Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
E's post clicked, for me at least, with something I wrote last week. This is the end of my theortica introduction:
Caruth's view of moving beyond comprehension to a world of witnessing is, I think, important in such a study. The scholar cannot know everything, and a displacement of that drive to know, is humbling. But as a scholar, we are expected to bring something forth from these readings. Coupled with this understanding of not understanding are two important questions: What can we understand? Are we useful only as witnesses? I argue no. What we can understand, even as only witnesses to traumatic events, is power through discourse. What we can understand is how power shapes the way these narrators write and understand their experiences. While we may be baffled, left dumb by these stories, we may even question the story's validity, we can still look at their discourse as a serious attempt to shape meaning. What we can ask of the text is not for truth but what powers are playing out in this story. Who are the players? What are the stakes? What kinds of dialogue emerge? How do our players use these discourses to shape their worlds and their bodies? By viewing power as not repressive, as something that flows out over and shapes, then the way power plays out in a memoir becomes focal. The confessional becomes a way to analyze why the inducement to speak seems necessary. What does Palmer need to know in order to function within the group? Where does this will emerge from? What kind of person does it create? Instead of looking for truths about the group, I suggest that a shift of focus brings into a play not only certain discourses but certain mechanisms of power. These mechanisms or techniques are the ways in which any group shapes humans into fitting in with the group. Further this shaping not only comes from those in power but comes directly from those being shaped. The discourse laid out in a memoir affords us a privileged seat to witness these relationships of power and discourses that shape people.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
But it has gotten better. My adviser was much nicer over the phone than in email. H and I edited the next section, I think well, and she was happy. She also loved my Foucault section, and I actually got praise with the feedback. Praise is more than ego stroking; it's a necessary component to feeling like moving on.
I got a job for the fall. I'm teaching what's called a "LBST" class. Basically it's a liberal arts course designed to help students learn to think critically. We have to do Western Religion but we can focus whatever way we like. So I'm doing a Popular/Material Religion theme which I think of as "Religious Stuff." Should be lots of fun, and I plan to use a lot of theory. So if anyone has any recommendations for theoretical stuff on stuff let me know (hint, hint to E and yes W. Benjamin is already on my list:)
It looks like the rough draft to my thesis should be done by a week ahead of deadline! Hurray. This means I might actually get it done for a May graduation.
Friday, February 22, 2008
But I did cook a couple of neat dishes a couple of weeks ago.
The first was this wonderful chickpea noodle soup from the Veganonicom. It was perfect for some of the cold days we had. It was a nice blend of tyme and rosemary (I also added just a tiny bit of basil cause I love basil). The broth ended up being very creamy…not sure why I think it had to do with the chickpeas. I added shiitakes since they are the super mushroom for health. All in all it was a wonderful alternative to chicken noodle soup.
also made molé and no it wasn't totally authenic but it was good. It was the sauce base for a very good pie. The pie had a corn bread/biscuit crust which came out nice and fluffy. Usually these corn bread crust seem too dense but not this one. Inside was a creamy mixture of molé, pinto beans, zuchini, onions, and kale. It had a nice earthy taste, again perfect for chilly days.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
And this is why I sometimes feel sad when I do my daily blog read. I have this amazing community scattered all over the globe. There are times, when I feel isolated within my family (no, not an entirely bad thing) and I think how I wish I lived in a physical community with you all. Here in this circle of blogs, there exists like minded people that I like so much. I love reading your blogs, I love reading your comments on my blog. You have become my friends, my community, and I have never meet most you...at least in the flesh.
As much as the Internet is demonized by so many, and the relationships formed on the Internet are so often decried as unsubstantial...somehow less than what one finds in real life....I wonder. If we only knew one another through letters would that somehow seem more real? Is it because we somehow don't "really know" each other? And what does that mean? Does being in the physical proximity of someone make them more knowable? I used to think maybe...but no. I've been betrayed by too many people I "knew." And I think that maybe I betray my body when I write these things...but maybe no. As I write to you, my fingers make each of these letters and the spaces between those letters. I am aware of the slight burn from the bottom of my laptop on my legs. I taste my sweet, creamy coffee. I can hear Lost playing in the background. With every post I place up on Green Tea Ginger, there is a whole physical history that accompanies the words.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
H tagged me yesterday, and since I'm sitting here in a total state of ennui...
Books on my night stand:
Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy by Anne Dufourmantelle
Witchcraft in Europe by Alan Kors and Edward Peters
Religious Outsiders and the Making of Americans by R. Laurence Moore
A couple of books on Mormon Fundamentalist history...not very interesting to be honest.
