Roland Barthes despaired of keeping a diary. Too boring. Too frustrating. The diary disease, he called it. But there was one point of interest, and that had to do with re-reading an entry several months or years later. This could provide pleasure due to the awakening of a memory not in what was written but in “the interstices of notation.” For instance, on re-reading the entry relating his having to wait for a bus one disappointing evening on the rue de Rivoli in Paris, he recalls the grayness—”but no use trying to describe it now, anyway, or I’ll lose it again instead of some other sensation, and so on, as if resurrection always occurred alongside the thing expressed: role of the Phantom, of the Shadow.” This is certainly intriguing, yet what is this Phantom, and what might it tell us about fieldwork notebooks?
Saturday, March 16th, 2013