When I called to beg off on Project Runway tonight, Jeremy told me that this week there wouldn’t be a new episode. I explained that I was going to spend some quality time with myself before asking for Paul. I griped to Paul about the self-absorbed and pedagogically disinclined attitude of one of our colleagues. He told me about a lunch meeting on Friday near my home. I told him to email me.
Catherine and I spent an hour together this afternoon. We did a quick catch-each-other-up. I never would have thought this possible before today but we were fucking efficient! No joke. I told her about how happy I am that for the first time in four years I found myself in my perfect space: relationally unattached, intellectually engaged, and emotionally stable. I’m not smarting over a lost relationship, not mourning the death of a loved one’s loved one, certain that the career I’ve chosen to pursue nearly a decade ago can further the person I am becoming, that I’ve been all along.
The weather turned beautiful the day before yesterday, and I can’t stop running.
My teaching is undergoing a massive shift in process, mainly because I am representing my primary and secondary texts by new means (yes, Tinderbox). Yesterday, Tuesday, I worked entirely from pipsqueak and my class could see on the projection screen everything I could: the structure I’d built as a framework for the ideas I had about Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; the incidental and extended notations I make while soliciting their comments and interpretations; the video clip of Shirley Temple and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in Irving Cummings’ 1938 Just Around the Corner. Even though I’d gotten only four hours of sleep becoming, once again, Thomas Jefferson (except that day I did come home and nap).
At some point during my reading today (Andrew Scull’s 2005 Madhouse), I thought about the convention I’d recently discovered: TK. I’ve used different means of noting in my unfinished manuscripts places that needed a specific piece of information I did not have readily available (Google goes a long way to obviating such usage) or which required a passage I was not prepared to write (which usually meant I hadn’t researched my subject thoroughly enough). So compact: TK. They are also the initials of the person, a figure really, that I fell in love with at the age of thirteen.
Since then (most notably the summer of 2004 when I finished the second half of my dissertation at 1501 Oxford Road), the fact that my feelings did not center around an actual person as much as around the concept of “the loved one” became more than intuitional deduction. When Phil explained to me that the person around whom I’d built that fantasy of connection and loss characterized me as obsessed, well, I understood that she understood nothing about what brings writing into being.
Writing for a muse is not writing to a person or even about a person, even if the muse figure is connected to that person. The real-world relationships affected by the writing are themselves distortions of a purer ideational moment, domain, sequence. Even the real-world writer, me, is not coincident with the speaker of the writing. That being, depending on how one views such things, is either a purer or reduced instance of the real-world person usually identified as a work’s “author.” I am not the entity spoken in the writing, though I am the most proximate embodied instance of that purer ideational form. There is a split in the subject where writing begins. Flesh-and-bone exist in the realm of degree one of authorial embodiment; the entity inhabiting the space of the writing itself exists in the real of degree zero. Nothing precedes it.
Writing does not originate in the specificity of first love, romantic disillusion, emotional loss, except as these things are themselves pure ideas. First degree phenomena insinuate into the zero degree space of writing but without causality. Writing is prior to the stupid fact of belief and feeling. I write as the proximal effect (nearest descendant) of something that is not me.
You are not the reason this writing exists.