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xix

But this view of hanging out obscures the creative nature of indolence: creativity takes thought and thought takes time. What I’m arguing for here, then, is the reclaiming of time, which is both the essence of hanging out and its main ingredient, along with the reclaiming of the basic material components that are required for the so-called killing of time, by which I mean space. When we set aside time and space for hanging out, we assert our right to be non-productive, in the economic sense, and likewise our right to produce differently, by focusing on the work that is required for the strengthening of social ties. [...]

—p.xix Introduction (vii) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

But this view of hanging out obscures the creative nature of indolence: creativity takes thought and thought takes time. What I’m arguing for here, then, is the reclaiming of time, which is both the essence of hanging out and its main ingredient, along with the reclaiming of the basic material components that are required for the so-called killing of time, by which I mean space. When we set aside time and space for hanging out, we assert our right to be non-productive, in the economic sense, and likewise our right to produce differently, by focusing on the work that is required for the strengthening of social ties. [...]

—p.xix Introduction (vii) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
13

I know that I said this at the time because it’s something that I have often said, and often felt. In a world where every party is a Facebook party—meaning that it comes with expectations about the public advertising and dispersal of essentially private acts—the idea of self-promotion starts to operate with the pernicious force of routine. But, over the years, I have worked to understand and see that routinization as a side effect of what life in a hyperconnected world looks like, and not as a worthy or desirable end in itself. The point is not to work toward self-promotion but to discover ways to live within a system that favors self-promotional tendencies while still carving out a space for what feels genuine and real. This is what I was trying to communicate to my colleague who, apparently, took personal offense at what I was saying.

—p.13 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

I know that I said this at the time because it’s something that I have often said, and often felt. In a world where every party is a Facebook party—meaning that it comes with expectations about the public advertising and dispersal of essentially private acts—the idea of self-promotion starts to operate with the pernicious force of routine. But, over the years, I have worked to understand and see that routinization as a side effect of what life in a hyperconnected world looks like, and not as a worthy or desirable end in itself. The point is not to work toward self-promotion but to discover ways to live within a system that favors self-promotional tendencies while still carving out a space for what feels genuine and real. This is what I was trying to communicate to my colleague who, apparently, took personal offense at what I was saying.

—p.13 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
22

Between McCullers and Green, then, we have two snapshots of what it was like to party in the year 1939, in the midst of the Great Depression, or the “Great Slump” as it was known in England. Though ostensibly quite different, and with a whole ocean separating their respective authors, these two novels engage in a simultaneous and historically specific contemplation of hanging out, something akin to what Raymond Williams calls a “structure of feeling.” Williams uses this term to identify artistic works that express a similar historical worldview, or else encapsulate and respond to a shared set of “palpable pressures,” as he calls them. A structure of feeling unites two artistic works though the artists or authors in question may have nothing in common and no working knowledge of each other.

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—p.22 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

Between McCullers and Green, then, we have two snapshots of what it was like to party in the year 1939, in the midst of the Great Depression, or the “Great Slump” as it was known in England. Though ostensibly quite different, and with a whole ocean separating their respective authors, these two novels engage in a simultaneous and historically specific contemplation of hanging out, something akin to what Raymond Williams calls a “structure of feeling.” Williams uses this term to identify artistic works that express a similar historical worldview, or else encapsulate and respond to a shared set of “palpable pressures,” as he calls them. A structure of feeling unites two artistic works though the artists or authors in question may have nothing in common and no working knowledge of each other.

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—p.22 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
29

[...] These stories would spin out and hook up with others, like the one about the time when Paul got caught by a blizzard on I-89 and spent the better part of a day trapped in his car in the company of a bunch of his own graduate students. These were stories of other times and other parties, essentially, but they served to kindle a new and deeper kind of intimacy. They helped to make us see that this party, our party, was the offspring of all those past parties and thus connected in a long chain of faded social linkages.

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—p.29 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

[...] These stories would spin out and hook up with others, like the one about the time when Paul got caught by a blizzard on I-89 and spent the better part of a day trapped in his car in the company of a bunch of his own graduate students. These were stories of other times and other parties, essentially, but they served to kindle a new and deeper kind of intimacy. They helped to make us see that this party, our party, was the offspring of all those past parties and thus connected in a long chain of faded social linkages.

