Several months after Phil left, I began keeping a journal. At first, the entries were sparse – a paragraph or two every couple of weeks – but eventually I found a rhythm, writing a page or more at a sitting, two to three times a week. I kept this up for over a year, until James and I made our pact to start blogs exactly three months ago. The rest is in the archives.
I far prefer blogging to journal writing, which had started to feel like I was talking to myself. Here, there is at least the intimation of a reader—or better, an audience, since a reader remains a mute possibility, whereas an audience has the temerity to respond. I am, I have realized, intensely dialogical in my thinking and feeling: I need others to converse with, to empathize with, to argue and reach consensus with. Although I am learning the merits of solitude, I still require the fuel of relationship, with mentors and colleagues and lovers and friends and the ones in between. There hardly seems any point otherwise.
When I write here, I imagine Arit reading, and Oblivia, and Atomic and D. Ada tells me go deeper; Maz tells me to be let myself be funny. (I’ll be funny again soon, Maz, I promise!) Lately, people I don’t know have been writing to tell me things, and I can’t help but wonder who they are and how they got here and what their stories are.
But the one who is always with me here is James, though I don’t always understand why or what we are to each other. I suppose that I love him anyway, because we’ve been telling each other stories for a long time now, and neither of us has stopped listening yet.
But what does this have to do with academia? Nothing, and everything, and maybe this:
Theory is not something that comes from on high: it is the (re)making sense of our own stories so that they make sense to ourselves and others.1
And thus the circus, the transvestite, the clown, the acrobat and the stripper are returned to the centre of the world, so that representation is ultimately a game of the stage, the bedroom and the streets, all at the same time, but also funny. . . If this is a literate, intellectual happiness, it is a happiness, a laughter, which is possible only because one is literate, intellectual.2
So here’s to laughing our asses off. And to Ioan.
1. Davies, Ioan. Cultural Studies and Beyond: Fragments of Empire. (New York: Routledge, 1995), 4.
2. Ibid., 179.