Memory Foam and Vibrant Matter

Written By: Charles - Mar• 15•23

Imbolc and the Waiting to Cross Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Septic and Waste. Ruth. Gabe. Probate. My son’s diligence. Kate, always Kate. That Tempurpedic mattress. Sleep. The changing of the times. Kep’s good appetite. Taxes finished. Beau Jo’s pizza. Finished. A workout day. Vibrant Matter. Assemblages. Conatus. Aporetic. Learning new words. ChatbotGPT4. Fun. Resting heart rate getting lower. Dreams. Playfulness. Snow and Cold coming.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Probate and my son


Didn’t expect this. Rotated the Tempurpedic mattress Kate and I bought around Thanksgiving of 2015. Settled in the other night for sleep. Realized that this memory foam mattress contained imprints of Kate’s body. And I was lying on top of them. Felt good. Much like life in the house. The imprints of her life and mine are everywhere, from the collection of specialized kitchen utensils to the small glass Turtle on the new home office shelf. Her sewing room now a dining room. The Portmerion plates, bowls, serving platters. Bought on our honeymoon in London. The oriental rug she bought for her townhouse. Jerry’s two big paintings. Imprinted. In my heart. Imprinted forever. Her memory a blessing.

Ruth has decided she wants to go to CU Boulder, get a BFA with a concentration on printmaking. This is a change from Cornell for a Pharm.D. which has been her focus for the last couple of years. And she may change again. And yet again. She is, after all, sixteen, soon to be seventeen. The time of wide swings in interests, goals, dreams. May she find herself, her focus, her own way when it’s time.

Meanwhile Gabe’s wrestling with facial hair, dead lifting two hundred pounds, and trying to get his GPA up to a B this semester so I’ll take him to Benihana.

Next month is birthday month for this pair. Ruth on the 4th and Gabe on the 22nd, Earthday. Brother Mark’s birthday on the 11th and Dad’s on the 12th, the date of Kate’s death. Also Kate’s second yahrzeit. Gabe will turn 15. A big month for family.


Read chapter 2 of Vibrant Matter. Jane Bennett uses a big Electric grid blackout in 2003 to demonstrate how vibrant matter can act within what she calls an assemblage and affect both human communities and other assemblages. The notion of vibrant matter for her entails a new way of understanding accountability in the political and legal spheres.

Though Enron played a role in this blackout so did the deregulation of the electric grid, changing the rules so power generated in Ohio could be sold to homes in California. More. The behavior of Electricity itself. When running through a grid on its way to a more distant destination Electricity might follow the path set out in the contracts or it might choose to follow a different route. In this case it did, creating on its own a loop of Electricity running through the grid in Ohio and other near by states. In the end it was a complex interaction of vibrant matter, Electricity, Trees falling on transmission wires, Wildfire, legislation, corporate greed, and the building out of exurbs that created the blackout.

This understanding of vibrant matter as what Benett calls an actant changes the legal considerations for assigning blame. A fascinating approach to what I might call animism or paganism.


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