So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

I will not be updating this site for the foreseeable future, however, you are welcome to browse and explore the various images, writings, music, sound designs, and miscellany that have comprised Living the Liminal.

You can follow my further adventures at the following sites:

I am Liminal on Twitter
I will be writing essays at 52Essays.com
Short form sharing of videos, links, music, random thoughts can be found on my Tumblr
I will be working on creating a new centralized hub that will provide links to my various projects and creative works at PeterCWood.com
My photos are currently at Flickr

As I close down this particular project, this song is playing, so I share it with you and hope you will join me in my other online and writing endeavors.

Actually

I will write a longer post about this soon, but I wanted to revise my previous post about what will be replacing Living the Liminal. I will be attempting to write an essay of 1000-2000ish words each week for the next year and you can find these essays at 52Essays.com. Will let you know why the domain name change in the first essay for that site, so make sure you bookmark or subscribe to the rss feed for 52 Essays!

Mahalo.

Things I am grateful for

  • a family that never makes me feel guilty if i don’t come home for the holidays
  • SomaFM’s Secret Agent station – especially when walking around with earphones, it makes me feel like i’m in an exciting, mysterious, stylish movie that nobody around me knows i’m in
  • living within walking distance of school
  • the smell of cinnamon & orange
  • my creative capacities, even if i don’t exercise them as much as i feel i should
  • my true friends, though that is tinged with sorrow sometimes since they are scattered so far and wide

Retiring Living the Liminal

Writing is not simply a way to express thoughts. Writing is, in a very real and literal sense, a way of thinking. Writing is also an embodied activity and to consider it as only a mental practice is to misunderstand the relationship between the mind and the body. There is not division between the two. Certainly there are subsystems that are unique to the brain versus those unique to the stomach or the knee, but we are never not embodied and material beings. Having recently completed my PhD comprehensive exams, I can attest to the fact that writing two article length papers in 48 hours is as much a physical endurance test as it is a mental one. Unfortunately, being out of shape, I ended up relying far too much on caffeine and cigarettes to get me through that particular mental/physical challenge. Because of this recent experience, of feeling, in my body the connection between writing and the embodied self, I have decided to begin a new blog and to retire—or at least to send on a long vacation—what has been my primary website/blog since 2005.

Living the Liminal has been a part of my “brand” for a long time. Subsequent accounts with Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, App.net, etc. have all used a variation of either “liminal” or “living the liminal.” There is a reason I picked that “identity”: I have always (or at least as long as I can remember) felt slightly outside of and hovering in between various aspects of life. I am often somewhere between the past and the future, rarely situated in the now or standing in the doorway between solitude and social, stuck not knowing in which direction I truly want to move. Part of this new project is to write myself in a new and different way. I am neither rejecting the liminal side of myself and my experience, nor am I necessarily aiming for a specific vision of the me that I am trying to write into existence. However, as I have been thinking quite a bit about the material effects of words on and through the body, I began to wonder if stepping back from the concept of liminality might prove to be, at the very least, an impetus to write a new me, if only slightly. In other words, I am interested in exploring how the materiality of words—a materiality borne from the embodied action of writing—may result in a re-inscription of my self.

Additionally, I recently came across several new platforms that are exploring a new way of using Dropbox, Markdown, and static text files to serve as a blogging/website system, one that does not require databases and that allows the content to live in one’s own Dropbox account. I have signed up with Scriptogr.am and have recently begun to explore ways in which I can use this new platform as space for a writing intensive website. Today I bought the domain name “reinscription.com” and will begin to transfer my writing to this new space over the next few weeks. Living the Liminal will remain, and the back-catalog of my thoughts over the past seven years will still be available for any and all who want to poke around the various essays, links, images, and ruminations that I have collected here over the years. And who knows, perhaps I will return here sometime in the future. For now, however, I will officially “retire” Living the Liminal on January 1, 2013.

The new site is still coming together. I need to make sure I can get the domain names pointing in the right directions and I’d like to do some edits to the theme so I can make the space more my own. I will update here when ReInscription is up and fully running. While I feel decidedly odd about moving away from Living the Liminal, I am excited by the move and am certain that, as a writer and as a person, this will be a productive and useful change for myself. I hope to also make it interesting and entertaining for others. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Barely Passing: Some Thoughts on Election Day

I’m glad you voted. Yay. Go democracy and all that. Maybe I’m feeling bitchy because I’m fighting off a cold and am tired from too little sleep or maybe my stress at facing my comprehensive exams in 12 days is getting to me, but what I’m not glad about is this constant stream of people in my Twitter and Facebook feeds being self-righteous about having voted as if that act makes them a full participant in our civic management of this country. Again, you voted. Good for you. I’ll vote too, but you know what? As nice as it is that we are voting in a national election, if we don’t know who is on our school boards; if we have, through inaction and passivity, allowed our country to begin the cold-blooded assassination of people through a drone warfare that we are continuing, as a nation, to ignore; if we have not written, called, or showed up at our congressional representatives offices and told them what we want them do to about a myriad of issues; if we have simply gone about our lives, signed a few online petitions, shared a few links, and then walk into the polls today, we get, at best a barely passing grade on the whole democracy thing.

Look, I know we are all busy. I know we are not living lives of leisure and that taking care of self and family and friends takes up most of our time when we are not working and I know that, for many and for many reasons, we don’t have the time or energy or inclination to participate more in our participatory democracy. I am not exempting myself from this critique*. What I am saying is that I will vote today. And that I get, just maybe, a barely passing grade at civic engagement. But that does not make me either especially proud or a better person. Voting ought to be the final act of a politically and civically engaged life, not the one and only such act.

Perhaps, instead of peacocking around with the “I voted bit” we could use this day to pick one or two ways that we might be more politically and civically engaged in the coming year. Perhaps, instead if making ourselves out to be moral paragons for voting, we could pledge ourselves to volunteering more, to engaging in the battle for the future a bit more, or to actively working for more political enfranchisement for the economically disadvantaged, the protection of civil rights, or the safety of women’s reproductive rights. 1

Maybe, like I said, I’m just being bitchy. Probably I’m simply projecting a self-critique outwards to all those who are crowing about voting when all they mean to do is encourage others to do so. Still, I can’t help but wonder how much this one act of voting stands in for what ought to be a daily engagement.

  1. Or whatever is most important to you, of course. []

The Artists of Dionysus

Did you know that the first international guild/trade union in the western world was a theatrical one? The Artists of Dionysus operated to ensure that traveling actors were granted “freedom of travel, freedom from taxation, and freedom from arrest, should the local authorities seek security for the debt of a fellow countryman of the actor.”1 Also, during the 2nd century B.C., there was a guild of pantomimes and mimes called the Parasites. Labor history in the ancient world!

However, the coolest fact is that the final title of the organization at its end—circa 274/5—was best title of a guild/union ever:

The Sacred Musical Traveling Aurelian World Great Guild of the Artisans of Dionysus, Sacred Crowned Victors, and their Fellow Competitors.2

  1. Eric Csapo & William J. Slater, The Context of Ancient Drama, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995), 240. []
  2. Ibid., 242 []