“‘Para’ is a double antithetical prefix signifying at once proximity and distance, similarity and difference, interiority and and exteriority…something simultaneously this side of a boundary line […] and also beyond it, equivalent in status and also secondary…”
-J. Hillis Miller, quoted in Gerard Genette’s Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation
Paranormal. Paralegal. Parasocial. And then I go off looking for more of these words, and wondering about what I find.
I’ve been playing with a little movement exercise. If you’d like to try, it goes like this: rub your thumb and forefinger together. Feel that touch. Then try to separate the sensations coming from your thumb and the sensations coming from your finger. If you move your thumb to include the edge of your fingernail, it might be easier. I think I can feel it as different. I can also feel how these ‘different’ sensations wash back together.
To put it another day: it’s been a heck of a day. Last minute arrangements surrounding a three-minute talk I’m giving at next Tuesday’s research communication event, details about filming one of my Voices projects, finishing pages of my novel to send to my advisor, a rehearsal, and then it was time to teach. Sitting down to write this—late, it’s been that kind of week—I feel exhausted and energized. Far away and right here. Engaged and completely confused.
Paratransit. I think I’ve heard that one, too. It’s something to do with buses, but just now I’d like to think it’s the funniness of going from here to there. Of these words I’m typing in an Illinois classroom bouncing somewhere to shine out from your screen. Of the way my head turns to you, trying to imagine my way to your ‘here,’ and then turns back to writing, and then turns with a lot of excitement to going to bed.
Parasensory. Paraphernalia. Paradox.