Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Why do I write?

This question has been vexing me for some time now, in part because it requires me to define something of a purpose for "Differences and Repetitions." I remember struggling with this question when, while setting up this blog, I was prompted to make a short statement on what it was about. I substituted instead a quotation on everyday life from the French Marxist Henri Lefebvre. You can see it right now, near the top of the page.

I realize, however, that I have been grappling with the question, "why do I write?" all along, albeit indirectly. The title "Differences and Repetitions" (which I draw from the work of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze) and the Lefebvre quotation together define the ambit of this blog. Broadly, I am concerned with the notion of everyday life as both a theoretical category and as a terrain where people live out their lives in complex, modern societies. I am further interested by the two ways in which everyday life can repeat. "Everyday" often refers to what is most prosaic, ordinary, humdrum, and cliched, and indeed these qualities speak to the first way in which everyday life repeats...unwaveringly, incessantly. And yet, as Lefebvre and Catherine Regulier once wrote (in a line I habitually repeat), "there is always something miraculously charming about the rising of the sun"--this despite, or perhaps because of, its occurring every single day. There is, in other words, a sense in which the very repetitiveness of the everyday holds open the possibility for difference, innovation, creativity, wonder, and change. "Differences and Repetitions" is dedicated to exploring this tension intrinsic to everyday life, and I invite others to join me in doing so.

Apropos, to those of you who may be reading, please chime in once and awhile! I've received a few emails and have spoken with some of you about my posts, but I'd prefer if that were all aired publicly rather than in private correspondence. With that said, I want to thank Josh, Todd, Bob, Jonathan, and Kembrew for being my interlocutors and for promoting "Differences and Repetitions." With any luck "D&R" will keep on repeating, differently.

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