I make everything into an object of study. I am constantly in Heidegger’s present-at-hand, always scrutinizing things…

As I drove south, a certain feeling lingered over me. Everything had gone great, for the most part, but now this feeling: melancholy.

My melancholy comes and goes. As I watched Paper Heart, staring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, a certain melancholy struck me. The movie made me feel the on-screen’s couple’s melancholy. It was on Michael Cera’s happy face. Under his subtle jokes, which he is so good at, under his smiling happiness with a girl whose company he enjoys, the hint of melancholy was there. It is the phenomenologically same feeling after I have had leaving girls I cared for. This melancholy makes me think of Derrida in his “Rams” essay. He speaks about the melancholy (in a way):

“Mingled with the gratitude and affection that have for so long characterized this feeling. I sense, somewhat obscurely, an ageless melancholy” (135).

The melancholy is one that arises in the knowledge that after this meeting, after this dialogue I share with this person, one of us will eventually not be here anymore: “Death will no doubt have changed this melancholy—and infinitely aggravated it. Death will have sealed it. Forever” (155). Derrida goes on to explain how the melancholy is there, from the first interruption, and he explains how any dialogue is an interruption, a caesura. What happens then is that we continue an “interior dialogue” with the person… and he says a lot of stuff that basically mean that when someone close to me dies, I carry the world of the other. The memory of the other lives on in me, and I am then obligated (though I guess obligated is the wrong word; rather, how can I possibly not) carry the world of the other.

But what if the other is not gone(dead) , but rather just gone? What happens in heartbreak, or in the caesura of people separated in physical distance, not by death? Yes, Derrida says that death “changes” this melancholy (which means the melancholy is there, lingering, even before death), but I get the feeling that the melancholy is there because there is this underlying notion, this awareness, that eventually, one of you will not be there and that one of you will be left to carry the world of the other. But what happens when I don’t need to carry the world of the other who is still carrying his/her own world? What happens when the ceasura is brought about because one of the people does not want to mingle worlds, does not want to have anymore dialogue?

So when I leave an other (not dead, just leave), or when I feel a melancholy even in the midst of a wonderful moment being enjoyed with the other; I think there is a melancholy there, not of having to carry the world of the other that has passed, but in not being able to not carry the world of the other that is alive and just not here in dialogue. That is, the melancholy in Cera’s face, in having lunch with a person I cared so much for in the past (and suddenly desired her to desire me to care for her and vice versa, again), in the caesura of traveling away from dialogue with one I care for, comes in knowing that the dialogue has been interrupted.

While there is this melancholy of an interrupted dialogue, I think there is also a joy in knowing the other is not gone and that the dialogue can go on. And these feelings (melancholy and happiness) that vacillate during lunch with someone special, for instance, is one like waiting (link on waiting), it is the vacillation of Heidegger’s present-at-hand, it is the melancholy of knowing that this relationship can possibly come to an end (especially when you know for sure that it is coming to an end—that you are leaving on a plane, driving away in a car in just a couple of hours); it is a melancholy in thinking that maybe the next melancholy you feel will be the one Derrida talks about, but there is also the joy in knowing that the possibility for the dialogue to begin again is there (and here I need to really read “Rams” again, because I am sure Derrida must talk about this interruption, no?)

This is my fragment, my rough draft, my start before my caesura… I think Lacan has something to say about this too. There is an aspect of desire here that needs to be explored.

Desire, Derrida says, can never be fulfilled. Following the trace, if desire is ever fulfilled, then it is no longer desire. For something to properly be desire, it must never be reached.

Lacan talks about desire as being the desire to be desired… Also, Lacan talks about melancholy, and melancholy is the feeling not of sadness for loss, but the sadness that you will no longer desire the thing you desire, the melancholy that comes from the future possibility of getting over the thing you wanted most…

More to come soon, but it is dinner time, I don’t have my books in front of me, and I’m tired…. this is why I called this thing fragments…

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That's a sexy man!

I have been inspired to write and read again. Well, I have been reading a bit, but that stupid subject GRE had me busy for most of September and October (I did horribly, so don’t ask).

Reading Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project” over at Slate.com, I came across the following quote by one of my favorites, Carl Jung: “The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”

I think this quote explains a lot about why I do what it is I do; a question that has been plaguing me lately as I trudge through shitty GRE tests and spend lots of money I don’t have on applying for PhD. Programs. The answer for me (as I jokingly always say: “I just want to be left alone to read and sometimes write), is the quote. Simply put, I study literature and write about it from the different perspectives I try to write about it from (postmodern, Lacanian, Jungian, Freudian, historical, etc) because:

I love literature.

I feel most relaxed after two cups of coffee, two hours in to reading a book that has really captured my attention. And I think, stemming from my problems reading as a child, along with taking so long to finish my BA, I always feel like I am lagging behind, so I feel the need to “play with the objects” (play with literature) in as many ways as possible. I want to get into the story, become a part of it, I want the words to float around in my head, I want to “problemitize” the text; that is to say, I want to play with the objects I love. I want to try and see these same old words in different and new ways. This is also the reason I refuse to associate with one school of thought, strictly. While I lean towards postmodern thought (because of its encouragement of “play” and pastiche), that does not mean I am opposed to looking at things through a Jungian or Freudian or semiological lens.

With that in mind, I will be “playing” with a some of the things I have read in the last couple of months.