Why do I say being married is a good way to be? Being married for me to the particular person who is my husband has provided me with a healthy life stability – both emotional [love and support] and practical ( I could never have afforded to buy a house on my own). Something I never really thought I missed but looking back clearly did. Obviously marriage isn’t for everyone and people find themselves married for all sorts of good and not so good reasons but for this particular person it’s been a deeply rewarding and affecting experience that will be a part of who I am forever – regardless of what the future holds.
Today is my 7th wedding anniversary. Although my husband and I have been together for 13 years (and celebrate our ‘getting together’ anniversaries too) the wedding anniversaries are special in a different way. In answer to the question posed on the header of this blog: how should a person be? I’d give ‘married’ as one – perhaps rather unfashionable (?!) – answer. The public commitment my husband and I made to each other this day 7 years ago in front of family and a large cohort of friends is still something of which i feel proud and hold dear. Sure, as we were living together for 6 years previously and had bought a house we’d already made a commitment but the act and event of celebrating this publicly still feels great today. There is a bond of love and life-journeying that deepens with each year and as we enter this 8th year with the family of 2 children we wanted finally a reality I feel as excited and as loved up about our future as I did in 2007. Being married is one of the best things I have done or will ever be.
How We Become Who We Are is my doctorate novel about the stories we tell that make us who we are online and the gaps between our real and virtual lives.
Is this myself, or are we merely fictions – David Shields reality hunger
From How We Become
‘Frankie knew the internet was a slippery thing. She knew how easy it was to get caught up. So many diversions, distractions, lies, fantasies, desires in one place. If it’s not selling you something it’s telling you something, making something, faking something. Sapping life out of the new, squeezing the value out of everything. Frankie had too often had enough. But as she watched the stats of her youtube channel pass 1 million subscribers she ascended from the merely ordinary to somewhat remarkable. It was a good feeling. A feeling she felt she deserved. For the first time in her life Frankie had assets. Assets that, if she played her hand right, could fundamentally change her life.’
Time for a little re-branding. After a bit of a break I am coming back to this blog with new enthusiasm and a slightly new angle. I am going on maternity leave in 3 months and have few teaching commitments in that time [or after for a period too of course] I am going to use this Blog to share thoughts, information and ideas about a broader range of subjects – see my strap line. I have nicked my Blog’s subtitle from a brilliant if controversial book I recently read by Canadian author Sheila Heti. Her 2013 novel/memoir How Should A Person Be? addresses this age old philosophical question in a provocative and striking way and reflects the theme of the content here. It also, conveniently, ring-fences a field of inquiry that legitimizes posting on all sorts of subjects – social, cultural, political, literary, cinematic – and post i will. I’ll be offering a short personal review of Heti’s book soon.
Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment (without a priori knowledge), or to update a map within a known environment (with a priori knowledge from a given map), while at the same time keeping track of their current location. [wikipedia]
This blog is a small blip in the world activity to build a map of our lives interfaced with networked technology…
See my comment on yesterday’s article in The Guardian by Jody Day.
last weekend i attended one of my best friend’s hen celebration, a festival jaunt in deepest herfordshire with a number of lovely ladies, a smattering of burlesque outfits, a twenty year old german camper, a husband and 4 and a half month old baby. i was looking forward to recapturing a little of my previous life [pre-birth of son] and proving to myself these kind of days were not over. it was harder than i thought. it ws lovely to be a part of the fun and glorious to see my good friend on such good form and excited about her forthcoming marriage to a wonderful man but the times when i felt truly involved were less than i hoped due to the new other awareness that has now become fully ensconced in my life. every child, particularly male chidlren where my own son and as teh evening wore into night and the gathered becomes more undone i became increasingly preoccupied with the well being of those children still wandering about, many apparently parent and/or guardian less. even the best festivals are mixed affairs. a kaleidescope of the very best and very worse that we can be, the very best and very worse of where are desires lead us. but i couldn’t help feeling that children should be given leave of the difficult weighing up of humanities virtues and vices that will preoccupy a large part of the adult life. they should be free of seeing people they trust wide eyed, throwing up, acting out. fancy dress is all very well so as you remember that make believe has to give way to reality some time.
