In humble imitation of my most favorite sci-fi (though she’s so much more than that) writer, Ursula Le Guin, I am appropriating her phrase “future archeology,” from her talk in Summer 1983 at Indiana University in Bloomington, where she came for a writer’s conference. My left brain was then engaged in studying semiotics with Thomas Sebeok and I found my right brain and/or heart drawn to her lecture. [note long delay while I surfed the web but I cannot find the book I’m thinking of, either on her own website, Amazon or Wikipedia]. She was talking about her most recent work, a short novel on, not clash of two cultures, but on becoming acquainted with one another when both cultures have rather polar philosophies. In this case it was the caballeros culture of old Latin America, who came to the planet first, exiled from earth because of their extreme views, and followers of Mahatma Gandhi’s peace principles (can’t remember what they were called) who are exiled many generations later. Great book if you can find it!
But “future archeology.” This powerful evocative phrase has stayed with me. Aunty Ursula (this is what she encouraged me to call her when I was lucky enough to speak to her in person that summer) represents that broad and deep understanding of human life shaped by beliefs, geography, and time that enables her to transcend linear history in all her work and creates worlds that co-exist beyond space and time.
Now, as then, I am a wannabe writer who had strayed into academia because she had no clue about the world of writing. Since I enjoyed every moment of conscious study of literature, play on words, images, symbols, signs, abstract representation, and visceral experience, those couple of decades gave me great joy. But, and unfortunately, there it is. But.
So, I find that as I once more embark on this thing called “writing,” I am leaving my own trail for those future archeologists, not the ones to discover the unknown and the unimagined and make it live, but for those who patiently pore over old notes to reconstruct a creative past. Yes those biographical scholars who love the art so much that they are willing to spend their entire lives excavating the genius of others.
With the outsize ego of the wannabe creator, I jot notes, recording time and place in digital form on paper and on electronic files, about my writing.
Semiotics at its best illuminates self-reference, a mystical and delightful pursuit when someone like Eco creates The Name of the Rose. From the fringes, I admire the daring of the future archeologist of human nature, Le Guin, and the insouciance of Eco and his ilk (Jorge Luis Borges comes to mind), playing with the notions of time, reality, signs, and meanings.
By the way, I just discovered the way to add a video (aka YouTube) link to explain the beautiful concept that caused me to choose my username! You have to check out at least that one!!!