Laptop and a desk

There’s an urgency to typing, a certain frenetic momentum to it. The immediacy of words appearing on the screen as I rapidly clack across the keyboard seems to add pressure of time-responsiveness. There are clear rhythms to my typing, sudden starts, sudden stops, accelerandos, rests—I’m barely aware of the smooth plastic pieces depressed by the staccato stabs of my fingers as the press and release of each feels so sudden that I only feel a slight tingling across the tips of my fingers as I come to a close of each frenzy of taps.

My breathing seems to be “in time” with my typing: my breaths deep and further between during the quickened moments and evens back out as my typing slows. Though, this seems tied to the need for immediacy as I type.

I wonder why the pressure of this immediacy exists. As most things, what comes to mind is multivalent: informed by early typing training in schools where time was part of the evaluation of the activity, by my conditioned writing in social media spaces in which someone “sees” as someone is typing and that knowledge implies a need to send the message quickly, and the seeming tie between the speed of thinking and writing.

It feels like my typing rhythms are tied to what I’m writing. This rhythm feels like a blogging rhythm with the frantic energy typing in one direction: a quick draft, a thought form, a grasping. And it feels like the feeling of the day: It’s paced, measured, perhaps a bit dry, it feels like September 28th. But, even as I’m feeling the rhythms of my typing, it doesn’t feel separate from the other rhythms of my typing I’ve felt—the all nighters from my first semester of my MA program, or the visceral pain I felt as I was typing my blog post the day after the Pulse shooting this June.

Those were different rhythms, different days, different graspings, different typings, but they are in my fingers even as I type this reflection.

I’m thinking too of my piano experience, which may explain my reliance on musical terms to describe this experience, as well as the percussive sounds that permeate the space as I type. I’m thinking about the way that my hands “know.” In an a way that isn’t conscious, they know, they move, they generate, they invent, they position into productive forms that allow for reach with ease. It is a knowing tied to a doing; it is a doing through/on/with the body. But it is a knowing, too, that only comes through the encounter: it is only when my fingers come in contact with the notches on the “f” and “j” keys my fingers come to knowing—or when they come in contact with smoothness of keys on my piano.

Notes: Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Anzaldúa, Gloria (1987). “The Homland, Aztlán/El otro México.” In Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute.

Summary:

Anzaldúa introduces the idea of borderlands and discusses her experience of living along the Texas-Mexico border, historicizing her experience within cultural contexts.

Keywords: Cultural Rhetorics, Culture, Decolonial/Postcolonial

Quotes:

“But the skin of the earth is seamless.
The sea cannot be fenced,
el mar does not stop at borders.
To show the white man what she thought of his
arrogance,
Yemaya blew that wire fence down” (3).

“This land was Mexican once,
was Indian always
and is.
And   will be again” (3).

“Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them…. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary”

“[Borderlands are] a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants” (3).

 

Legos and a table

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Click.

Very little is soft about Legos. A series of hard lines with sharp edges that press into my hand as I hold each piece, with a series of rhythmic circles that contour the polished walls of the toys. There are bright, bold colors with a hundred different shapes—and still there are patterns, uniformity, and rigidity.

It’s hard to feel the hard edges and boundaries of the piece without also thinking about the ways these pieces leave impressions on my skin and reminding me of the pain of stepping on a Lego that was left on the floor. These pieces seem incredibly mobile, sliding with their smooth edges across surfaces. How much friction could be generated from these smooth sides?

And yet, digging my hand in a large group of these Legos recalls memories of childish happiness. All their hardness seems soaked up in the collective and my hands sink without issue or pain into the mix. I remember reaching into large tubs of Legos with my friends that were nearly as large as I was and shoveling out fists full of the tiny colorful objects.

Almost similarly, as these toys spilled onto the table, I felt my eyes flickering over the mass of these rapidly, trying to find associative logics. I felt these pieces belonged together, but found myself getting frustrated, not seeing how. It was fitful starts, click, snapping pieces together, click, and pulling them apart, click; haphazard groupings and regroupings by shape, color, my intent. There were so many visible potential positions for each that would entirely guide my next moves, and then the next, and the next.

Click. I couldn’t help but smile at the satisfying snap of two pieces being joined, the object seeming to no longer belong to my hand but to the other nested piece. The tension as I struggled to pull two pieces apart was familiar and frustrating. The amount of force taking more than I expected and felt my arms engaged in the act more than I thought was necessary.

So many childhood memories were inseparable from this composing. Holding one piece in my hand, I remembered imagined worlds I’d built with my friends. How I used the different pieces sparked other constructions and compositions to come to mind. If I encountered a limitation, I remembered encountering it before.

Click.