It's been 13 years since I was a grad student, three years since I last taught, and eons since I was thoroughly enmeshed with a book. And I feel that, in many ways, this has served to increase my understanding of things — as if all those ideas, all those words, are settling into my cells, working themselves not just through my being but into my very fabric. It's a perpetual digestion, perhaps.
Don't get me wrong: when I was in grad school wolfing down Deleuze and Nietzsche and Kant and Hegel like it was, uh, something one wolfs down, I was on fucking fire. My whole body — at least the part that thinks — was lit up, turned on, vigorous and hungry and ready and riled. Oh, there were times I felt that if my thinking became any sharper, any faster, I'd explode, combust on the spot: Poof! It was fun and exciting and erotic frolicking in the most delectable orgy of ideas — and I was at its epicenter, wheeling and dealing.
Things have slowed. I no longer wolf down ideas. I no longer read — not much, anyway. But this has afforded me something that I did not predict, that I did not foresee: the time and opportunity to make sense.
The ideas I so swiftly consumed are now settling, working themselves out through me, with me, in me. I wish I could x-ray my body and see the continental shifts taking place, repetition moving just so here, comportment moving just so there, monads, lines of flight, irony all drifting with blood and sinew to form the ecosystem of me.
No doubt, my body plays a kind of telephone: ideas and words whispered in my 25 year old body coming out quite different in my 41 year old self. And I love this: I love the way my experience, my liver, my mind, my metabolism are working words and ideas over, transforming them into something I can digest, something that propels my vitality.
I find myself quoting Spinoza, quoting Deleuze, quoting Foucault from my rapidly fading memory. I don't check my sources; I'm no academic. I don't want accuracy; I want vitality. I want that idea to work for me, work for my life.
So why do I quote at all? Because I love that feeling of moving with Foucault and Deleuze over time, the way they become with me, the way we make sense of new life as we go. I appreciate their companionship.