Music for my Soul:
Morrissey especially the song "Jack the Ripper" live from My Early Burglary Years
A Place to Bury Strangers
Nick Cave Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
Movies I Watch Over and Over Again:
The Godfather I and II
Wings of Desire
Far Away, So Close
Star Wars (all of them)
Lord of the Rings
Movies I'd Like to See Again:
The Blue, Red, White, Trilogy
Live of Others
but in March
I tag Matt and Jessica but only if you're up to it...it being February and all.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
There are a few reasons why February doesn't suck:
1. Realizations and perspective.
Last night after some sleep induced by sleeping pills, I did wake up with better ideas about the section that was shit. I think I can hammer that out today which will give me an argument, and bring me back on schedule.
I also realized that I might have to extend my graduation to an August date but that would be okay. I can edit in Mexico as the writing would be done in May. This would definitely alleviate a bit of the stress.
I'm not rich so I need to suck it up, get tougher, and spend a year working on little things like grammar, editing, etc. I'm not stupid just lazy and impatient. Those are things I can improve.
2. Great concert tickets. We got a-fucking-mazing seats for Radiohead in May. I'm not a huge fan but H is and this is a concert he's wanted to see for years. And in April we're going away OVERNIGHT!!!! to see Destroyer. And I'm going to see Ministry in April as well with my friend D. Music...drug for the soul.
3. Valentine's Day. Now I am a rather an anti-V-day kind of person but now that I have four people to celebrate love with? Well it's just damn wonderful. I made myself take a day off, and we took the kids to see Spiderwick. They were thrilled, loved the movie, and we all got to be together without me frantically typing yet another thing into the laptop.
So not all bad...
Plus I have a cold.
I fucking hate my life right now. I love H and the kids, and that part of my life is awesome (except that I've been a downright shitty mother (bought them guilt presents on Tuesday and brought them to Spiderwick last night). But the rest of my life...sucks. I hate working. I hate the academic life. I love reading...the writing I don't know but the reading is good. Sometimes I like teaching. But really...I just wish I was rich so I could say "Fuck you" to them all. Excuse any sloppy writing, typos, etc...as my advisor so kindly pointed out "I suck."
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
But I promise to be back...and maybe possibly I will be able to squeeze in some time to write here but I don't want to make any more promises...
Here's what I did with John's poem. I never did get it to collage, or to comic. I am going to go collage but it will have to be a hands on project as opposed to a computer on project...
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Well, already I have not honored my commitment to write every day. I thought that setting up themes would make it easier. And as much as I would like to say it's about time, it's not. I spend a lot of time lately staring off into space, or just sitting on the couch eating. Maybe I'm more depressed than I thought. But here's a beginning…I'll post some pictures and call Monday. I think Monday will have to be my picture day as I spent 12 hours at the university and when I come home, blogging is the last thing on my mind.
Tuesdays are my reports on the multiple books I have going on. I'd love to hear what you, my dear readers, have been reading in the comments and your opinions (if any on what I'm reading).
Here's my list, some with comments and others with just quotes.
Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy by Anne Dufourmantelle. Translated by Catherine Porter. Thanks to dear John B-R for this recommendation.
"Sex is the subterranean fiction that makes us beings pledged to 'the other,' without fail. Philosophy, for its part, is a derivative, secondary obsession. Because philosophy requires that the world be a source of astonishment for us, a source of anxiety and pardon. Thus that there be otherness"(6).
"…we prefer to forget that one enters into words with one's body"(6).
I am not far into this book but already it is inspiring me creatively. I can see that these words will inspire some writing soon. They stick to me, and come to me in my dreams. Sara Ahmed in The Cultural Politics of Emotions writes about emotions as sticky things that adhere to the body. The words in this text are sticky as well. They are like super sticky notes that won't go away. I am fascinated by the phrase 'subterranean fiction.' What does that mean? What it is it? Is sex the only one? Could love be there or is love the same as sex for Dufourmantelle? And I wonder if sex is not also a source of anxiety…but I haven't read yet to begin a critique of her theory….right now I am dancing with her words.
Witchcraft in Europe: 400-1700: A Documentary History Edited by Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters
Obviously this is a text for school. I do love primary sources though, and this one is quite fascinating. It contains various Papal Bulls concerning witchcraft and heresy as well as various treaties on witchcrafts in addition to witch-hunting manuals. There is a general attitude from the editors that the focus has been misplaced on women, and yet it is hard to not miss the outright misogyny in the texts. There was a call in class tonight to not blame "these people" for this hatred and to try to understand. I don't know if I can do this, and nor am I entirely convinced that we should. I have never been asked to sympathize with the Nazis when reading such primary sources. I wonder if understanding has to involve empathy or sympathy.
