Mar 18, 2011

A Spring Update on the New York City Subway Stories Project


In between teaching, being a philosophy graduate student, and making ends meet, I've been spending lots and lots of time writing about the New York City Subway. If you don't know about my project, read about it here.

I write like a flanêur. What this means is I write as if I am collecting stories. What this means is that my entries on the subway are impressionistic rather than expository pieces. I am allowing the stations that make up the subway system to be points of creative entry for me. I try to draw philosophical and creative energy from the stations, the neighborhood surrounding the station, the people, and my own neurotic life to portray a pastiche for each entry.

I have no idea what the final product will look like or whether or not it will it have a completeness to it.

The coolest thing will be that I will have written my way through the system. It's my motivation.

But, I'm going at a snail's pace.

I think the reason for this is that I first thought the project would be simpler. But as I go from station to station the immensity of the system makes my project seem more immense. I feel like I am trying to pull a particularity out of a vastness that cannot be particularized.

So, I make stuff up. Some of the stuff I write about is real while other are condensed (like in a dream) and other stuff is literally the way it happened.

The thesis of the subway project is as follows: by writing about individual stations and individual stories I will end up having a literary representation of a subway system that has only been thought of in terms of anything but Benjamin's flanêur.

I hope you enjoy this collecting project.

Peace,

Greig

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