Saturday, December 31, 2011

"*If you have just one project, such as a dissertation, it can feel like a scary monolith rising in the desert. If you don’t feel like dealing with it, you’ll waste time watching TV, web-surfing, getting drunk with friends, whatever. Even in a good mood, when the Muse makes you courageous enough to approach the monolith, you’ll have a good day or two with it and then become intimidated by it again.

That’s why you need to get away from the “lonely desert monolith” conception of projects. You should have several of them simultaneously, like an ecosystem of projects. When you’re sick of one, you can turn to one of the others."

--Graham Harman

Harman's advice is worth repeating: develop an "ecosystem of projects." It's something very much on my mind.

Having retired from my wage-earning activities of the last 34 years, my job now is to write. I've embarked on what's being conceptualized as a year-long project -- a "novel" tentatively entitled APPEARANCES. I don't know if I'm going to be able to carry it off, but I'm giving it my all. I do know that I'm going to keep Graham's advice in mind and continue with other projects also -- poetry and interviews, blog posts, etc.

I'm also reading and re-reading a number of interesting things. Notably:

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell,

Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology by Jussi Parikka,

Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking by Tim Dean,

Portraits & Repetition by Stephen Ratcliffe,

Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life by Kenneth Gross,

Four Honest Outlaws: Sala, Ray, Marioni, Gordon by Michael Fried,

Art and Ventriloquism by David Goldblatt,

The Sluts by Dennis Cooper,

Being and Event by Alain Badiou,

Fanged Noumena by Nick Land,

Ecology Without Nature by Tim Morton.


  1. speaking of Stein (your previous post) - at xmas i watched one of my grandkids (8yrs) write a story about a drawing I'd given her. she began by rhyming and then let words relating to the room and conversations join in, pausing after every sentence or phrase to sound it aloud in context of the whole piece. it was a gertrude stein moment - seeing the fluidity of language at work, without anyone getting in its way or trying to do something with it other than let it go where it went... and all of this was so light and carefree, like a bird singing. I know kids draw like this naturally but I've never witnessed this verbal counterpart. realized that Stein's magic comes from that same source.
    good new year of freedoms to you Tom!

  2. Thanks, Rosaire.
    I love the anecdote about your grand daughter. And, yes, I think you're right that she and Stein are drawing from the same well.

    Best of luck in the New Year!