Le fin

As I type this final blog entry, I hesitate. Each letter that I’ve programmed into my fingers’ memory, each typographic symbol on my keyboard, smacks me. When I write by hand, which I rarely do, I am effectively drawing. Preverbal decisions are made: “should I cross my ’t’ before or after the sentence?”; “I meant to write an ‘a,’ but the tail is too long: it looks like a ‘q’. I should erase.” Grammatical expression (spelling out the thought) is a dial-up simulacrum of speed—the speed at which those thoughts about how I'm writing are processed by the brain, that is. Here, our clunky grammatical expressions draw attention to the writer’s (drawer’s) ability to encode the text legibly for readers. It’s semantic.

A pen out of ink leaves its mark: a reader can envision a manuscript's ink fade as the pen traces from letter to letter until at last! The ink is renewed, stark and jet. Material conditions like this second example, perhaps more than the semantic, undergo dramatic changes that affect how typists type, writers write. I don’t mean to sever semantic from material considerations completely: they are, as a reflection of us, surely entangled (Hillis 2016). I only suggest that this blog post is a record—not of my hand or fingertips; not of my tremors or mistakes made in dried ink. I can't tell how many times I have clicked the backspace key while trying to write this post. It's less laborious to erase self-perceived mistakes by pounding my right pinky on the backspace key than it is by erasing physically on paper. To me, this feels like converting the writing process into a zip file.

By those terms,

1) is there a program that documents every keystroke I make on this computer?

2) What does lossless literature look like? 



Your post made me think of a professor I had during my masters who was a poet and was insistent on never erasing. If she omitted something, she would strike through it showing its omission yet still revealing the word underneath. She treated it like it was an ethical decision to that, to not erase entirely your writing and thoughts. Then the question becomes for whom is she maintaining the legibility of the original word written? Herself, as an artist? For a future audience of archivists/historians? She was the poet laureate of MIssouri and her father was a big name in some lit. circles. Was she planning on being remembered/archived? If so, this mindset might fundatmentally change what was written just as it did how it was written. Taking your question #1, I would cite Derrida's discussion of technology and the way in which it determines what is written and how it is archived (how it is understood, consigned, organized, conceptualized). My thinking is not so much about loss and recovery (seeking origins, capturing the past exactly how it is) but that what you articulate wouldn't necessarily get closer to the original thought at the moment of production; it's just a different thought altogether. (which makes sense in my head, but it feels loose as I write it)

The lossless literature thing just radicalized me. It makes me think of the publication history of Ulysses tand the Joyce wars. What would it mean to want a complete, infallable text? Is that desire ideological, based on our basic discomfort with fracture and incompleteness that capitalism has sought to settle once and for all?