Friday, May 31, 2013

An open letter to chapter four of my thesis

Dear Chapter Four,

I'm a little daunted by you (we both know this is an understatement, but you'll allow me my pride in front of my reading public.) You have been stretching through my thoughts over the past three and a half years- heck, part of you was the kernel of what I started with in my proposal as a bright-eyed wannabe PhDer way back when. And here we are, mere months from deadline and many, many books later. 

You are a bristling, muscular, complicated heavyweight, and I am intimidated by the prospect of writing you into being because I don't quite know how you will take shape. You have the potential to surprise me as your ideas unfurl their legs and wind their arms around each other as I write you; or you could prove to be the monster I fear, a hulking convoluted tangle of ideas all brawling with each other and sprawling bloody-nosed and confused over too many pages.

How can I do justice to all of you? How can you ever be good enough to warrant all this time of pondering, pruning and lovingly shaping you in my mind?

I find myself hunting for ways to stall the moment of pouring you out onto the page. I make new playlists to "write to", read style blogs for "more research", write blogposts (O HAI) and then take a coffee break because I'm so exhausted from avoiding your expectant gaze.

I think we both know that I have to tackle you head on today. We also both know that I don't know how to do it while being certain that I must rise to the challenge of you. In fact, I suspect that writing you will prove, in retrospect, to be one of those moments that  pushed my skills beyond any limit they'd been pushed before by the sheer effort of weaving together all of the ideas I feel instinctively must be present to make you what you must be. That is reason enough to give you a go, let alone the fact that, you know, last day of May today.

So here we are. Ready or not... let's do this.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Encountering myself in the past.

Image from 'tattatatat', 2011.

I am at the point where I am writing up extended chunks of description about keeping Fashademic and I was just scrolling back through my outfit post archives and squirming. It is a strange activity, to encounter the you of two, three years ago in Technicolour intimacy. I remember her red hair and wonder if I should go auburn once more (it takes so long to dye out... but how did Luci make it look so lustrous?), I remember the proclivity to reach exclusively for black and sharp, finding armour or a veil in the sheer floorlength and the hats and the don't-mess-with-me rings. Those clothes were a material overlay that gave shape to my feelings at the time, that seismic year. The colours I burst into as I found my footing assuredly in 2011, and blossomed in brights. How did I get from there to this stage where navy is the colour of choice, often worn top to toe in jumpers, skirts, stockings? With more confidence in my work, more confidence in my self-? It strikes me as wondrous that we can create a visual, textual archive like this, that we can literally encounter younger performances of ourselves by going back through blogposts.

I recognise that Rosie, feel affection for her. She is me, but in a different season, and seeing her in those posts gives me a clearer look at her than my memory serves. Those awkward outfit posts where I contorted my heel up to my opposite thigh to show my shoes because I couldn't figure out how to angle my tripod to do a decent top-to-toe shot. My brimming excitement at discovering Benjamin, Bachelard, McRobbie's theory of bedroom culture, Sontag, Jenny Sunden, and Virginia Postrel, these fellow writers whose works grew around me and gave direction to my own. The music I listened to that- cringe- lent its lyrics to my post titles. 

It is both strange and lovely, because I saw the self that grew into the girl (or woman? both) I feel myself to be today. Such a record will never mean as much to anyone else, except maybe my parents, and neither should it– I'm not particularly important, and there are many things in the world much more worthy of your attention than my blogged goings-on of the past. And yet, here is a perspective on the Web that will be interesting to talk about in the next few years– the way it feels to encounter our younger selves, our selves-becoming, and how that affects the narrative of self we always tell ourselves about our lives, how this dynamic coming face-to-face plays with memory and being. I feel like she was happier, more exuberant than I remember her, this 23 year old redheaded me- that is a happy thought. And this feeling that I could encounter my own self as a stranger in such a manner– to discover my past self as a 'foreign country', to borrow from L.P. Hartley– this I did not expect.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Things I Want: Céline coat

Because who doesn't want to look like a human version of one of these bags?

There's a whole conversation here to be had about these plastic bags– and there's an intersting blogpost here about an art show curated around the weaving technique used to make the pattern (a post that is also the provenance of the above image). 

What I like about this coat is the way it looks one dimensional, the contrasting lining lending it a depth but still making her look flat as a dressed paper doll. We'll add that to the desktop folder labelled 'in my dreams'.