Shot A + Shot B

“The only way to understand storiessuch as that of the Annunciationis to repeat them, that is, to utter againa Word which producesinto the listener the same effect… I am hailing tonight, with the same gift,the same present of renewed presence. Tonight, I am your Gabriel!” (Bruno Latour) x Do you remember how, in Fight Club, one of the backstories we’re given for “Tyler Durden” is that of a movie theatre projectionist? How he would splice subliminal frames of lewd imagery into family films to mess with normies’ sense of reality, and how the film itself had frames of Tyler’s face … Continue reading “Shot A + Shot B”

Interludes of the Imagination

I read my last entry out loud to Christine, and she said: “I didn’t know that you’d been thinking about these topics,” and I said: “I didn’t know I was either. It just came together.” Lines converging at the center of two circles—poeisis and ecstasy. What makes for significance? Why this story and not that? I’ve struggled with these questions like milk pails over rocky ground. I’ve hesitated. I’ve stopped. This is a memory that sauntered through my brain as I sipped my coffee this morning. There was no reason for it being there other than circumstance and how circumstances … Continue reading “Interludes of the Imagination”

Year Zero: Hypertexture

Shortly after New Year’s Day, as part of a staff meeting check-in on Zoom, I was asked if I had a “word for the coming year.” That question hadn’t occurred to me before they’d asked it, but a word still rushed into view very quickly; after a few had volunteered to share why they’d chosen the words they’d chosen, I pressed unmute and said: “I have a one in mind, but I’m not going to explain it—I’ll just say the word: ‘wholeness’.” The thing is–I’ve been struggling with words for quite some time. What used to come to me like … Continue reading “Year Zero: Hypertexture”

Christmas Day 2012

The big data notification angels have reminded me of this moment on Christmas Day, 2012, outside teta Sou’ad’s place in that liminal neighborhood called Mar Youssef (St. Joseph): Mar Youssef just happens to be the saint that Pope Francis chose as Patron of the Universal Church for this coming year, in a letter entitled “With a Father’s Heart.” In the spirit of that letter, this photo, and all mothers, fathers & loved ones we can’t be with today, Merry Christmas to those who go unnoticed, yet nurture us with their “daily, discreet & hidden presence,” wherever they may be.

Poiesis: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 20

Part 1: Beginning “Poiesis is understood traditionally as an activity of formation, in which the artist gives shape to matter in accordance with his or her idea. The specifically aesthetic quality of a work is seen as consisting in its form; perfection of form leads to the experience of beauty. The philosophy of art from Aristotle to Kant is based on this understanding. This perspective itself stems, ultimately, from a tradition of reflection in which the intellect is regarded as the primary mode of human existence … In modern aesthetics, especially in the classic work of Kant, the predominance of … Continue reading “Poiesis: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 20”

#BusLineHeroes = #GuardiansOfMobility

This is not a message of endorsement I expected we’d receive one year ago, let alone five or ten years ago, when I first started paying attention to public transport in Lebanon: This is the Secretary General of the UITP, the oldest and biggest transit advocacy group in the world. It’s not the sort of organization that is naturally inclined to be supporting of informal transit, but we were there when that door started opening two years ago. Has this crisis afforded new opportunities for relating to each other, after all? Let’s lead the transition.

Marking Time: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 16

Part 1: Non-Standard Calendar Time has been an interesting medium and muse for this weekly ritual. When I started this, I knew that I’d be making a partner of the unfolding days; I did not have a script nor plan for the whole arc of my gratitude in the first twenty weeks of #TwentyTwenty. I had general bearings, but no clear map—anything more definite would have been a contradiction in terms. So as we begin to crest the horizon and near the last leg of this journey, I’ve become increasingly aware of the regions of time that I’ve lingered in … Continue reading “Marking Time: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 16”

Kuwait: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 10

Part 1: Growing Up For the longest time, I’d dream in distinct phases. In college, my dreams were populated by people from high school; in high school, my dreams featured my friends from Kuwait. That pattern has since abated; today, my memories of Q8, as we called it, are still vivid, but the details are hazy & more dreamlike than ever before. Kuwait is where my sister was born; it’s where I heard Pretty Fly for a White Guy on the US Armed Forces Radio—you had to turn the dial to the very edge of the spectrum, in one corner … Continue reading “Kuwait: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 10”

The Family Tree: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 5

Part 1: Oummi I’m looking at a NYT article from 1984. The story goes like this: “The United States battleship New Jersey bombarded Druse & Syrian gun batteries in Lebanon for more than nine hours today in the heaviest and most sustained American military action since the Marines arrived here 16 months ago. The gunfire was directed at targets ”in Syrian-controlled Lebanon which have been firing on the city of Beirut,” a Marine spokesman, Maj. Dennis Brooks, said. The shells fired into the capital had landed in Christian-dominated East Beirut, several miles from the Marine compound at Beirut International Airport.” … Continue reading “The Family Tree: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 5”