Detritus

It’s funny. I started this blog about a week ago; maybe two–it’s hard to remember because time blurs into itself right now, and generally, really. This window has been sitting open for that long, waiting for me to type something, anything.

I supposed this qualifies as “anything.”

The title of this blog is pulled from A Forward Glance: New Essays on Edith Wharton. I haven’t read the book, but I like to cite my sources, and this also functions as a relatively accurate representation of how I experience things.

I went to college for English and read Derrida (and then threw him across the room in irritation), like you do. At some point during that lit crit course I read something–Derrida, I thought–that I thought mentioned our identities as essentially being bags of detritus. We are none of us coherent beings; rather, we are simply loose collections of attributes that emerge depending on the situation, and no one identity is more accurate a representation of who we are than any other. The faces that I wear in my various roles in life are different, but all of them are who I am–just, contingent, is all.

The phrase “bag of detritus” stuck with me, and I decided to search for it. Come to find out, I apparently invented it in my head (my notes from the course are gone, lost to an old computer), so I searched for stuff about lack of coherent identity, and I found that phrase instead.

The point of that is, I always take the long way around, and rarely with precision. It’s hard to be precise when you are always divided between fifteen different activities and identities, and when you move from mother to wife to gamer to writer to friend all in the space of a couple minutes (a reality that is increasingly real in a digital age, where I sit with an infant, a video game controller, and a computer all in my lap at once).

Supposedly, writers are “people who write”: no more, no less. Because of the situation that I’m in–that of a reluctant stay-at-home mom with an ADHD-addled attention span and little desire or opportunity to get out of the house–I figure that the best way to actually cling to my status as a real, proper writer, is to write about what I have. What I have is the detritus of a life.

That isn’t a complaint, by the way. Everybody has the detritus of a life; it’s just that they weave threads between the disparate particles in order to create a coherent narrative of self, of background, of situation. This contingency is just more readily apparent to me as somebody with no possibility of ever having a career, leading to an intense ambivalence about the role that life has led me to (or that I have chosen; take your pick–either will be partially true, or a copout, depending on your perspective). None of the faces that I wear is false, or particularly different from the others. Different facets may be highlighted or underplayed, but they are all “me.”

So, this is me. I suppose we shall see what me has to say in the future, if anything at all.