many dots as I can… (missing S and P. Ideas welcome)

On this rainy day in May, the individual world’s of each character connect at the point of a narrative constant, the rain remains.

R is for Rain-

Rain, I believe, stands for infinity. OR the possibility of an answer too infinite to hold on to- the space beyond knowing. How many raindrops? is not the underlying question being asked. Rather, the question is “How far am I from grasping infinity?” Isn’t that Xanther’s greatest cause for anxiety? Not knowing how much is out there and feeling like she should be able to figure it out somehow? If she could just ask the right question.
The number of raindrops is out there. “Dancing on the pavement” even if she can’t know it.

“Terror tightens around the child’s eyes. Finally something about Hopi that isn’t wobbly. Terror doesn’t wobble. It knows what it is.” (223)

Hopi and Xanther share a common trembling anxiety. Hopi bites his blue pencil, Xanther sings the Question Song. The wobbling tremor of their minds’ racing is not for fear, but rather in anticipation of the thing they fear most. Death, I’d suspect. Or rather, a painful death, one without care, one without reason. Being lost or alone before the end. [all the characters might actually share this in common {all beings might}].
The questions, although we know them to be never-ending, and possibly unanswerable, still cause us to tremble in the wake of their enormity, and we worry that we will die before we know what it was we were looking for. “As if begging for and answer. Even the echo of an old answer. As if begging for the comfort of just knowing itself to be begging could suffice” -Cas (150).

This anxious, desperate desire {and simultaneous dread} for unknown answers is the violent side of infinity.

V is for Violence-

A stormy cold night is a good setting for Violence, or at least that’s what hollywood and old murder mysteries tell us. The climactic action happens in a downpour where blood and rain and sweat and tears seem to flow as one down into…earth, deeper darkness, an end. The Violent End of All.
“Even the planet itself orbits against itself, with constant anomalies threatening to set it loose, heading toward unreachable light or surrendering to the dark obliterating mass at the galaxy’s core.” (135).

Özgür – “When you are standing in the rain where the dead have lain and the blood has mostly washed away, it makes sense then to think only of her” Katla Katla Katla.
Surrounded by relentless violence and grey storms, we think of the ones we love, the ones who cared for us as we cared for them.

Does the rain know death like we do?
Maybe. And the people that were, the paraphysical entities that were, the animals that were, know there will be a violent end to all of this, but we will probably have already faded into a convoluted or lost history by then.

“All those memories lost. Like tears in rain. Time to die.” -Blade Runner
This storm, too, will rage with war, and eventually, will come too, to silent death.
“Easy as rain. Quiet as what comes after rain” (210)

Could it be that there is still Hope in spite of all this dismal destruction? Could the questions be- perhaps not answered, but- brightened, given a lighter quality than the dense doom of a raging storm?

The sun won’t stay behind the cloud.
-Armenian proverb.
The sun, a familiar friend, warm and bright, gives us light, to ignite the path towards tomorrow.

‘C’ is for Custody
…and Care…and Cariño (not your Google bitch)…

‘C’ coincidentally, also stands for Cat, which is the entity that counteracts the magnifying grandiosity of infinity (‘R’).

Perhaps those that hear well will find something Captured which escapes Contemplation. -Bill Evans
The one who hears the Cry for help and answers it, will in turn have answered for themselves, what they had been searching for, in the rain. Xanther pays attention. She hears. And Cares enough to go searching for the source of the Cry.

The Cat, unlike the rain, is something small and sweet and needs to be Cared for, requires to mathematical Computation, nor violent methods of Control; a kitten needs protection and Care and love. This affectiona (not just for the Cat, but Care for Xanther, [and Care given by Xanther] {Also how Cas and Bobby Care for each other}) is what makes this Catastrophic kaleidoscope of Colors and Cacophonies, darkening destruction, and infinitely quantifiable raindrops, possible. It adds Calm to the Chaos.

“Even this kitten beside her seems nothing other than simplicity itself.

Also in place

Also arranged.

Also safe…
the kitten is here at her side and even if nothing seems to have changed everything suddenly feels manageable.

Or better:

answerable.”

(p.839)

Realms of Existence

I’m calling this post ‘Realms of Existence’ and have tagged a lot of things because I really find that the way this book works–the more you read and think about every decision that went into what Danielewski has created–you will find that it’s all  truly somehow related. That being said, I’m specifically wanting to talk about narrative presentation [i.e. syntax format] and how that relates to the larger idea of mediation and social existence.

In narrative form, whether first-person or third-person omniscient, an author usually leaves out some things and instead places subtleties or nuances that the learnèd reader would then pick up on and interpret accordingly. What I love/hate about this novel [specifically in the Ibrahim family chapters {though it can be seen everywhere in one way or another}] is that he leaves nothing out. Every thought that passes this character’s mind is on the page there. Take this passage from pp. 393-394:

Xanther [at once] punches the spacebar [another laugh from everyone {Xanther more eager than ever <which wouldn’t disturb Anwar <<it’s good that she’s excited and enthusiastic>> were it not for one of her wildly pumping legs <<her right>> sometimes <<though certainly not always ((and certainly not even often))>> signalling the onset of an event> is that what’s on the immediate horizon?} Anwar’s breath always coming up short at just the thought].

This stream-of-consciousness inner dialogue and over-explanation of every little thing is somewhat taxing for the reader. [It adds to what we know {what Danielewski wants us to know} about what’s happening, though, and it does encourage us to {if even subconsciously <though as the learnèd readers we can/have all decided to read into everything mediated to us>} read much more quickly]. Even in this very post, I’ve attempted to do something similar. I just find it worth noting and something that’s both interesting/intriguing and taxing. It’s nothing like I’ve ever read before, this book.

But what that makes me think about is things are communicated to us and how we exist in society, constructed inevitably through communication. The realms of existence for all of us could also be annotated in a similar way.

I am human [that is, homo sapien {North American <American <<South Carolinian ((Florentine))>>>}].

That’s a more taxonomic look at my existence but socially, it’s the same [and with social media and the Internet, we have the introduction of something that complicates everything {not necessarily in a bad way}].

Timehop allows me to see what I posted on twitter last year [which I then can share on instagram {which I can also tell to post on both twitter again <and facebook<<which ultimately means my mother will see it ((which I wouldn’t mind [[if I hadn’t called her a cow in the post]]))>>>}].

This all being said, I love how this books make us analyze how we specifically present our existence in narrative form–certainly a type of media [a medium]. It’s almost a sort of code [but that’s another blogpost altogether..].