"the corpus" was my dream when i was 18. it was the web of accumulation of everything. hyperlinkages between introspections and diatribes and discourses and poems and epiphanies and school assignments and business memos and found bits and and and. it was unstructured and self-structuring. there would be narrative bits and fragments of theses (but no ruthless adherence to logic or argumentation), there would be professional insights and confessional disclosures.
the meaning would emerge from the connections. stories would weave into thoughts, poetry into essay, fictional first person into documentary third.
this was before blogs or wikis or facebook or twitter or gmail or hotmail or yahoo mail or so many of the other formats that have come to structure the way the internet is used. the way the internet is written. the way the internet is made.
and i was young, then. the corpus was my future, it was an expanse of potential connections on a vaguely defined digital horizon. one dear teacher of mine would not the puer arhetype in this: the reckless abandon, the desire for freedom and a giving over. dreaming in digits.
but really it was not the dominant structuring forces of web publishing systems and social networks and conventions that rendered the corpus more fantasy than reality. It was life.
Life lived in the world, in apartments and farmhouses, on roofs and trails, around bonfires and boardrooms. Life by the still pond on a crisp equinox night, sliver of a moon in a clear sky with a homemade bracelet, amalgam necklace and oversized ring in my pocket.
The web does not capture all of life, or, for me at least, even enough of the stream of text and snapshots to warrant being called our corpus. our online elements are not our bodies (perhaps what they are remains to be seen). And the fact is that the process of interlinkage is tedious, the connections are not automatic. the meaning cannot be self-generating. that is still something that must come from our encounter with the artifacts we create, with the elements that emerge from our unfolding processes.
what there are are glimpses. glimpses and reflections.
for the next month i will be exploring this terrain. drawing a map today the pathways emerged between the bounded spaces: in between the garden patches, along the slope of the hill between the barn and the pond. there are connections between glimpses. and reflections will no doubt become their own creatures.
i don't know what will happen. i am returning to a vision i had when i was young, now somewhat older, more focused on the simple things that emerge around us than the shape shifting promise just over the horizon.