Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Ringing the nitwit knitter

At 2.53am I convened once again with Denis Donoghue’s The Practice of Reading book and chapitre 2 where Denis scuba dives into “theory”. If you have insomnia, wrestling Denis is a productive solution!

Consider:

“Theory is chiefly interested in spinning larger and larger webs of its own vocabulary” (This is from the paragraph that begins “The main arguments we hear against theory …” on p22)

Then consider reading the above sentence at 2.53am. Add to that sentence several pages of impressive rumination.  Recently I’ve been considering how stunting “theory” and”theory dependence” can be and observing how people latch onto three buzzwords or two names and reference and re-reference them tirelessly and you rarely hear any of their own ideas. Rather than departure points, the references become bus stops with no buses, just poles that are banged over and over with the back of a pan.  It’s akin to watching someone lick the same piece of wood over and over again. Yes they never get any splinters in their tongue … but the listener ends up hearing the first sound of whatever their doctrine begins with and becomes weary-eared. There’s a hiding behind references and doctrines that obscures how the actual texts speak to and from (and onward, backward, sidewards) each other. Theory leaves so little room for noticing.

It makes me wonder if the way we are “instructed” on what to read could be part of it. Systematic reading rather than curiosity reading. I’m convinced there needs to be much more discourse on reading out and bouncing about with and within reading. But this could be because no one has ever told me what to read since I was in secondary school. My reading has always been self-determined and I practice a hoarders or collage approach to reading. I have something of an aversion to the sequential. I think in paragraphs rather sentences.

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I have had another major knitting calamity. The jumper I am trying to knit is the size of an elephant despite having the correct number of stitches and following the pattern. I do not know why I am so unsuited to knitting and why the Sellafield effect keeps occurring. It’s like being devoted to a religion and receiving constant telegrams from the source of your worship “I do not exist, cease and desist Dumbo.”

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Last night at gymnastics I learned a new move on the rings with a name this morning I cannot pronounce or remember. Unfortunately I appear to have also left my right shoulder and left armpit behind on said rings.

The consolation is the memory of this incredibly eccentric young Chinese woman break dancer, who jumps up and down on the spot, talks to herself in an excitable tone  and then bombs at a crash mat to do a front somersault, except she refuses to use her arms, holds her fists down like two chicken wings and screams blue murder as she turns over in the air while we watch her and her poor neck narrowly escape an ambulance. I have seriously not met anyone as wonderfully eccentric in about 20 years, who wasn’t carrying a bucket in Rural Mayo.

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