Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Last night I attended the lecture of a prestigious senior academic with degrees and books galore and found myself passionately, burningly, fundamentally troubled by her premise.  It is opposed to the very principle that guides my work in literary criticism and cultural studies–and when I confronted her with it she said, simply, “you must not think that way.  You must not.”  But she had a reading of Gramsci I did not remember picking up in my training, which included lots of Gramsci over the course of five years, so all I could say was, “I’ll have to look at it again,” which in pre-flood days meant going back to my marked-up text (I never dog-ear, never) and because of those markings, remembering what I had read and how I read and what arguments the professor made and so forth, and returning to Distinguished Professor and saying, “your argument does not stand up to X, Y, and Z.”  I could go to the library, but which Gramsci, what section?  what passage?  I don’t have time to re-read.  And then when I was going through the logical steps on the car ride home, twitching, I was trying to remember the steps of social change in Vico–and I know it starts with thunder, then goes to fear, and then the invention of diety–but Vico is gone, too, along with the fingerprints of a younger, less confident, more sponge-like student and her notes.  There may be some notes in the bin of files Attic Man saved as the water was rising, but they are all out of order now and not easily gone through with a grabby toddler around.

For someone with a poor memory, marked-up books constitute a history.  For someone whose identity in large part draws upon her intellectual history and development, it is a profound loss to have that history, ink bled, slogged into a landfill…


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are my new favorite days. Look, I like being home with the Snapper and it’s its own challenge, but it’s not particularly intellectual for me. Tuesdays and Thursdays he is going to daycare full days and it is awesome. I come in the middle of the day to nurse him down for his nap, but the other seven-odd hours are mine to read and write. I am having a ball. Perhaps I’ll hit another slump but I am loving my life on these days. Due to illness/weather we’ve only had two Thursdays but between them I analyzed two collections of poems and wrote six pages. Eventually I’d like to get up to ten pages a week and beyond. Six is a good start for now.

The Snapper’s daycare is quite a find. They tend to have openings a bit more often than other places because it’s itty bitty and no one seems to know about it due to poor advertising (which is fine with me). The itty bitty part is really nice. The Snapper has only two classmates, one lead teacher, and one teacher’s aide. The other rooms are all near to each other and they visit the next oldest and next youngest during the day, so when they transition they have a great sense of continuity. They’re a non-profit. They pay a living wage to their teachers. It’s clean, neat, organized, but relaxed in feel which is nice for the kids. The Snap seems to have taken to it, too. We’re pretty happy with the situation.

I think it helps that I get out of the house to get work done. It is seriously difficult to get any work done around here because my office is also my office for household business and where I keep my clothes and it is always a mess. I like working in IC, too, because it is a university community and I really feed off the vibe. In the morning I work at a cafe near the Snapper’s daycare and today I shamelessly eavesdropped on a conversation between a professor and a TA. I couldn’t make out everything they were talking about but it made me miss teaching something fierce and also having people around to talk to about my work and teaching. I miss university life so much. I like the U of I library too and it helps with my level of distraction.

Last night as I was up with the Snapper from 12:45 to 1:45 am I was thinking about how I had to get up in just a few hours and how exhausted I was but I had a great day anyway.

I have to get this doctorate so I can start living this life everyday.

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