Wednesday, May 11, 2011

archive fever

I’ve narratively laughed at myself as collector of books. My desire in collecting news, my journaling (none online), my desire in a little 3x5 notebook I carry around when I’m out shopping or on the train, is a funny obsession about capturing ephemerality (maybe). I have the most incredible archive of material to draw on for creative work. But I would never use material from someone else without their permission.

Giving to a narrative figure an archive of letters and whatall is a storiational ploy to give myself freedom to claim whatever I want about the figure’s life, as if I’m pursuing biographical interest. The pretext of the character’s archive gives me license. Whatever I have in my actual life is irrelevant to what the character is “reported” to have.

This is part of playing with characterization. I get psychological reward from it, in relation to actual events in my life kept private. I want to do all I can to protect the actuality of my life, apart from what I choose to share (but so evidence of others’ part in my past). It’s about creative resourcefulness, never about exploiting information or knowledge of an actual other.

Archive Fever is the name of a book by Jacques Derrida. The book relates to a widely-treated theme of the dissolution of The Library in our Internetted world; or the stature of textuality as the remainder or “trace” of what has lived, resurrected in reading that’s always interpretive, i.e., a writing in reading. The way that a person can apparently contort his sense of relations to others in terms of literary issues fascinates me. It’s philosophically engaging.

I’m setting up a play of proportions that delights me: [1] a “confessional” section of my website that will be really autobiographical (though barely begun last January—as section, but including a little piece written last September—and shelved for the near term); [2] “literary” explorations and conceptual work framed as the work of a narrative figure (but having academic tenability and historical accuracy, I hope); [3] and the overt “storiation” whose explicit fictionality colors all other narrative as especially non-fictional, but which is anyway (thereby?) resonantly in question (if not as self-effacement) of its own narrativity (implicitly a Question of the narratability of life itself). [That’s quite a paragraph. I think it’s accurate—said the conceptual gardner.]

Here, there’s no pretense (except that I often don’t stand outside my own verbose longing for eloquence that’s largely beyond me). Somewhere online, I have to be the reliable voice of the person I actually am, inasmuch as I’m writing as genuinely as I can, though relishing confession of pretense elsewhere (an egoism of myself I live with—and struggle with), but accepting myself in all self-effacing honesty—which is also a deep confidence in my hard-won, admirable candor (let me humbly say)—largely upcoming (not much online yet)—as I am not unsure about my Project—just post-Woody Allenish about it (ha!—using a last name as modifier because you don’ like it).

Also, the conception of archive fever has academic interest for me, not just as a theme inherited from attraction to others’ academic obsessions. I’m an academic mind at heart, choosing to live outside academia.

Wanting to see someone as on the way to graduate school, by the way, is not displaced fantasy about my own wish to have done graduate work in that area rather than what I did. It’s just academically “natural” to want to promote talent. That’s not about expectations about what others were supposed to have done, such that I see them as lacking for not living up to my fantasies. It’s part of my promotion to others of what enthuses me, which any professor normally does in the classes s/he wants to teach. I’m a Socratic figure, maybe.