Friday, July 18, 2008

(Y)our Traditions & Connections

Had the absolute joy of eating Texas barbecue yesterday at lunch in Fort Worth with my brother who's visiting briefly from London, where he lives and works. (He's off to Paris this weekend for a three-day meeting; the food may be better most places in France but it's just not the same as at the rustic Railhead joint here.)

We talked all the "traditionally" taboo subjects: sex, death, religion, American politics, and family secrets that have tried to stay suppressed. And we laughed. together. (Blogs may be a better place to put "traditionally" questionable stuff out there but it's wonderful when you can speak some of the same languages with a kid who you've grown up with).

This morning I hear Jane telling the story of her "story of hope, justice and love; a story the text of which is continually being torn up and scattered, rewritten and writen against - but a story which I still try to piece back together, make sense out of, on my own and with others; coping all the time with maybe only perceiving fragments of meaning." (And I'm struck by how Carolyn Osiek has written something very similar, something that's going into the dissertation draft:

[I]t is my conviction that the illusive entity that we call “tradition” is the all-encompassing movement that contains within itself the biblical text and the factors leading to its production. It contains as well the reflective interpretation of that articulation in subsequent generations, including our own, as persons in concretized life situations bring the text to bear on their own experience and, no less important, their experience to bear on the text. In other words, tradition is not a boundary but an open road that connects us with the past and points us in the direction of the future [pardon my, JKG emphases here]).

Then I imagine you reading this blog, yes you. (And you remind me of Nancy Mairs who says something out loud, thinking about her daughter and her writing and what that means for connections and tradition and us. together:

"Publication of any sort is an intrinsically social act, 'I' having no reason to speak aloud unless I posit 'you' there listening; but your presence is especially vital if I am seeking not to disclose the economic benefits of fish farming in Zäire, or to recount the imaginary tribulations of an adulterous doctor's wife in nineteenth-century France, but to reconnect myself—now so utterly transformed by events unlike any I've experienced before as to seem a stranger even to myself—to the human community....lending materiality to my readerly ideal, transform monologue into intercourse.")

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