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—p.29 Hanging Out at Parties (3) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
43

The novelist Rick Moody says in his wonderful Hotels of North America that blank spaces like hotel rooms—or, in my case, a friend’s apartment in a foreign city—help us to “see the horizon, even if there is no land to be witnessed there.” They promote introspection and mental adjustment, which is maybe what is so terrifying about them. A person is never so much themselves as when they are alone in a hotel room. The same thing, it turned out, could be said for being alone in someone else’s vacant apartment. I tried to remind myself that I was alone there only because I was waiting for the time to come when I wouldn’t have to be. But under the doubled weight of all that expectation and memory, the days lasted for weeks and the nights for years.

—p.43 Hanging Out With Strangers (33) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

The novelist Rick Moody says in his wonderful Hotels of North America that blank spaces like hotel rooms—or, in my case, a friend’s apartment in a foreign city—help us to “see the horizon, even if there is no land to be witnessed there.” They promote introspection and mental adjustment, which is maybe what is so terrifying about them. A person is never so much themselves as when they are alone in a hotel room. The same thing, it turned out, could be said for being alone in someone else’s vacant apartment. I tried to remind myself that I was alone there only because I was waiting for the time to come when I wouldn’t have to be. But under the doubled weight of all that expectation and memory, the days lasted for weeks and the nights for years.

—p.43 Hanging Out With Strangers (33) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
63

I owe much of what I’ve come to know about hanging out to both of my Pittsburgh bands, but especially to The Armadillos. It was with them that I gained, or perhaps gave myself, permission to revel in the kind of shared quest for meaning that is the privileged domain of youth. In the other band, the good band, I was the youngest. Everyone else in it had jobs and homes and kids and responsibilities. But with The Armadillos, it was different. If we had jobs, we hated and were trying to quit them. Our homes, meanwhile, were marked by similar conditions of contingency: they came and went, evaporating at the end of a lease or due to a sudden rise in the rent and, in some cases, proved even temporarily nonexistent.

—p.63 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

I owe much of what I’ve come to know about hanging out to both of my Pittsburgh bands, but especially to The Armadillos. It was with them that I gained, or perhaps gave myself, permission to revel in the kind of shared quest for meaning that is the privileged domain of youth. In the other band, the good band, I was the youngest. Everyone else in it had jobs and homes and kids and responsibilities. But with The Armadillos, it was different. If we had jobs, we hated and were trying to quit them. Our homes, meanwhile, were marked by similar conditions of contingency: they came and went, evaporating at the end of a lease or due to a sudden rise in the rent and, in some cases, proved even temporarily nonexistent.

—p.63 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
71

We weren’t famous, but we were popular, at least in a limited, local sense. That meant we had connections. We hosted bands when they came through town and then asked and received the same favors, in turn. Each summer, we toured south to Asheville, North Carolina—Big Rock Candy Mountain as we called it. There, you could sleep out every night, if it was summer and if you had to, and the handouts really did appear to grow on bushes, just like in the song. In Asheville, an hour’s worth of busking usually got us a full tank of gas, plus a round of burritos and beers on the side. We were friendly with another band that was based there. Its three members lived in a tiny rented house that sat jacked up on stilts and fronting the Swannanoa River. It was one in a line of identical houses, all of them similarly filled with musicians and bandmates. It was a whole neighborhood of splashy, summery, musical mayhem, without a single guy downstairs in sight.

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—p.71 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

We weren’t famous, but we were popular, at least in a limited, local sense. That meant we had connections. We hosted bands when they came through town and then asked and received the same favors, in turn. Each summer, we toured south to Asheville, North Carolina—Big Rock Candy Mountain as we called it. There, you could sleep out every night, if it was summer and if you had to, and the handouts really did appear to grow on bushes, just like in the song. In Asheville, an hour’s worth of busking usually got us a full tank of gas, plus a round of burritos and beers on the side. We were friendly with another band that was based there. Its three members lived in a tiny rented house that sat jacked up on stilts and fronting the Swannanoa River. It was one in a line of identical houses, all of them similarly filled with musicians and bandmates. It was a whole neighborhood of splashy, summery, musical mayhem, without a single guy downstairs in sight.

