Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Writing in Michigan

I am going to be in northern Michigan this summer, living in a "writing cabin" of sorts. I am working to finish a draft of my book manuscript, a revised and expanded version of my dissertation, which was entitled "Airport Reading."*

I'm thinking of calling the book The Textual Life of Airports. It is a book about airport stories. It is about the common narratives of airports that circulate in everyday life, and about the secret stories of airports—the strange or hidden narratives that do not always fit into standard ideas of these sites. I locate these airport stories primarily in American literature, and I argue that literary representations reveal what I call “the textual life” of airports. This textual life is an interpretive aspect of airports that often rubs against common sense understandings of what airports symbolize. My book on airports is unique in that it uses literature not merely as one form of cultural representation among many; rather, I turn to literature as a critical material for thinking about how airports function culturally, psychologically, philosophically—and finally, environmentally.

*I'm also thinking of recycling the title "Airport Reading," and using it for a very short non-fiction book about my time working at the airport in Bozeman, Montana. This book would contain the stories of the strange things I saw and did 'behind the scenes', as it were, at the airport. I wrote these stories during the time that the poet Mark Yakich and I were collaborating on a book on flight—a book that could never quite get off the ground...perhaps because it was so interested in plane crashes—a subject that is not exactly "light reading."