Revista Iberoamericana, o, hoy estoy mucho mejor

Dame Eleanor Hull has returned, and it is great.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting table of contents which shows what the world was like when I undertook my first serious research project. Had I read this issue of this journal more closely then, I would be yet more intelligent now, but I was reading older things. I was not to do read anything too recent because it would be too difficult for me and being new, could be wrong in unknown ways. It could thus lead me in a bad direction, it was said.

Life, it seemed, was a series of lessons in how to limit oneself. Nowadays this is chic: learning to accept limits, realizing you have limits, becoming disabled. Earlier on, though, it had been known that those lessons in how to limit oneself were a[n antifeminist] tool of oppression. Think of Joanna Russ.

My mother was raised with expectations which she felt were oppressive, and raised me with anti-expectations. Amateurism or doing just enough to get by were the goals; I was deeply disappointing or at least incomprehensible because I was serious, or at least took an interest in things and wanted to get them done. These things are a large part of why I cannot abide the “good-enough” or the “bad first draft” cant. Other people may be perfectionists and need to tone it down, but what I always wanted in life was to work above the bare minimum, live above bare subsistence, aspire.

It is still not clear to me what is so wrong with this. When will we be allowed to do our best work?

Dulcis et decorum est per superficialitatem mori, I suppose the moral would be. You must work quickly and not challenge anything, and you are acceptable then; this exactly what I do not like.

I have also had an illumination about sleeping (you know I do not sleep, because I was taught I must feel pain and sleep deprivation is the way I achieve this). I think I am rebelling against conventionality, taking time for myself and so on, because only late at night am I completely sure I will not have to deal with people and thus will not have to be trampled upon or pulled one way and the next. But I am also participating in a  strategy of impairment, so that I will not want more than the minimum out of life; and most fundamentally it is submission to Reeducation which wanted me to find a way to feel more pain.

Perhaps if I remember that, it will be easier to renounce this practice which really feels like anorexia or an addiction.



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I see something now. For Reeducation, work was bad — it was just to be gotten through, I see darkly. Meanwhile, things one does to feel well were not considered positive but were put on a par with drugs and alcohol. By treating yourself well to feel well, you were dampening pain that needed to be felt and hiding from reality. These were two fundamental errors in its theory. Notice how both create suffering as a first value.

Now, we have already discussed at length the ways in which this vision of the world is morosely religious. It is also very nihilistic and there seems to be some form of late capitalist despair in it as well, although I cannot explain that intuition. Alienation, I suppose. (Speaking of which, I should probably teach Children of Men and see what the students think of it.)

Stanley Aranowitz has the last good job in America, and all I want to do is research.

I see though that much of what I am tied in knots over has to do with graduate school, where writing came before speech and also before research. You entered a seminar on an unknown subject in one of your four languages, and were to have a rather publishable article on it ready within ten weeks. That meant you must have your topic by week 2, so that you could order your interlibrary loan materials by week 3 and receive them, perhaps, in weeks 5 and 6. You committed to a topic before you knew anything about its subject.

I remember driving on the Santa Ana freeway one day shortly after I had filed my dissertation, feeling free. I remember thinking that now, my autonomy achieved, I would never again commit to an approach or a hypothesis before doing a certain amount of research. I did not get to do this for long, that is to say, I got cornered again a few years later, but it was a good idea … and that, once again, is why I am for scholarship and against academic advice.


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Et voilà encore

Always, working on Vallejo, except for those seminar papers I wrote before things got serious, I did not consider the project mine. It was always an obligation, a kind of caretaking activity, something for someone else, something to placate, something to not offend someone else and to be good enough as an offering. This is the problem I have been having now, the tentativeness, the difficulty sinking my teeth in; I do not feel the project is mine but is something I must do to cumplir and quedar bien — and this is not at all the kind of project to use for those kinds of purposes.



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More on Osorio and life

I want to buy an external hard disk for all my files, from all the devices, all the jump drives, as an archive: the one Ring to rule them all, as it were. I was going to have that all in the Cloud but this is too unstable.

I want to say, as I have said before, that you have to allow yourself patience and time to think. I was always rushed along and I try to rush myself and it really is pointless.

So all this self torment on my part, I am not sure what it is except that most fundamentally I have learned to have an abusive relationship with myself and do not entirely know how to stop. Another theory is that I am simultaneously trying to repress and express pain, that is to say, express it (rather than deny it), but repress awareness of its source, displace my own view of its cause. Discipline (“I won’t do this any more, it is impractical” seems not to help). Discipline seems to look outward whereas care seems to be what I want, and to deserve that, it seems, I must make myself quite sick. It really is a cycle of violence and it looks like domestic abuse with the same person as abuser and victim.

One thing I do not recognize enough is how heartbreaking the situation of the students and the classes is. I think I should take it in stride but it is heartbreaking, and upon consideration I think it is useful to recognize this. And now we are going to close the second campus in our system and dismiss tenured faculty, and there will be no public four year institution left in New Orleans then. And the governor has managed to liquidate the state, and there is so much that is sad. I keep a good humor as people say you should but the fact is that when I do not recognize how sad these things are or how draining, I then do not understand why I cannot think.

Then I am sad if I study the avant-garde because I think of all the things I went through doing this and all the things I tried to force myself to do doing this and all the things I wanted and loved and renounced to force myself to do this. But that has nothing to do with the material, of course, which I like. Yet still I find I do not work well on this topic, I am always trying to work the way the academic advisers want one to work, which is wrong; I also do not allow myself to be a full person while working on this but am rather a dog in a cage perhaps, trying to do it without the means to do it and feeling very sad and ashamed, rather than being a person with a desk as I am when I work on other things. I wonder whether all of this is not about wanting another profession but about wanting to work on projects of my own choice.

