Wednesday, April 13, 2011

to turnings of the season

morning view from my office window
by J J Cohen

stuffed in strata of glow
Katherine out of bed fifteen minutes early, silly faces from the couch as Alex breakfasts. He'd been telling me about the worlds fans design for his Halo game: a parthenon on an rugged island where insectile creatures lurk; a ship with green bombs that stick to whatever they touch; a map that places Saruman's tower on a distant planet. We leave Alex to his toast and blueberries while Katherine guides me upstairs, eager to reveal the order forms she's fashioned for the department store run from her bedroom. I fill one out, requesting a birthday card for Wendy, decorated with frogs. Katherine brushes her teeth, dresses, and sets to work. I know that when I return from campus today there'll be a card awaiting, along with a bill for services.

Out into a rainy morning, and the fifteen minute walk to Metro, thinking about what my children think about, where it comes from and to what it will lead.

an ocean away
Voyages accomplished: matter as actant, vital, desiring, ecologies; the necessity of intermediaries, angels, incubi, latimers, messengers, letters, magicians, clerks, texts, metaphors, vessels, animals, flowers, potions; the stories of those left behind even as the world attains its vibrancy; ecomaterialism and aesthetics; composing rather than critiquing; the necessity of failure and fuck ups; the necessity of love (if that is what like Empedocles and Boethius we can call an elemental stirring and binding); the saturation of our stories by water, by flow; the instability of all materiality, whether it withdraws or not; the promise of werewolves and other in-betweens; the pleasures of woods, pack, inhumanity; the body and the classroom as laboratories; posthumanism, the allure of oranges, and agental drift; stories from the underground, as when Merlin reveals a pool inside of which is stone out of which erupt two dragons in constant battle; the sensory power of art; the frenetic life of stone and metals; the importance of community to conversation; how time explodes from objects, even when they recede; the necessity of writing; the portable lapidary that is a cloth, a gown, and woman's labor; the dignity and mystery of things.

Our last formal meeting of the Objects seminar ended with presentations: some for traditional papers, others for a conference we'll hold in two weeks to conclude the course. The topics ranged widely, and I won't reproduce them here. Enough to say that they rendered evident how multidirectional the seminar has been. The temptation in each was to embrace as many of our scattered vectors as possible, to bring them into a coherence, to yield a shielding semblance of coverage. I repeatedly urged, Think smaller. Be vulnerable. Twelve weeks can't become twenty five pages, or fifteen minutes of address. Not everything can converge. We ate pizza together and learned what inspires each of us towards the end of our being together.

I'll miss this seminar and its Wednesday transformations. I'll miss the students, some of whom are finishing their graduate work and moving to new futures. I'll likely not return to the classroom until spring of 2013, and that seems a long time away. But to know that I leave the class changed from the person who instigated it ... that is something that I'll hold, and hope some others feel the same.

No comments: