It’s almost three years now since I decided to rescue the many texts that for years had been written, sometimes appeared somewhere obscure, been forgotten, copied from one laptop to another, ignored, shuffled around, occasionally reread and then forgotten again.
The site contains all of my writings1 and translations,2 along with a few audio and video pieces. The full text is included wherever it was possible and was not legally dubious to do so.3 I’ve tried to avoid too much overlap with my other home at Urbanomic.
Every time I’ve come back to edit the site I have remembered other items I hadn’t added yet, and this will probably continue for some time.
But why? In the aftermath of Mark Fisher’s death in 2017 and the remembering of earlier periods of life and self-reflection that had inevitably set off, I initially conceived of this archiving project as a response to my distress at the fact that dealing with other people’s words as editor, translator, and publisher, not to mention just dealing with life, existence, and money, seemed to have made it impossible for me to commit myself to any “serious” research that I could consider “mine”. That’s partly what you might call “facilitator’s syndrome”, and partly an excuse for my own somewhat unsystematic style of thinking (and maybe that seriousness is anyway just an outdated idea, a phantasm that no one can genuinely realize today). But at the same time, in the gaps in between all this other stuff, I had actually produced a substantial amount of writing, most of it as a result of external provocation, often commissioned, generally executed under pressure, and usually on subject matter that was at some tangent to my own interests (in so far as I had any idea what those were; and many times it was these tangents that reoriented and reenergised my own vector).
At a certain point—partly owing to the urging of others, partly as a result of attempts to climb out of depression—I decided that it would be a useful exercise, in fact I felt like it would be good for me in some way, to consolidate it all and allow it to exist—which also meant to assert a separate existence, for better or worse, from Urbanomic a.k.a. the monster that had taken over my life. I also wanted to convince myself of the possibility that someone might find this stuff useful and/or entertaining. And anyway, it was a waste for all these organised ciphers to be languishing in digital limbo, and it would surely require marginal effort to stick them all online.
On the contrary, I succeeded in making it instead into a painstaking and arduous process, especially since it was attended to only in rare moments between other project and duties and often put aside for months at a time. In the process I discovered a number of unexpectedly longstanding obsessions and references snaking their way through these occasional, inconclusive, apparently disparate texts, instructing me of my deep assignments. I discovered that whether I found revisiting them energy-sapping and excruciating or encouraging and enthusing depended far more on my mood at the time than on their actual content. Some I enjoyed—usually those I had enjoyed at the time of writing, especially those that made me laugh. Others I had to resist meddling with, all too aware of omissions, faults, and gaps. Whereupon, reminding myself of the original motive—that preemptively dismissing the value of what one has to give to others is both a symptom of and a recipe for protracted depressive disengagement—I renewed my resolve to put it out there anyway.
My other hope is to use this as a place for casual, unforced, exploratory writing that isn’t work of the type that blogging once invited me to—I have fond memories of the blogosphere before the reign of social media and have been encouraged to see signs of a renaissance. To this end I’m making a minimal commitment to at least write some regular weeknotes to document what I’m up to and what I’ve been thinking about. Essentially a minor high-frequency version of the major getting-over-it process described above.
My sincere thanks to Patricia Reed for her great perseverance and patience in building the site for me (any difficulty encountered in navigating the sprawl is entirely my fault).