Writing Home: a) “Once we wrote Home and it was wonderful. Something had come to live in Home, and we thought it was very clever that such a thing could live with us and let us live in Home. Home became us, and we became Home. There was a transformation in it, perhaps the reflection of the time we came to write Home. Unnamed creatures appeared as we wrote, living in the cracks and on the shelves and corners…. We have begun to feel Home take a life of its own, moving away from us: a slow separation of thing and being.” —Stephen Cain, Double Helix (Above Ground Press, 2003). b) To “write home” implies the ambivalent position of being away, as in writing a letter to home from a distant place, while also maintaining a tangible contact with a sense of self in place, as in the physical act of writing the word “home” in an embodiment of eye, ear, and muscle within the space of the page. c) [ “It is odd to be in this world, / so I think there must be another we belong.” ] [ “I write the word lovely and mean, feed me the figs.” ]
Mapping Home: a) “Language is a labyrinth of paths. You approach from one side and know your way about; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about." —Wittgenstein, Philisophical Investigations. b) Alfred Korzybski's famous premise that “the map is not the territory” suggests that an abstraction is not the “thing itself,” but it does not diminish the socio-glyphic potential of the map. For instance, in 1929 historians discovered a map drawn in 1513 on a gazelle skin by the Turkish cartographer Piri Reis. The map depicts, in astonishing detail, the coastlines of South Africa, South America, and regions of Antarctica that were not systematically charted until 1818.
In annotations written in its margins, Piri Reis comments that his map is actually a depository of various source maps, word-of-mouth accounts, and texts archived by the early Byzantine Empire, all of which had been passed on from antiquity. One potential for the technology of the map is thus its ritualistic performance of the social transactions between orality, printed text, and the graphic. c) [ “In The Power of Maps, Denis Wood described a map as 'a compilation of what others have seen or found out or discovered ...the things they learned piled up in layer on top of layer so that to study even the simplest-looking image is to peer back through ages of cultural acquisition'” ] [ “an em dashing and an em bracing / coming in—/where you left off” ]
Transcribing Home: a) “Any language use is thus a site of power relationships because a language, at any historical moment, is a specific conjuncture of a major form holding sway over minor variables. Lebercle calls them the 'remainder.' The remainder subverts the major form by revealing it to be socially and historically situated, by stating 'the return' within language of the contradictions and struggles that make up the social, and by containing as well the anticipation of future ones.” —Lawrence Venuti, The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. b) Venuti's theory of translation does not necessarily dismiss the conventional “cardinal virtues” of translation— fidelity to the source text and the transparency of the target language—but it addresses the possibility of other cultural terrains that might be opened in the “carrying over” between discourses, as in the chance encounters between “found materials” or the various slippages and transpositionings within the interiors one's own language. c) [ “alike, we are only this, / likenesses, our likeness” ] [ “the object is presumed to be authentic. it swims towards itself.” ]