This is a start. Sweaty fingertips nervously typing in hopes of finding a new way to open my mind back up and find maybe not my voice but just a voice, at this point, that would help.
I am looking for ways to release the pressure. So this is going to be a place to (I was going to say dump out, but I think I’ll go with) scrape out some layers. I am not sure how to write without drama if I’m not writing academically. I want this blog to help me write academically. I came here today to see about writing down some intentions about what I’m going to try to do here.
One main thing is just to keep a record of what’s on my mind from what I’m reading and what I want to write about. One day I would like to say “what I’m writing about” and not be telling a story that isn’t true. Soon would be good.
I also want this blog to help me write creatively again because I miss it a lot and I don’t want to feel anymore like all of those pieces have died and are now just dried up dust bugs at the bottom of the light shade making things hard to see.
How can people blog? Isn’t it a lot like telling your fears? Kind of inappropriate; makes me uncomfortable, but that’s not the whole truth, I suppose. How can anyone write without it being an exercise in total unapologetic narcissism?
Intentions then so far: To write to take the pressure off. To keep track of what’s on my mind about what I’m reading and writing. To revisit writing in general. To help me to write academically and to help me to write creatively. To keep track of all the cool research stuff that I find that is so exciting and exists out there in this kind of fragile and elusive way. I hate trying to figure out taking notes and recording the stuff I come upon when the tracking is just going along and fitting into a personal groove that is associative and inspired and too easily disrupted by the idea that I should really be trying to connect things in a reasonable, sensible, orderly, organised, methodical way. I have developed some good research skills and twice as many super bad habits that ensure their uselessness. What is the point? World?
Intentions: To do something that doesn’t serve any particular purpose besides enjoying myself and plunking in some gems here and there, and I think to have a journal again. To have a place to track ideas.
It’s hard not to feel resistance as I do this, like I’m avoiding actually saying what the interests are. I mean, what MY interests are. (Silly indefinite article. I saw what you did there.)
OK, here’s what I’m going to do. A brief summary: Eight and a half years of post-secondary education and counting (yes that is a monkey riding me, just let’s together ignore him, no problem, OK). My very own room. (Hey!!) A man who lets me ____ (fill in the blank). Two young women (including my own seventeen-year-old womb-spawn) who torment, challenge, push, defy, boss, annoy, and impress me. A backward bend that is currently creaky but (!!!) no back pain. Three hot water bags in pyjamas, amounting to twelve legs, three tails, six winking eyes, a pretty large vocabulary, and plenty of sass. (And one was Johnny, who lives by himself.) A preference for the serial, or Oxford, comma. (Dropped most of a minor in journalism, blech.) A mortgage. An excellent ear. A lonely guitar. An old flame. A table that I’m keeping even though it doesn’t fit into my house anywhere. A pretty good idea of “Literatures of the West Coast” despite a whole lot of bullshit last year.
So I’m into utopian studies, which goes a few different ways. I am looking for a way to write about what I started off calling the local back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s/70s counterculture. I guess I’ve been learning to look at this in more specific and changing ways over the last year and a half, so that’s one thing I’d like to unpack here. On the advice of EC I am working right now on Huxley’s Brave New World. I don’t think she meant the advice to be to research the motherfuck out of it, but I kind of am. She meant, I think, to simply suggest that you can’t write about utopian (or dystopian–at this juncture it’s really the same bag) societies without referring to that text, so, OK, good, I am. I have been researching this book alongside Louis Althusser’s “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in order to conduct a Marxist reading of it, and I am heavily distracted by Slavoj Žižek and Fredric Jameson. I’ve done way too much reading and haven’t written a bit. I have a long bibliography, and the next step is to annotate it so that I can start collecting my thoughts and remembering what I’ve read without worrying about it so much. Working on a mind map too. For the purposes of this paper, in its initial iteration at least, I need one focussed theory and one theoretical problem, and I will be using BNW to discuss it. Meanwhile, as a classic text in the utopian studies vein, BNW is yielding good meaty inquiry for my overarching interests. Maybe the connections between BNW, for example, and intentional communities are not obvious, but at the moment I’m seeing them especially in the emphasis on infancy and the idea that “everyone belongs to everyone else.” But right now it’s like I have a hammer and everything is a utopian urge. WHACK WHACK WHACK. So I’m having some trust issues. However, my intention is for this paper to become my grad essay. EC has agreed at least provisionally to be my supervisor, which I’m glad of and in fact getting to that point was kind of a big deal and included crying in her office, but I think she even likes me.
Beyond this paper and this text, I remain interested in Mark Vonnegut’s The Eden Express, to which I have been directed by many a boomer from that era and neighbourhood that captivates me so. Hah. I spent a lot of time working on it last year for the Textual Studies and Research Methods class. Nothing scholarly written on it, ever. It’s not easy to see making an argument for it as literature. Certainly not in the traditional sense; it’s no such thing. But its popularity and iconic status is NOT just due to its pedigree, I’m convinced. There is something else there, and the book itself might miss the point, thinking it’s about schizophrenia when it’s really a pretty intimate view on a very specific place and time that is not so much representative of–because to designate something as representative is ugly to me right now–but indicative of a movement that absolutely existed and continues to resonate. I’m not sure yet if I’ll write about it but I have a running fantasy in which I have the chapters really coming together, and then I’m a guest on Q and Jian and I have a truly fascinating conversation about the local scene.
I’ll save my other big project for later.
Now I’m going to make a link or two, just to break the ice. I mean to get all the stuff linked up here eventually. I like this place.