As I may have mentioned somewhere below, writing has been my most daunting task since becoming chair (to be fair, this was complicated in the summer by virtue of moving). Mostly it’s a time issue, but though it is also something of a concentration issue. To write well and creatively, one must forget (if momentarily) the other demands in one’s life and immerse oneself in text. I find it intensely pleasureable, but also intensely difficult since thoughts about this or that aspect of the department occur to me at all sorts of odd times and I feel the need to be more accessible to others for certain things than I did in the past. For instance, I now go into the office almost every weekday. Theoretically, I could write at school but I’ve never mastered this skill: in eight years and change as a professor, I’ve probably written less than 5 pages of my own prose in my university office. It’s hard for me to, well, forget my surroundings while at work.
So it is not without some irony that I just completed a draft of a piece on forgetting for a conference on sonic souvenirs in Maastricht next weekend (several weeks late), and wishing I still had more time to work through Marc Augé Oblivion and Paul Ricoeur Memory, History, Forgetting, but that will have to be for the version in the edited collection. Lest you think I simply sublimate my own psychological issues into my writing and dress them up as theory (okay, I probably do that), the paper was promised and the abstract written long before I knew I’d be moving or chairing.
In the meantime, I followed a link discussed in a fascinating essay by Melanie Swalwell entitled “The Remembering and Forgetting of Early Digital Games” (Journal of Visual Culture 6:2, 255-73 if you’re looking) and found this rather amusing project, which I am sharing with you. It’s another kind of effort to forget. “‘Delete’ is just another word for nothing left to lose.”