In the Afterlife Delia Graff Fara Critiques Her Obituary
Delia Graff Fara, a noted professor of philosophy of language at Princeton University, died peacefully at home July 18 after a chronic illness.
Okay, how vague is peaceful? Peaceful to whom? Did my heart not struggle- fight for each last pump? Did my lungs not strive, air-push against collapse? Did each of my synapses not scream? Even if relief was desired, even if tired, didn’t this body battle? And died, yet here I am, in this article, in this poem, in my daughter’s very cells. What of this word chronic— not able to encompass the lurking uninvited appearance at birthday parties, date nights, on a Tuesday. Peaceful, is this the last word for me? How did she die? Peacefully
Peaceful, I know is not included for me. Peaceful is for the satisfaction, the peace of those still living, whatever that means.
Pierre’s desire for some champagne may be vague because of the vagueness in just how much champagne is required to satisfy it.
Shifting Sands: An Interest-Relative Theory of Vagueness
Pierre desires enough champagne to feel like the weight of his brain is a little bit less than eight pounds little flamingo inflatable in the pool of all these worries Pierre desires one more glass large please pour till the bubbles kiss the top over again little fishmouth bubbles and isn’t that funny Pierre desires more champagne probably the bottle empty now head fizz stomach fuzz a hotdog maybe and why are there no hotdogs at places that have champagne is this tipsy acceptable paid
thirty dollars for the glass can Pierre act like an ass now thinks of his mother pursed lips and desires more champagne eats the strawberries just in case they had sipped some up a surprise treat Pierre thinks his desire can never by satiated it was unknown when he began thinking a glass was the exact amount desired
an answer to the question: significant to whom?
200,000 deaths and yet folks say its the same as the flu say its only 1 percent and yet forget that each of those tallies those numbers were more than a counter click all bone and tooth and mother people citing overreaction as bodies are buried in boxes alone oh just prisoners, migrant workers elderly just weak just nothing i don’t know them my mother says nothing will change until everyone is affected until everyone loses someone until we all will know to whom this is significant
Talking to Brooke about the concept of vagueness and say my first lesson is always in specificity. Don’t say cereal, say Cheerios. Don’t say some, say half a bowl, say fifty- seven little O’s. Say almond milk, say lactose problems, let the reader relate. Maybe that is the point. We try to be so exact, ask a stranger to our breakfast table, to our chair, to our body, our breaths, our anxieties and triumphs. Perhaps we can’t stand the idea of vague because we are desperate, because we are trying to bridge the gap between you and me because we are trying to cure the lonely.
out of hand
when does the touch become a grip become a hold? when do we know if we have a grasp on it, so slippery so easy to drop to be held and then not? you know the one about the frogs being boiled not knowing the water is hot. when does it become hot? when does it become the death of us? when does the desire become the vice become the choice no longer? what hand is the clock at? when does the turn back become impossible?