Every time I am away from writing on the blog the task of starting up again seems daunting. A lot of things have been happening (conceptually, not physically) and it seems like I should leave some sort of pointer for myself or my audience as to why I have abruptly shifted tracks. These changes, to me at least, are never really all that sudden. They grow slowly, as I read different things and compare them to things I’ve already read. I am forever seeing patterns. It’s a curse of sorts.
In Croquet space, they have “beacons” you can drop so that you can find your way back in the multiple worlds you might wander through. No such feature exists for consciousness, save an occasional sensual marker that triggers that Proustian flood of thoughts connected with an object of some sort. Real life has no such markers; it seems to just move on without end.
I’ve tried to get myself to write “manifestos” from time to time, to lay out the basic things that I can agree with and those that I don’t. But it never works. The core concepts of what I’ve been researching have shifted a lot in the last several years. I always tend to return to photo history, because it is material that (I think) has a greater resonance to a broader audience that the nit-picks of various rhetorical constructs. But by avoiding writing down what I really can’t buy about some theories I think I risk losing the critical path I followed to reach my conclusions. It becomes increasingly important to remember them—I can’t invest the effort needed to reconstruct these pathways. But when I do elaborate these tangental paths, I fear that this “public space” becomes a lot more boring.
There must be some sort of balance to be struck. Some way of placing a marker so that I can find my way back without provoking too much discussion about it which would derail me from where I really want to go. Talking about what seem to me to be really simple concepts requires a great deal of justification depending on the audience I am speaking to. Talking to a group of people who had not taught writing (and a few that had) I recently had to justify my attempts to “spatialize” such concepts as tropes and essay structures. I think it makes them easier to understand—but most people just can’t “see” how you can talk about writing as having a “shape.”
Is writing a pointer or a shape? That’s a discussion that I just can’t really get into right now. I was attempting to set down a pointer, not argue any sort of point.