Collecting Words


It is silent, first, in recognition of its banality. 'Every other night, on TV', Roland Barthes points out, 'someone says: I love you'. How can we, unique and autonomous as we long to be, capture the extraordinary experience of desire by echoing this worn-out commonplace, this blank performative, which lacks nuances and 'suppresses explanations, adjustments, degrees, scruples'? 'I love you' obliterates the distinctiveness of the desire it sets out to capture, and affirms at the same time the difference it sets out to efface, the gap between 'I' and 'you', investing the performance in the process with a certain solitariness.

-Catherine Belsey, Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture, 74-5.

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I have been on a mini holiday somewhere quiet where I can look at the ocean, collect words and wear scarves. I have been thinking about a project, which might turn into postdoctoral research, but I'm unsure at this moment. It's all a bit fragmentary. I am fascinated by the idea of love in culture and literature, particularly as it relates to identity. I don't know if this fascination can be turned into a sustained project, and I'm too tired to start anything new right now, so in the meantime, I'm just collecting words.

Image by Lina Scheynius.