Stitches: baby blanket/my father’s sweater
A set of bookends is a mirror object. One and two at the same time, a metonym. A moon in Libra.
I’ve been tweeting and thinking and writing and feeling a lot about grief lately, which to me is a state of being double: being here and elsewhere, being sad and happy, being and not-being. A few days after my last blog post, my father died unexpectedly. He was a big person that left a big hole, but he also taught me the meaning of border-crossing, of becoming. He was a person who was always and already in movement, pushing, never finished, always transforming. He was hard to understand, hard to get a pin on, but the best and most vibrant, creative parts of me come from him.
I am posting this publicly because I think it’s important we recognize the ways that grief, and more broadly emotion and affect, intersects with scholarly pursuits. We are always speaking in doubles: Internally, the why of how we come to research, the stories we tell that lead us to theory (Maracle, 1990). Externally, our outcomes, our data, the obvious effects of the production of knowledge. But as a maker and a researcher of everyday making, I know that the things we make carry the resonances of who we were in that moment of production (Guenon, 1938; Novotny, 2015). The things we make are the products of our material engagement with the world; they are the traces of us in a particular time and place.
In this moment and in this space, I am grieving, and it shows. It is in the Donegal sweater I never finished for da, the dissertation I am writing, the wonky edges of my first woodworking project (okay, let’s put aside the fact that I am terrible at using a bandsaw). I won’t hide these traces, because they are visible, material, inevitable. I am perhaps closer to Tuhiwai-Smith’s (2012) idea of who research is for. It is for memory, in memory. It is a parting gift, a parting glass.