Looking back on this blog – I realize I should focus a bit more. Liveblogging should probably not go here, but somewhere else, and I can link to it from here.
I could also go back through every post to add tags. Cleaning up my other blogs seems impossible because they’re too huge already, but this one’s not so bad.
Why this blog? I thought it could help me to have a public non-pseudonymous presence. I have these essays on poetics from a few years ago, which I should post here and be done with it. I have feelings that my thoughts and visions about literature and blogging and my approach to the Internet have roots in common. Whatever that unity is, I have not yet found a way to explain it, even thought the feeling’s still strong.
Since my first encounter with computers and even the thought of AI, I have felt that computers in relation to humans are beautiful. Part of the love I feel is twined with feminism; the Cyborg Manifesto expresses this very well. Now, I had not read the Cyborg Manifesto when I was 10 and pounding away on the keys of my neighbors Apple II or Kaypro to make it write poetry. And yet felt so deeply sitting there that I was in love in an science-fiction-loving way, with the future, with a key, a key to liberation or unity of something broken in myself and in society. Before my contact with the net, I loved the idea of it. In front of the fuzzy glowing green letters on the black screen my mind was taking off to imagine infinite things; my own robotic arms extending into space in a mining colony, or the beautiful moment when the computer talked back. When you meet a tool like that, that is not quite a tool, that is an artistic medium but more than that, it’s an important moment. While all machines have beauty to me, I don’t feel the same about a xerox machine or even a typewriter, though maybe about certain architecture or performances or cities. Complexity, constructedness, potential and space – space as in room; an organic work of art that invites participation in its own construction. It makes the human imagination bigger. Some vast imaginariness collective unconscious reservoir of potential opens up!
This is nonsense and mysticism, but I still want to talk about it.
I was thinking of this today, as I did my “bridgeblogging” and some translation from Spanish. So went to look up the exact quote. It’s from Revolutionary Letter #31 by Diane Di Prima.
better we should all have homemade flutes
and practice excruciatingly upon them, one hundred years
till we learn to
make our own music
(In contrast to children in Bengal spending their lives in factories not singing because singing is for export, for Folkways records.)
I do try to “practice excruciatingly” – thus my blogs and poetry. I understand what Di Prima is saying – it is the “Are my hands clean?” of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s song – and the answer is no. I wonder if Di Prima listens to Folkways records. It is a poem worth thinking about, even if you don’t live by it, as I am not.
I hope that my blogging, reading and writing, have a net benefit for everyone. As a translator I do worry about this and issues of “cultural capital” and I don’t really have an answer. Oh, the guilty socialist intellectuals who don’t know what to do! I’m not complaining, but there it is. I wonder if it is that I believe not in Art (which di Prima’s poem is against) but in Information. Well, against it when it’s set against the value of human life. “not all the works of Mozart worth one human life”. Instead we believe we are saving lives by our techno info hippie art – but whose? Whose lives or whose privilege?
I believe in what I do! But I remain suspicious of it and of the structures that support it.
Now here’s a fine sounding event… which I’ll just repost even though I’m white and not in Brooklyn. Just to wave my pompoms a little bit in the general direction, and spread the word.
Tongues Afire: Creative Writing Workshop for Queer Women, Trans Women and
Gender Non Conforming Women of Color*
October 5, 2006 – December 14, 2006
Workshop Facilitator: R. Erica Doyle
What: Creative Writing Workshops
When: Thursdays, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Audre Lorde Project, 85 South Oxford Street; Brooklyn, NY 11217**
How much: FREE
How to Apply: Send an email with your contact information to
firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the workshop.
Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration Deadline: Monday, October 2, 2006