I’m an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
- Current courses and projects
- Ancillary posts about modernist literature, mostly written while I taught British Modernism courses in Spring 2014 and 2016 (#VCUBritMod)
- Posts pertaining to my open online course about Visual Poetry (#vizpoem),
- Deliberately multimodal blog posts from Living the Dreams, VCU’s first cMOOC (#thoughtvectors)
- Pedagogy posts reflecting on my experiences teaching in MCALC 4110, the “Incubator” classroom.
- My current vita
As for the site title, that comes from H.D.’s quasi-mystical Notes on Thought and Vision (1919). H.D. was keen to separate the creative faculties from both cold logic and irrational desire; after a breakdown during which she experienced a creatively generative, visionary episode, she developed the concept of the “overmind” or jellyfish state: amorphous, tenebrous, ephemeral, larger-than-self:
The brain, inflamed and excited by this interchange of ideas, takes on its character of over-mind, becomes (as I have visualized in my case) a jelly-fish, placed over and about the brain.
The love-area is excited by the appearance or beauty of the loved one, its energy not dissipated in physical relation, takes on its character of mind, becomes this womb-brain or love-brain that I have visualized as a jelly-fish in the body.
The love-brain and over-brain are capable of thought. This thought is vision. (22)
It took on the shape of a jellyfish for H.D., but she is careful not to define what it would look like for each of the rest of us us (like some sort of totemic spirit-guide); she is also quite clear that the muse need not be gendered at all, and that indeed thinking of the overmind as a separate but related set of human faculties is oddly liberating in comparison with the normative depictions artists have historically placed upon creativity and textual birth. Regardless, the theory of the jellyfish state is for us, as H.D. is merely codifying that which she has already found immensely helpful:
My signposts are not yours, but if I blaze my own trail, it may help to give you confidence and urge you to get out of the murky, dead, old, thousand-times explored old world, the dead world of overworked emotions and thoughts. (24)
At any rate the jellyfish state is, I think, also an apt metaphor for the internet’s hyperreality: like us, in that creators and consumers of internet content are human beings and (whether acknowledged or not) harbor a desire to meet reflections of their humanity on the webz, but unlike us because massively connected to the rest of humanity in ways the body and brain alone cannot contemplate easily, if at all. It remains to be seen if that connectedness can be creative and generative, but one of my assumptions is that it’s a project worth undertaking.
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