So I'm back to blogging, for what it's worth. Word on the street – which means word on Facebook & Twitter & all those other micro-statement-instant-response-gratification venues – is that blogging is dead, that nobody wants to read anything longer than 140 characters. Who knows? It's not like I have a serious case of logorrhea, or need to write an essay every week or so, but it's nice to stretch out. So what if I know every single person who's visiting? It's not like I'm selling anything, after all.
When I visit a site like Acadamnit, I get the urge to vent – about the state of writing, about my chosen – ahem – profession, about the shitty little hoops they have us jumping thru. (Cf. last post, for instance – "cf.," by the way, is short for the Latin confer, meaning "compare" or "check this out": just another instance of the kind of verbal sclerosis you start to suffer from when you spend too much time in the academy.) But if I wanted to vent about silliness going on in my own department – that "if" being a total hypothetical, mind you – I wouldn't, because after all this isn't an anonymous blog, like Acadamnit or Academic Cog or Not of General Interest, some other academic blogs I really admire.
Any way, unlike say Bob Archambeau, whose mini-essays on Samizdat I take it all circle around the big-ass book he's got cooking in the laboratory, little I've written here over the past year or so has much relation to whatever I'm "officially" writing. That's okay. And I'm on vacation, after all, so I can't be expected to be doing much real thinking.
Speaking of vacation: We're on Fire Island, as I probably mentioned. Not the party-till-you-drop section, or the Oz-on-the-beach bits popularized by Frank O'Hara & WH Auden, but a rather sedate, old-fashioned "family" community. No cars, just bicycles; no streets, just boardwalks. No restaurants, just a general store where everything is twice as expensive as it is in Manhattan.
We've been pretty much dividing the weeks between the Island & Manhattan, trying to cram in kultur & friend-meeting over the weekends, then kicking back and listening to the surf during the weeks. But of course it's not working out that way: we see friends & shows & go to museums on the weekends, then try to write on the Island. J. has a juggler's plenty of projects she's working on; there are library books all over the beach house. Me, I'm trying to focus on a single big essay – so I've brought almost nothing not directly related thereto. Mirabile dictu (that's not academese – that's high school Latin), in the interstices of working on my suntan (I have this theory that fat guys look thinner when they've got a good tan) I've managed to crank out more than a few thousand words, most of them arranged in sentences I'm not deeply embarassed by.
Brief kultur notes:
•"Dream Machine," the Brion Gysin show at the New Museum on the Bowery, is a must-see for those interested in performance poetry, cut-ups, & general drugginess. And they've got a first-rate bookstore.
•On the roof of the Met, Doug & Mike Starn have erected a massive labyrinth of bamboo trunks tied together with climbing rope. It's worth seeing, tho I wonder if Bloomberg (which underwrote the thing) got the doper reference in the title: "Big Bambú." (And hey, the Met is always worth visiting, if only for the Balthuses, which never get old.)
•At the theater at Hunter College we saw a sublime performance of The Magic Flute, which the girls sat thru entranced – even the second act, what I like to refer to as "The Sublime Allegory of Enlightenment Meets All that Masonic Shit."
•The Pierpont Morgan has a wonderful exhibition on Romanticism & gardening/landscape, as well as a bunch of small but tasty mini-shows – Albrecht Dürer, Sumerian seals, Palladio (that latter not so small).