my partner and i have both been having weird dreams recently. two nights ago i dreamt myself two more children all around 7-9 years and a terrifying situation where we were all kidnapped. we didn’t know our kidnappers, or even what they wanted. we may have been abroad somewhere. far east, asia. tourists caught up in some local cause, or simply that universal trap of geographical inequality. the unfairness of some of us being born on wealthier plots of earth than others. the consequences – psychological, social and political – that comes with those differences of destiny. or maybe i just saw some movie that tripped an anxiety switch. the horror of watching what you love in pain or dying knowing you leave loved ones alone who need you. this is the subconscious mind at work. an amorphous alchemy making me who i need to be. a shifting my consciousness from me to we. i stand back and wonder when i get a moment [here for instance] and marvel at how we become what we need to be.
The Social Network is a film about how it feels to be on the outside premised on an irony that the higher up the social ladder you go the more visible those borders of ‘in’ or ‘out’ seem to become. Mark Zuckerberg was at Harvard when he came to the idea of setting up a digitally networked social group that mirrored campus life. So by most people’s standard he was already not doing too badly, but Zuckerberg wanted more. He wanted his head to be noticed above ordinary tide-line of Ivy League high achievers. One way was to gain entry into the most exclusive Harvard club reserved for connected, moneyed, athletic, über-achievers. As an ordinary human, unmoneyed, computer science nerd this was unlikely. He had to find another way to distinguished him self and it is this egoistic impulse that drives him not only to destroy his only two good relationship [best friend and girlfriend] and eventually earn him the accolade of youngest ever billionaire it also fuels the very binary, meta-coded heartbeat that FB exists by: It’s contemporary status anxiety writ large and in public. The film’s log line declares that you don’t get 500 million friends without making a few enemies, but these personal consequences are no joke when those enemies were once your only true friends. What use all those virtual millions then? In many ways the Zuckerberg we see here is the epitome of an anti-American hero. He doesn’t stand, or even claim to stand, for anything but himself and this is an image of America we seldom ever see in [American] films, but one perhaps that is familiar to anyone who looks American society though any other lens. This contemporary American is individualistic, shaped by the dominant Competition Theory ideology, he sets out to reinvent himself not for some greater good but because he’s tired of feeling on the outside. He successfully transforms his social status but his inner status remains unchanged. He still sees himself as the socially awkward, loveless individual he saw himself as before. Sorkin’s script and Fincher’s direction effectively capture the exhilaration of youth encountering the world from the unique social and technological vantage points of our emerging 21st century age. A time and place unlike any moment in history, as all moments or course are. Event race fast and global. The figures – FB membership, company net worth, litigation settlements – are stratospheric, astronomical and the adrenaline rush of being at the epicentre of a brand new locus of social, economic and cultural gravity is palpable. The view from there is, without a doubt, exhilarating. But as with all highs a come down must follow: A time to go home, close the door and be with ones you are close too. The films final image of Zuckerberg sitting alone in a glossy lawyer boardroom refreshing his FB page every few seconds to see if his ex-girlfriend has confirmed his friend request is a poignant one. If there is no one left to go home too after your meteoric ride to the top of the social status-sphere than perhaps you have to ask yourself what have you really achieved? Zuckerberg achieved notoriety; he got him self noticed, fabulously so; he succeeded in creating a hugely successful business and earned himself a uniquely exclusive membership of the most exclusive club in the world [youngest billionaire] but the Zuckerberg of The Social Network still can’t join the one he most wants: To love and be loved in return.
The trouble with blogging is that you don’t know if anyone is listening. Or is that its blessing. Sure, i could look at my stats, see if anyone’s paid a visit but I can’t get specifics. Visitor number 3? Was s/he a publisher? politician? pervert or panda? But hey. Do roads care whether a glossy gold Lexus or a clapped out Honda’s worn down their tarmac? It’s just another car. Perhaps blogging is best when you become resolved to the oftentimes soliptistic activity that it is…only minutely elevated into the public realm from leaving your moleskin notebook on a train without a return address.