about bliss

Monday, April 16, 2007

hope, necessity, and luxury

A brisk walk after breakfast and before writing helps awaken my creative energies. Spring is here--the forsythia's blooming, the snow is blessedly gone, and the myriad shades of new green are peeking through on every leaf and blade. Ahhhh...there's nothing quite like spring to help re-ignite hope and possiblility...

"I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous for windows,
Superior for doors--"

Emily Dickinson (from memory, so please excuse any mispunctuations and capitalizations. I would never attempt to standardize Ms. Dickinson's delightfully idiosyncratic poetic form).

My "party" with my former students--pizza and cupcakes--was lovely, though I came home feeling sad and feeling a need to steel myself for this life-changing move. I suppose all moves are life-changing, but somehow this one seems really big, on par to the cross-country move I took when I started my PhD program. I hope this is a bit easier than that was...

Last night I dabbled in a few projects at once, which also watching *Desperate Housewives.* I was in one of my dilletant-ish moods. I worked on some background character sketches for the H/HN (hero/heroine) of *Surprise Developments,* my RN that's more "traditional" rather than Chick Litty. I'm starting with this one rather than the other because I think it will be simpler to finish. I'm going to need a little help on some of the technical goodies--like info on construction/building ordinances/and whether or not there's such a person as a building consultant. The H is someone who travels around the country "consulting" on downtown renovation projects (though--here's a little plot lead for ya, he really wants to be the builder but doesn't think it's high profile enough--one of his demons with which to wrestle).

Then I was thinking about my *Cooking for Mr. Latte* paper, and what theoretical inroads I can make with all this consumption stuff. Someone at PCA suggested the importance of pleasure, which reminded me of Colin Campbell's book *The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism*--one of those books I read and go, A-Ha! Check this out:

"There appears to be general and widespread agreement that modern consumption is characteristically 'luxury' consumption, and whilst that word has been variously defined, it does typically possess two different, if related, connotations. The first is the idea that 'luxury' is in some sense a superfluous item, something which is desired yet is additional to need...The second of the two meanings found in the word 'luxury' is the reference to sensuous or pleasurable experience. Here the emphasis is upon the verb rather than the noun, and upon activities rather than objects...From this perspective luxuries constitute the means to pleasure, whilst necessities are merely whatever is needed for the maintenance of existence, a state best described by the word 'comfort.'" (59)

Yes! This will be so helpful in talking about the world created within chick lit and foodie texts--how the food writer seeks out pleasure, and how we, the intrepid readers, are able to vicariously share in that pleasure.

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