it’s the tug that matters, or being “upside right”

Mike said that, talking (to himself?!) as he entertained a couple of neighborhood girls by trying to figure out one of their toys.
Yesterday was full of tugs. I spent the afternoon and evening enjoyably, after taking a much longer time than usual to blog (and cook! shhhhhhh). Being on the periphery of two kidnappings with happy endings left me full of vicarious emotion. For the last three days I have been feeling a bit de-centered, as if there’s “a disturbance in The Force” (!), or – as the new roomie said, I am “out of alignment” with myself. My thinking is slow, difficult; my self-consciousness heightened. I speculate that I’m experiencing fallout from being (now) in a timespace different than expected (on land rather than still at sea), or the process of absorbing recent life lessons, or the malaise that lingers from old wounds . . .
I know I don’t have the jazzy hectoring tone considered most successful in writing on/for the web. The thing is, I don’t want to play into that collusively heeyyy cowboy insider attitude that Jack Shaffer promotes. Yet, I appreciate that friends do (sometimes, smile) actually read the blog and (rarer still, hence precious) give me feedback on my writing. Building “indexes” over the past few days must have put me in a summative mood, because I carried that mode into writing about Alf’s freedom instead of just blogging the moment. Perhaps I’m feeling it more necessary than usual to justify my existence (I got flamed!), to explain the reasons for my choices, or otherwise try to articulate how I perceive things going together? I am also prepping to teach, and I never (ever!) stop learning.
Even though I’ll probably never capture the tone of our times, my mind resonated with resemblances to another angle of Caleb Crain’s reflections on online literary style. In particular, he writes (and I insert comments):

I’ve kept a blog for several years (ditto), and although its readership is tiny (mine too), I of course notice when the hits rise and fall. (I should pay more attention!) I seem to get more readers when I post frequently, when I write about people or topics in the headlines, when I have been drawn into a conflict, and when I write something that speaks to a self-image that a group of people share. (Hmmm, it would be interesting to know if any such patterns are evident here in Reflexivity.) Over the years I’ve gradually revealed more personal details (we differ in this); I still reveal very little, comparatively, but enough to entitle me to say that I feel a tug there, too. Perhaps the tugs that I feel are a better data source, come to think of it, than my blog’s underemployed hit counter. If I were to interpret those tugs, I would say that writing on the internet tends to be more popular when it satisfies the reader’s wish to be connected–the wish not to miss out.

Funny – is Crain suggesting an internal (his own) or external (from others) tug to reveal more? Where (with whom) does the wish to be connected originate, and can it be cultivated as a social/relational force for institutional/historical change?
Only if we act on those wishes. 🙂

3 thoughts on “it’s the tug that matters, or being “upside right””

  1. I thought of you also as we all sat and watched the video of 20 years ago. We were all so young and had such fun just being together. Frances referred to you as “our leader”,(I’m not so sure about that 🙂 ) We all spoke of how we liked your hair back then, and I remembered fondly the days we had in the townhouse, the many times you reminded me to “bring the video camera” and I’m so glad you did. We wouldn’t have all those great memories captured on film to remind us of the close bond we established in younger years that continues to bring us together even this many years later. We all felt grateful that we were all still here to see one another and relive the moments. I missed you not being there. I wanted you to know we all missed you and had great fun not only looking at the March fishing trip, but also the July 4th party we had at the apartment with the “Dukakis” poster hanging in the backround, the Christmas part of the tape, the niece and nephew weekend and so much more. Sometimes just remembering/watching those times makes me miss you more. Hope you made it thru the holiday with all the “tugs”. Take care…..

  2. They are such sweet memories, Kelly, thanks again for posting this here. 🙂 All the tugs matter so much – the old ones have become my anchors, especially as I keep striving to grasp pulls from the future while remaining as easy as possible with ties in the present.
    Y’know, when I was there this summer and we were all out at Frances and Kathy’s pool, I had a fancy to give a bit of a speech (!) but the moment wasn’t right. I have wanted to let you all know how much it meant that you came out to Alec’s funeral a few years ago. I did not expect any of you, actually, and it has taken a long time for the meaningfulness of the group’s presence to settle in. It was the feeling of home.
    Since I have never had that feeling in a permanent way before – always having it only temporarily (as the place where I happened to reside) or losing it (when a relationship didn’t work out) – it took time for me to integrate the sensibility. A few weeks ago, I realized the effect.
    It was one of those introductory-type of conversations when you’re meeting someone and they ask what you do, where are you from, and so on. I’ve always told people, “I grew up in Colorado,” because that has felt the most true as “the place I’m from.” My most formative childhood years were spent in Denver; and there is no family home/legacy anywhere else. Sometimes I tell people I went to high school, my first colleges, and came out in Kansas City – but it had never occurred to me to say I was from there – until this past month.
    What I now know, from visits with you, the group, and family over the past four years, is that I am from Kansas City, I am “from” all of you, a product of the era that video celebrates, the result of the basis of belonging that we all found together during those crazy younger years.
    There’s more to tell (there’s always more!), but this is enough for now. 🙂 Thanks for everything, always.

  3. Hey Steph, Just read your response and I would have to say I agree. You are from “Kansas City”. We all look at one another as extended family and cherish the moments we spend with one another. Would love to someday hear your other thoughts on the matter but know that you will always own a piece of my heart. Love ya and wish you the best on this next adventure of your life. 🙂

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