Wednesday, September 24, 2008


In which Bhanu "excavated a space for [this] body" and I stuck my toe in.

Bhanu asked me to speak about “compacted”, I think, because of something I said to her recently in a late night email regarding some piece of language in her forthcoming Humanimal. The word I was referring to in terms of “the compacted” looks like a neologism, when in fact it is an old word originating in another tongue. And yet, I think it has fallen into sufficient disuse as to now be a kind of neologism. The inferred definition (consider definition as that which gives something shape by exacting form out of larger masses of shape), the look and feel of the word, yields a sense of the compressed over time, of that which is overlaid rapidly and lightly like in such structures as wings, and also that which is simultaneously exposed. The technical definition of this word and the biological system it enacts in its sentence sits at an angle to the actual context of the sentence, the words that make images there. It is, technically, a bit out of joint with the sentence which, instead of making it an unsuitable word choice—I think that was the what we were discussing in the email) rather creates the entire quality of movement of the sentence and the sentence’s image—not so much syntactically, but organically. This one word and this sentence are so important because it a gestative moment in the text supporting the central figure—or the central half-figure of a hybrid subject—in the book.

It was easy to speak of this word choice with Bhanu and use my words to refer to it—compacted, and by which I also meant impacted—but outside of that I froze. It is easy for me to plug my words and idea-clusters into B’s work like graphing live tissue from one organism into another. But outside of my body and on their own, these word-tissues shut down, disconnected from a larger living system.

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