When a book features “connections and interrelatedness” prominently, it seems only natural that reading it would set connections in motion — eager feelers dancing through the readingscape (and beyond), sounding it out, causing texts to rub against each other, sparking conversations. Such is the case with Inger Christensen’s collection of essays The Condition of Secrecy , translated by Susanna Nied and published by New Directions.
Here’s a small thread of quotes engaged in an improvisation — in bold: resonant nodes (emphasis mine).
Before we sit down with our paper in order to (maybe, maybe not) write a poem, as well as during the many hours we sit there, that’s the way it is: as if we’ve become lost. The world, which a moment ago, when we were drinking our morning coffee, was perfectly manageable and normal, has once more suddenly become far too big, and even if our consciousness wanders in all directions, bringing small bits of language along, it can’t locate exactly the stone, the plant, the situation, perhaps the incomprehensibility, from which it can find its way back to the world with the aid of a word.
Whether meandering or straight, an essay tries to follow with the closeness of a shadow the mind’s lilts and turns—while recognizing that thought and its expression are inalienably different. There will always be a gap between consciousness and words. In any case, an essay is a composition, not merely a transcription of whatever passes in the mind.
Joseph Killorin, the man handpicked by modernist writer Conrad Aiken to collect and edit his letters, explained in the introduction to Aiken’s Selected Letters that “to write a letter was a way to ‘fix’ the hourly news of consciousness.”
In other words, a single letter has a momentary function that gets lost when read as a back-and-forth exchange. Time passes in the gaps between letters. Life happens between the licking of stamps. There is something a little voyeuristic, a little seedy, a little unfair, perhaps, in looking too closely at the nakedness of a moment without acknowledging the clothed gaps between those bare moments.
 ^ The first pathway starts from the title itself & points to “the condition of secrecy Novalis speaks of when he says, ‘Das Äusere ist ein in einen Geheimniszustand aufgehobenes Innere.‘ (The outer world is the inner world, raised to a condition of secrecy.)” (Inger Christensen, “The Condition of Secrecy,” tr. by Susanna Nied).
 ^ I stumbled on this essay as I was doing some research on Lu Ji’s Wén Fù (文賦: Fu on Literature) after reading about it in one of Inger Christensen’s essays. This pathway leads straight into a rabbit hole — I might do a post on this.