5(00) a day…

5(00) a day. Good for you. Good for a thesis. One hundred and eighty seven thousand five hundred. With a bit of pruning and honing, that’s a draft. 5(00) a day. Each an object. Of course each one of the five hundred is an object. Each ‘does something’ in the world, but the five hundred itself is an object, doing something, in alliances and translations, enfolded back on itself and the broader object I’m building, on the Blog, in Scrivener, in Momento.

What is the relation between these levels – the word, the 500, the chapter, the thesis, the blogstream? Each can be seen as a object, infolded, enfolded and fractal. Each is a black box that opens onto other black boxes in an ontological, optical illusion. Each is defined and created in terms of its relations – those it sets in motion and those within whose orbit it flies and whose gravity it feels.

These 500s are objects. They can be opened to ‘reveal’ arguments, insights, puns, misreadings and plagiarisms but they have a status as an object-actant themselves. This first 500 is enfolded in relations with the ghosts of writings past and those yet to come. It is caught in alliances with the academic industry, the HE funding climate and my department’s politics. It may never end up in the final thesis-object but it cannot escape being in relation to that object, its alliances and powers.

But as my object it is also personal and real. Like Miller’s ‘Comfort of Things’, this 500 is mine. Psychological as well as ontological relations are in play. 272 words now. When I reach 500 and stop I will have made something, an object but also a step. Its existence in multiple places (the hard drive, the backup drive, the website server, the phone memory) means I know it is somewhere. We call it ‘saved’. It is saved. I have saved it. A religious turning point. A moment of change. The people in Miller’s street have their things. They have saved them – ‘cared’ for them, ‘cherished’ them. They are in their world as objects. They are enfolded in ‘macro’ political, economic and cultural relations (the laptop company, the souvenir making sweatshop, the fashion house) but they are also enfolded in personal political, economic and cultural relations (the family, the New Year budget, the game with the children). To talk of macro and micro relations is to fail to see how an object plays across, and is constituted by all those relations. They are not at levels. One is not more real or powerful than another. Harman’s sense of a ‘flat ontology’ allows those relations to be addressed in their specificity and locality, the connections and traces to be mapped and the boxes unfolded.

This 500 like the phone in front of me, the Bonsai and the deadline ahead are objects in, of and through my world. They leave traces through alliances and translations which continually remake them. That’s 500 words.

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