Life as an Extreme Sport

A Tuesday Update

I’m sitting in the middle of a large pile of bedding, things that have been stripped from my bed as I take advantage of the early morning and actually being awake to my third – yes third – load of laundry in less than 24 hours. The idea of clean towels and sheets is enough to make me purr. Which might be an odd thing to mention on an academic journal, but hey…

No, I mention it because I feel like it means a bit of balance is swinging back into my life. After finishing my course outline last week, I sort of melted a bit and needed to step away from academia. The outline, potluck, and a few other things worked against me to the point that I was really feeling violent, for lack of a better word. A weekend of not doing much other than work and a Packers game was what I needed to get back in the headspace of loving what I do. Monday, while starting off badly, ended most fabulously: grades received for the practicum I took, another professor offering to write me a letter of recommendation without my first asking, funding for my trip from a surprise source, hearing about the impact I’ve had on yet another person just through casual conversation, finding out I’m apparently the go-to person for network theory and affect (I am? Oh shit…), getting my travel funding requests in, getting my travel arrangements lined up – it was like that mini-break was all I needed for all the chips to fall into place.

Of course, since it all happened on a Monday, I’m feeling very ambivelent about the rest of the week – it might not bode so well for me.

In less general and more academic terms, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about affect, a la Massumi, while simultaneously rereading Bruno Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern, one of my favourite books of theory. It’s been a while since I’ve picked it up, and in that while my interest in time has developed; imagine my surprise to see just how much time informs his notions of networks and modern critical theory, and the bifurcation between the two. (There’s a very pretty graph, but alas, it’s a graph.) I really am going to need to buckle down, soon, and read Deleuze’s Cinema One; Phillip has suggested that I read Spinoza’s Ethics first, which is just a good idea in several regards, so I’m actually bringing that with me today.

Affect and time. Integrating them is going to be interesting, because in many ways affect temporarily displaces you from time – similar to Greenblatt’s wonder, it is that which occurs before you categorize it as occuring. Time is – well, huh. Time is your ever-moving through the present, with potentiality in front of you and a constantly shifting understanding of what happened prior behind you. Is time, in part, a construct to assist in the filtering and understanding of affect? That’s probably a reach, but it’s worth knocking around. (Actually, what would be worth knocking around is the idea of time in general with Alan, but I’ve to find an opportunity where he wouldn’t mind discussing it. I should make that happen, though, since he’s one of the only other people I know of interested in time…)

I’ve not been writing too much in an academic vein lately, which I should really amend, but believe me, the thoughts are kicking around in my head, violently trying to fly out.