We frame what we desire; we create a space and fill it.
"Stuart Hampshire writes:
'a type of situation in which judgments of necessity and both theoretical and practical possibility become urgent and important, a type of situation to which poetry and fiction are always recurring: the situation of retrospection and regret. Any person's actual history can be seen in retrospect as a track between two margins. Just over the left margin are all those things that could have been or might have happened to him, and that nearly happened to him, stretching back along the margin into the past. On the right-hand side of the track are all those things that he might have done, and that he nearly did, and that were real possibilities or options for him, stretching back into the past.'
"It is a common enough picture in seeing life as a track (or path, or river), but strange in imagining that track as bounded by ghostly, counterfactual possibilities. We’re accustomed, if not always happily accustomed, to thinking of our life as bounded by birth and death, beginning and end. But Hampshire reminds us of other boundaries, to our left and right, as he has it: it is not just that my life will come to a stop, be limited in the future, but that it is limited now, at every moment."
—Miller, Andrew H. “‘A Case of Metaphysics’: Counterfactuals, Realism, Great Expectations.” ELH 79.3 (2012): 774.
"Though situated in the body and thus responsive to what we might call context, affect remains in excess of consciousness, and thus of recognized event. Brian Massumi associates affect with the virtual; it designates ‘something happening out of mind,’ something ‘passing too quickly to be perceived, too quickly , actually, to have happened.’ … Affect, Massumi continues, is a realm with ‘a different temporal structure, in which past and future brush shoulders with no mediating present’—where the present, we might say, is vacant, or filled only with the past and future. In this passing present, then, affect comprises a welter of unsorted feelings and sensations, often contradictory and contending. These are the entities that David Hume, writing in his own idiom, identified as ‘passions’ per se. They arise, Hume says, ‘originally in the soul, or body, whichever you please to call it, without any preceding thought or perception.’ It is therefore ‘impossible we can ever, by a multitude of words, give a just definition of them.’ As a result affect is assigned meaning only retroactively and reductively after it has, in Hume’s terms, ‘settled’ into an identifiable emotion—say fear or hope. In fact, to follow Massumi’s characterization of this dynamic, it becomes clear that affect is identifiable only as it enters (is ‘dampened’ down into) what he calls linearization, casual explanation, or accounts of before and after: the chronology of clock time. Until assigned a place in narrative sequence, until given a temporal/emotional vector (hope or dread), affect exists rather as undifferentiated intensity. To write, then, a history of the meantime—where the present is empty and where historical meaning cannot yet be assigned—is to conjure temporal and emotional confusion. As a sort of emotional hiatus, or a feeling not yet recognized as such, anomie—no less than derangement—serves as emblem and acknowledgement of the excessiveness dwelling in a time with no mediating present. Wartime is (also) this unmediating present writ large, a historiographical meantime—where past and future brush shoulders, where promise cannot separate from a sense of being too late.”
—Mary A. Favret, War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime, 2010, p. 80
All of us inhabit an interdependent late-twentieth-century world marked by borrowing and lending across porous national and cultural boundaries that are saturated with inequality, power, and domination.
The contention came, after all, to this—the secret was such an old one now, had so grown into me and become a part of myself, that I could not tear it away.
"[C]ategories presented in a culture as symmetrical binary oppositions—heterosexual/homosexual, in this case—actually subsist in a more unsettled and dynamic tacit relation according to which, first, term B is not symmetrical with but subordinated to term A; but, second, the ontologically valorized term A actually depends for its meaning on the simultaneous subsumption and exclusion of term B; hence, third, the question of priority between the supposed central and the supposed marginal category of each dyad is irresolvably unstable, an instability caused by the fact that term B is constituted as at once internal and external to term A."
—Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet
'That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns of flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.'
—Charles Dickens, Great Expectations