Sympathetic Sensibilities

One of the awesome — in the original sense of *awe* — things about the web, and about blogs in particular, that is both like and unlike, say, the experience of literature, is coming across someone with sensibilities akin to your own. You get a sense of affinity sometimes with literature, especially in the realm of autobiography, but it’s a drawing toward. The thrill I sometimes get when I read someone in the middle of a project, in the middle of thinking, is drawing alongside them. We are peers in the sense that they write and I read and, in some cases, I write and they read. It’s not yet a thrill I have encountered in my scholarship, but perhaps I will one day.[^1]

This *drawing alongside* (a bit of Heidegger there in keeping with my newfound desire to return to my intellectual roots) is thrilling in the sense that one finds oneself in the company of like-minded others. More importantly, it is often the case that these writers are themselves struggling to articulate something themselves. Thus, there is a kind of drawing together in not yet knowing what one wants to draw.

Such is the case for me and the [Coudal Partners][cp] in general: they have realized my own love for notebooks in an actual, [ongoing commercial enterprise][fn], by creating the _Field Notes_ line of notebooks:

Field Notes

No, I don’t use them myself — I prefer a slightly larger notebook, as I have discussed elsewhere, but hey, CP, we can talk about it! — but all the trouble they’ve gone to get them right, and the fact that they are now in the offset printing business is something I find totally amazing.

What prompted this post, however, is eeriness of their current project, a film with the working title of [_Seventy-Two Degrees_][72]. The idea, and driving force, behind the film is this photograph:

When I showed it to my wife and described how “the picture” had become an obsession that transformed itself into a film project for the Coudal Partners, she laughed out loud, recognizing my own fondness for that particular era and that particular aesthetic. I have, in general, always been fond on high modernism, especially its European inflections and in some of the American manifestations of the fifties and sixties. I am also quite taken with the allure that technology held in that era. Before encountering this post, I had begun to re-read some old Alistair MacLean novels, having watched _Three Days of the Condor_ while at UCLA for the NEH seminar:

The folks at Coudal go one better in their research and turned up this great gem from the fifties: [“On Guard! The Story of SAGE”][film] by IBM Corporation, Military Products Division. (Really, you need to watch it — and *thank you*, [Internet Archive][ia].)

Where this takes me next … well, I have a few ideas.

For one, now that I am beginning to enjoy writing the boat book — I mean, actually looking forward to producing prose — I find myself thinking about what I would like to write next. Sure, some more work in this area might be possible: I’ve begun a dialogue with the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and BOEMRE to extend my research on fabrication shops into larger shops that service the offshore industry. And I am also thinking about thinking about the nature of the creative dynamic within the Cajun and Creole music scenes in Louisiana. But I also find myself thinking about fiction writing.

More on that some other time.

[^1]: I would even, I think, change the subject and scope of my scholarship were I to find a partner, let alone a larger collaboration, with whom to work. Granted, the only way others will be able to find me is if I publish more. But I am not entirely sure that the pieces I have coming out in the next few years really represent what all I am interested in. Scholarship is such that we break off very small pieces these days. (Again, if I make this assertion it is up to me to find a way out of it.)

[cp]: http://www.coudal.com/
[fn]: http://fieldnotesbrand.com/
[72]: http://www.coudal.com/72/index.php
[film]: http://www.archive.org/details/OnGuard1956
[ia]: http://www.archive.org/