But my quote is funny: "And what, then, is to be thought of those witches who in this way sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eats oats and corn, as has been seen by many, and is a matter of common report? It is to be said that it is all done by devil's work and illusion, for the senses of those who see them are deluded in the way we have said. For a certain man tells that, when he had lost his member, he approached a known witch to ask her to restore it to him. She told the afflicted man to climb a certain tree, and that he might take which he liked out of a nest in which there were several members. And when he tried to take a big one, the witch said: You must not take that one; adding, because it belonged to a parish priest(203).
Hold onto your members…
Fluffy reading. I don't normally engage in fluffy reading during the semester but my lovely reoccurring insomnia struck again so late exhausted nights don't lend themselves well to my school texts.
First, I read Hard Row by Margaret Maron. I do love a good mystery, and Maron's books are all set in NC so they're fun. Plus she's a good writer, and I like her characters. But this book bothered me on many levels. First it involved migrant workers in NC which wasn't bad in itself. There was an "interracial" relationship in the book between a Mexican landscaper and one of the female detective. The woman's family is racist and disowns her until she leaves the man. One of the main characters in the book, when told this story, says "Family is important." Ummm…yeah okay. Even when they're racist assholes? The whole implication is that maybe it's better if we all get along but don't breed together. Whoa. I'm hoping that in her next book, she fleshes this out more. And then her take on abused women. God it was horrible. It was basically that they didn't do enough to protect themselves, and that their deaths could not be laid at the feet of law enforcement. So fluffy reading gone bad.
And speaking of going bad…Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn't even finish this one. Her self-righteous attitude rankled big time. Basically, she moves her family from Arizona to the Appalachian Mountains in order to farm, and to live off locally, seasonally correct food for a year. No grocery stores, etc. The book has interesting tidbits about farming (including a rousing endorsement for tobacco farmers while pointedly ignoring that tobacco KILLS people because hey tobacco sent her to college), but it also contains a great deal about how those of us who don't buy organic, seasonally, etc are totally destroying the planet, and putting small farmers out of business. And I'm sure she's right on many levels but the manner in which she puts it is so…patronizing and judgmental. She seems to have no awareness that what she's doing is totally a middle-class venture available only because she has money (no doubt she had a book contract while she was doing this experiment in living). She made ridiculous critical statements about those who could not make their own pasta…of course we ALL have the time to do this…Basically she really made me ill. I felt that her lack of class consciousness was very sad. She bemoans the poor farmer but says nothing of the fact that most people can't afford to pay 6.00 for a few lbs. of zucchini which is the going price at our local farmer's market…or how about $8 for a small bottle of honey? I do try to shop at Farmer's Markets but they are very pricey. And they are also quite far away, as in 45 min. of driving so I'm using up my own fossil fuel to get there as are the vendors who don't usually grow in Charlotte. Couple this with some outright racist farmers who will not get my business, and well sometimes our local grocery store (a block way filled with wonderful local people) is a better option. I'm curious to see what others have thought about this book.
But it did inspire me to try to make some small changes. I'm going to start taking the bus on Wednesdays (the bus doesn't come out here late on Mondays). It's only one day without a car but it's a start. In addition, H and I have committed to do something about our reliance on paper towels.
A rather dull post but hey I wroteJ
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
Basically I had way too much to do, and none of it involved doing what I needed to do. This week I: cat sat three cats, taught two classes on subjects I knew nothing about, drove back and forth from campus to help H(who had an emergency root canal this week), drove to campus for a kid exchange so I could meet the a canidate for our theories and methods position, and then today...
Well today was pretty much the worst. I discovered at a presentation of a MA thesis that the person presenting had been accepted to Chapel Hill. And that another women who used to teach at our school was also accepted. This means, that had I been accepted I would have been informed. I had to sit through this guy's presentation, and then had to sit afterward while everyone congraulated him on getting into the school I didn't, and SMILE through it all. I haven't cried yet. I thought I would cry in the car but I didn't.
And I know that this is likely for the best. The person I want to study with at Chapel Hill is leaving. I also realized that my area is really litearture and theory which is not what I billed myself as, and that it what I should be billing myself as. I know there are better schools to apply to (Duke and U of Toronto for instance). But the bottom line is that I got rejected. And I KNOW all the crap about it's normal, and how hard it is blah, blah. But what it really comes down to is that for whatever reason, I wasn't good enough. And that stings. It stings enough to make it really hard to imagine trying to sell myself again.
This kind of rejection before going into my thesis is difficult. Right now I just feel pretty inaccuarate for anything. The confidence I felt at the beginning of the week about getting this thesis done is not totally gone. I feel very "not good enough" right now on so many levels.