Reading David J. Howe’s The Target Book (which I purchased from the author at L.I. Who 4 last weekend) together with attending a panel discussion (also at L.I. Who) on the Target novelizations featuring Jason Miller, Alan Jope, and Barnaby Edwards, has rekindled my interest in going back to read the Target range of Doctor Who novelizations (a project I started back in August for various reasons). While I still plan on reading all the Target books in order of story transmission (as a way of following the unfolding text of Doctor Who), I’ve given myself permission to skip ahead and read certain books, for example, Ghost Light by Marc Platt. I’ll reread Ghost Light again when it comes up, but this more open approach should allow a more intuitive exploration of the narrative of Doctor Who than one constrained simply by the chronology of transmission.
Just as important as my interest in the content of this project, I’m motivated by the form of the project. A blog is also a kind of unfolding text, like a diary or journal, recording certain activities. The blog provides a space for this imagined text to form. Before, settling on the activity of reading the Target novelizations, I had already decided that I would resume blogging after a long hiatus. The impetus for returning to the practice of blogging was reading Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life. (There’s a second volume which includes analyses of activities like cooking, shopping, navigating public space, etc. coauthored by Luce Giard and Pierre Mayol which is relevant to my project also.) What I’ve noticed is that my engagement with Doctor Who as a text and a socio-cultural activity provides a specific instance of what Michel de Certeau describes in general in his books (I’m not the first one to have noticed this, several other academic writers have made the connection between fanfiction and Michel de Certeau’s concept of textual poaching). And it’s this application which I’ll be writing about (going forward) in this blog, A Text Adventure.
Since beginning my study of Michel de Certeau’s writing, I’ve added a number of other writers and books to the reading list of relevant resource material. (I’ll reveal these sources as they come up naturally.) What I hope to do is apply theory to the text of Doctor Who. While the spine of the narrative will be Doctor Who as represented in the textual adaptations, I will admit the televised “text” as well. (And draw examples from other cultural texts.)
From now on, I will keep these posts brief so that I can maintain the practice of everyday reading and writing which is really at the heart of this project and serves as its base. I’ve resisted blogging for a long time because there is a certain element of “hey look at me, this is what I’m doing right now, isn’t it cool?” which I find alternately tedious and embarrassing. However, as we’ll see in the writings of Michel de Certeau, there is a suggestion that such chronicling of daily activity is essential to modern living (and this was put forward before the internet and social networking became commonplace).