October light, …and ephemerality

October has ripened with its crisp air, its shimmering light, and its colored leaves like shards of golden glass refracting the hues of harvest and reflection. Autumn is a time to pause, to pay attention, and to take account, as our daytime dims and becomes shorter. I hope you have found your own moments to enjoy these rhythmic shifts in the natural world, because they are a bounty that we all should celebrate and share. Nothing lasts forever, but it is beautiful to behold that one thing passes into another. Nature reminds us of this regularly, especially with the shift in seasons.

I am thinking back to our class last week, and so glad to have read A Kiss and also An Infinite Woman with all of you. Thank you to Jules and Jasmine for taking us through the prowess of each story world. Perhaps the common thread in these two pieces is the idea of ephemerality, and also erasure. When thinking about A Kiss together, we talked about the nature of love. And we talked about the difference between “the everydayness” of a life lived with love, verses the grand gestures of romantic stories (think Hallmark channel, etc). I think Dan Wabar shows us how well suited hypertext fiction is in capturing slice-of-life stories, snap shots of love over time, and the everyday minutiae that make up the ebb and flow of real lives lived. Fleeting moments. Moments we forget. Moments that are lost to memory’s editorial hold. But the complex webs that hypertext can build are a kind of storytelling that makes us see so many “sliding door moments” – the shimmering glimpses of moments in time that evaporate. They are lost to us in getting on with life each day, but they still do make up the sum total of love.

In a different sense, the impermanence of our identity and our positioning within the world is addressed with the mash-up poetry of The Infinite Woman. In this piece, we start to think about how the overall concept of womanhood and femininity has be “framed” by a male artist with a prominent male gaze. And how it has also been “recuperated anew” – by a feminist philosopher interested in the disruption of power held within that familiar male gaze. By reading and interacting with these two tracts, we come to see the limits of gender construction itself (and more specifically “femininity”) as a performance. As the fog slowly erases the screen of our words selected, the curtain drops on any final positing of what a woman is. We start to realize that the act of representation (…of “writing the woman”) is an ephemeral fantasy, something that will always be attempted, but never contained as a final “whole”.

Class slides & agenda

Your to-do list:

Read Giselle’s selection: Retratos Vivos de Mama

Read Nicole’s selection: How to Rob a Bank

Blog due: Reflect on your understanding of one or both of these readings!

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