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—p.71 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
72

On it went. We’d seen no cars approach and had no idea where they came from, these improvisatory ghosts. They sprang up out of the night, armed with a knowledge of our chords and our songs or, at least, enough skill to quickly piece it all together and join right in. I played a Gillian Welch song. The woman with the fiddle asked if I knew any more. I started in on “Red Clay Halo” and she was ready with a complementary fiddle part and also vocal harmonies on the chorus. It was fluid and easy, like a conversation between old friends. It was hanging out—delighting in a shared project, a shared language, with no guys downstairs and no one listening in from the outside, badgering us with requests or demanding a sculpted, polished performance. There was no performance. There was just us, a group of strangers, all gathered together in the dark, listening to each other.

—p.72 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

On it went. We’d seen no cars approach and had no idea where they came from, these improvisatory ghosts. They sprang up out of the night, armed with a knowledge of our chords and our songs or, at least, enough skill to quickly piece it all together and join right in. I played a Gillian Welch song. The woman with the fiddle asked if I knew any more. I started in on “Red Clay Halo” and she was ready with a complementary fiddle part and also vocal harmonies on the chorus. It was fluid and easy, like a conversation between old friends. It was hanging out—delighting in a shared project, a shared language, with no guys downstairs and no one listening in from the outside, badgering us with requests or demanding a sculpted, polished performance. There was no performance. There was just us, a group of strangers, all gathered together in the dark, listening to each other.

—p.72 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
76

I said before that jamming with those mystery musicians in Asheville was like conversation, like talking. This is because, though we were strangers and hadn’t met before, we already spoke the same language, to the point of being able to comfortably improvise and embellish upon each other’s uses of it. This is Fred Moten’s way of viewing improvisation which, he says, “is located at a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between feeling and reflection, disarmament and preparation, speech and writing.” The “speech” of improvisation is immediate and ad hoc, while the “writing” of improvisation involves laying something down that can be returned to later. It is this combination that leads Moten to call improvisation “speech without foresight.”[7] It lacks foresight because it cannot see what is coming and so is driven to constantly adapt and make use of whatever is there, even as it is still arriving. But there’s an undeniable element of futurity—Moten calls it “prophecy”—that arises from such processes. To improvise is to anticipate and plan without working toward a definite outcome. It’s a form of prophecy without pronouncement, a way of imagining the future without committing to the limitations of what that future has to be.

—p.76 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

I said before that jamming with those mystery musicians in Asheville was like conversation, like talking. This is because, though we were strangers and hadn’t met before, we already spoke the same language, to the point of being able to comfortably improvise and embellish upon each other’s uses of it. This is Fred Moten’s way of viewing improvisation which, he says, “is located at a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between feeling and reflection, disarmament and preparation, speech and writing.” The “speech” of improvisation is immediate and ad hoc, while the “writing” of improvisation involves laying something down that can be returned to later. It is this combination that leads Moten to call improvisation “speech without foresight.”[7] It lacks foresight because it cannot see what is coming and so is driven to constantly adapt and make use of whatever is there, even as it is still arriving. But there’s an undeniable element of futurity—Moten calls it “prophecy”—that arises from such processes. To improvise is to anticipate and plan without working toward a definite outcome. It’s a form of prophecy without pronouncement, a way of imagining the future without committing to the limitations of what that future has to be.

—p.76 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago
77

These questions help to focus attention on the narrator’s brother’s ambitions. Sonny explains that playing jazz is “the only thing” he wants to do[9]—the only thing that excites and compels him enough to keep him away from more destructive forces, namely heroin. His brother is opposed to the idea because it’s an incomprehensible one to him. To commit to playing jazz would be to commit to a whole life of improvisation, not just in musical terms but in the larger terms of employment and futurity. The narrator wants to be able to rest knowing that his younger brother, who already has a criminal record and drug conviction under his belt at age seventeen, is safe. He does not want to suffer through years of watching Sonny improvise his way through the world.

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—p.77 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago

These questions help to focus attention on the narrator’s brother’s ambitions. Sonny explains that playing jazz is “the only thing” he wants to do[9]—the only thing that excites and compels him enough to keep him away from more destructive forces, namely heroin. His brother is opposed to the idea because it’s an incomprehensible one to him. To commit to playing jazz would be to commit to a whole life of improvisation, not just in musical terms but in the larger terms of employment and futurity. The narrator wants to be able to rest knowing that his younger brother, who already has a criminal record and drug conviction under his belt at age seventeen, is safe. He does not want to suffer through years of watching Sonny improvise his way through the world.

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—p.77 Jamming as Hanging Out (59) by Sheila Liming 2 months ago