If I were a full person, I would say that the difficulties with this paper were problems, intellectual and practical, that come with this territory, and that it is my role to decide what I want to do about them. But I have great difficulty because I do not accord myself these powers, but only the very limited ones of the dog in that cage. “Bitch. You think you are so smart. Bitch. You are wasting money.”

So that is that and I am so tired of it, but I do not know how to control this entirely. I do not understand myself. I keep saying all of this is because I either do not know how to work or I refuse to work  but it seems to be much more a direct result of precisely that kind of berating.

In any case, that reajuste: proceso global de reajuste ideológico-cultural is the term, and it appears on page 234. I have this article in PDF but it is much more interesting to read as a bound journal. The vanguardia is international, says Osorio; it starts with the first world war, which destabilized the hegemony of Europe in international affairs and of the bourgeoisie in the maintenance of stability in (countries). It is capitalist internationalization of economic life, and more. And art in this period questions the old values and structures. This is the “reajuste.” Avant-garde art is just one of the signs of overhaul and renovation.

There is great social transformation from this moment through the 1920s and it ends about 1930 with the Depression and the consolidation of a political alliance among the economic interests of imperialism, the local bourgeoisies and the oligarchies, which, defending the system affected by the crash of 1929, take recourse in military coups and repression to consolidate their power. There is a second half of the article that talks about the second etapa vanguardista, and it has things to say about newness and Americanness that I want to look at again.




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La busco y busco

Solstice. And this year for Christmas, remember, I will meditate and center upon myself. I will not allow people to run over me, no matter how much they need to run over someone. I will place myself first, no matter how “selfish” this is. I will honor myself.

If I had been allowing myself to sleep and take longer walks, for example, I would feel stronger now. I will do these things and not be so unkind. Every error I make has to do with looking at problems as issues of discipline, to be resolved by following rules. (That, of course, is why I so dislike academic advice.)

One follows rules because one does, but also so as not to cause people pain by doing as one sees fit and be screamed at for it. So as not to become guilty. So as not to then feel ashamed of how one has been treated. I will find my person by treating well this shell she is to inhabit, her former home. And I will make it safe for her to be there.

If I imagine I am writing this paper for another person then I move straight into professional mode. If I imagine I am writing it for myself then I feel like a prisoner between torture sessions, soon to go into a new one.

I am so tired of the torture.


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Can this fucking Vallejo paper be my paper?

Yes it can, but I have to own it and myself and not consider that it is something I owe. I can almost feel the existence of the person who could do this. It all has to do with not writing in my own voice, and writing with the feeling someone is standing over my shoulder. That is why I feel, albeit erroneously, as though doing this means walking into a torture chamber. I look at my text and cower because the horrible beatings are about to start.

People will be screaming at me about what I should say or how I should have been a musician or an artist. I have hurt them so, I have cost them money, I will not use Larrea’s editions, I am not a fan of his work, I am a coldhearted intellectual. “You bitch.”

“Research is procrastination, manage your time and write. Just finish, write anything, it will not be any good anyway, and everything is meaningless anyway, just say anything and keep your place in this racket, which is all you can do anyway, and you do not even deserve that, but you certainly cannot do more.”

What other, kinder things were said to me later? “People are lucky even to know someone like you.” “Put yourself first.” “Do something for yourself each day.” But if I had a self I could even find reliably as opposed to the shell of a self who undertakes various daily obligations, to do something for myself would be, first and foremost, to place myself in an environment where I can actually do the things asked of me, one that is less heartbreaking and draining, less sad.

If I could find my person. The one I did my best to hide so long ago so that she would not be harmed by all the destruction. If I could find my person.


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On research as caretaking

Caretaking, and required caretaking, and coerced caretaking are traumatic for me. I took care of my mother from birth to college and I gave her everything I had, and I gave her everything I could after that; all of this was more than I had, really, and I am in the red, as it is said.

People have long said, and still do say I should be a caretaker and then do amateur music or crafts as something “for me.” I do not want that life, never wanted it and seriously, I would rather sign up for Iraq and take a bullet. I dislike recreational music and crafts, sewing and knitting and canning, all the things girls are expected to find pleasant. I only barely tolerate spa days, and I truly cannot tolerate bed and breakfast inns.

The reason I wanted to work at a good university or other high level institution is that I have done all I can of caretaking for the ill and the infirm. I did it when I was a child. In these institutions where I work, one is a servant or nurse to the disabled freshmen and the supercilious administrators. I am a traitor to academia, I am told, because I did not go into it to do that, or to be that person, and because I can imagine another kind of life.

I am interested in research, not in taking care of people or in socializing with the wives. At present, I am also writing a paper which as it has been astutely pointed out to me, is being done for caretaking kinds of reasons. I believe I broke the computer so I would not have to be in this caretaking role. I would rather sign up for Iraq and take a bullet. I am interested in work as a site of vitality but my university is a kind of tomb. I am interested in research as a source of vitality not as a service to the ideas of others or a social obligation.

Everything is an obligation, everything is something to adjust to beyond the boundaries of what should deserve adjustment, everything is for others’ sake. If I had really cared about others, though, I would have submitted and cooked and done crafts on the side. I did not and it hurt people, and I would do it again, for the sake of the few years of actual life I had. Rather than submit completely now I would sign up for Iraq and take a bullet.

I am really exhausted emotionally and have been since July. I really want to take better care of myself and not submit so much to others’ needs and requests for care. I wish I did not feel that I must daily give blood so that others may live. I wish that knowing other people liked me did not mean to me that I had to sacrifice myself for them, give them everything, invade me completely. I wish I deserved to be at the center of my own life. “Bitch, you think you are so smart.” “Play the piano for me.”


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