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De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Field of Vision
I don't know whether I qualify as ADHD or OCD or any of the other acronyms bandied about these days when people's self-sabotaging faults are discussed. But I am definitely the sort of person who is highly sensitive to my physical environment when I'm trying to concentrate. There's a reason I used to align the objects on my living room floor as a teenager so that they would be at right angles to the television screen.

Since my bike injury last year, I've had a devil of a time sitting at my desk to type. Something about the angle at which I have to bend my knee makes my ankle and foot swell uncomfortably. As a result, I took to using the laptop on a long, thin folding table. At first I did this in the front room. But that seemed too much like the colonization of leisure space for work. So I reconfigured my home office, cramped as it, to accommodate the table. Now I work primarily on the laptop, but access the desktop, which I use for my iTunes library, photo archive and scanning-related tasks, by swiveling and rolling my chair forward two feet.

It's a remarkably productive set-up. I only wish I'd thought of it sooner. The most interesting thing about the arrangement is that the practical value of being able to access both computers I use is supplemented by an unanticipated advantage. Before, when I would look up from the screen to rest my eyes and ponder, I'd see either a wall or a window. Now, though, when I life my eyes from the laptop I see this view:

Apparently, I respond as powerfully to positive distractions as negative ones. Scanning the books on these shelves sharpens my reflections, prodding me to conceive of what I'm writing in relation to these weighty tomes. And the sight of these shelves in proximity to each other also improves my thinking about the relationship between the categories they delimit. Mentally making the passage between French post-structuralism, on the left, and psychoanalysis, on the right, via the "bridge" of my stuffed Nietzsche's eyebows -- thank you again, Steven and Robin! -- or remarking the visual symmetry demonstrated by Charles Taylor's Sources of the Self, on the left, and Frederic Jameson's Postmodernism; or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, on the right, adds a body to my musings that would be lacking if I didn't have the spatial aid of this spectacle confronting me all day.

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Current Location: 85704

9 comments or Leave a comment
dlowestanimal From: dlowestanimal Date: March 7th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
What a motley totem pole of pop!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 7th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I suppose so, though Nietzsche does complicate matters a bit! Nice to hear from you, Dave.
(Deleted comment)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 9th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's great to hear from you again. Sorry for the delay in responding.

I wish I could have seen Derrida in person. I'm not an acolyte, but it's great to have that personal experience when you can. I also like his book Archive Fever a good deal.

They aren't that well dusted, actually. It's just that there's a bit of an overhand above, with stuff stacked on top of them, to collect the dust instead!

I guess those are pretty weighty shelves, density-wise, by most standards. The funny thing is that I often find myself feeling less burdened reading that sort of thing than fiction, where my failure to get absorbed in plot -- a common problem -- piles on the guilt.

From: e4q Date: March 8th, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
very pleasing.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 9th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sorry for the delay in responding. . .

It's always pleasing to me to please you, since you have done so much to brighten the dark days of my recent existence.
From: e4q Date: March 8th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i can report that it makes a very good desktop, too.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 9th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
From: e4q Date: March 9th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i am enjoying it very much.

i am sorry to hear you are having dark days.
From: e4q Date: March 18th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i still have this as my desktop wallpaper. it reminds me of living with my ex, justin. i didn't read the *acclaimed* peter gay then, either. so no change there, then.

i am enjoying having it but as my screen is super spec'd it's a bit pixelated, do you have a higher res version you could mail me?

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