I’ve been asked to speak at a conference. A conference in October. Not even mid October, but the very end. Some two to three months in the future.
As a result I find myself in the rather luxurious position of being able to start my talk early, develop it over time and maybe even get a couple of dress rehearsals in. The only other times i’ve been asked to do a similar thing it’s always resulted in me having to cobble together bits and bobs from existing notebooks, essays, ideas and thoughts and stick it all together with masking tape and bits of twine.
Already a subject has been agreed and i’m starting that all too familiar process of filling huge bits of A3 in the study. Soon they will be blu-tacked to the wall and it won’t be long before the bits of string and red sharpies come out – denoting connections like some sort of amateur sleuth hunting a small town crook.
That being said, much of the ground work has been done already – either in the form of my IPA dissertation or a talk I gave earlier in that process; the one about Westerns.
The thought to revisit some of the themes in these pieces of work came from John Grant’s latest – Made With . He talks about something i’ve done alot of work on – especially in the dissertation – the power of “and” in opposition to the tyranny of “either/or”. The two subjects – addition – and The notion of the Western as origin myth for our society combine neatly, and it was certainly something that I encountered during my last holiday whilst reading Cormac McCarthy’s gruesome, violent and poetic ode to the frontier, Blood Meridian.