Stirrings

I went to California on some difficult business and it was so beautiful, it was like being on vacation regardless of the circumstances. Driving to the airport I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in April sunlight and it was a normal day. The man next to me on the plane from San Francisco to Dallas was Mexican living in California, flying to São Paulo on business and since that conversation I have been fixated on the idea of having a nice job in southern Brazil. Something is happening.

That night and the next at dinners here we talked about it. One colleague says this is the craziest place he has ever worked and another says my teaching problem here is not a problem of me but of the others; they do not bring research into teaching but tell stories, or give tests, or deliver Derrida in a nice package, but do not bring questions into teaching or show learning as a process. Knowledge is not knowledge but status and power, and information is imparted but not skills. This was quite illuminating.

People assume that if you do a Ph.D. professor is your dream job but I always thought of it as a starter job … that I ended up liking certain versions of, and could have made my permanent job. But the job model for me is: high level research and collaboration in large organization with large impact, urban life and a lot of interesting work related travel. Graduate school was like that but the professor jobs I have had, have not been.

For now what I am going to do is put my foot down about being serious, and also undertake a great deal of self care. We were taught to sacrifice but it turns out that without a great deal of self care we cannot be who we are asked to be, give what we are asked to give.

And our lives are more interesting than we realize, someone said, and we are all massively dissatisfied and on the market but at least we are not at a sterile place like Princeton; et chacun vit comme il peut.

#OccupyHE

Axé.

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d por d

¡Dulzura por dulzura corazona!
¡Dulzura a gajos, eras de vista,
esos abiertos días, cuando monté por árboles caídos!
Así por tu paloma palomita,
por tu oración pasiva,
andando entre tu sombra y el gran tezón corpóreo de tu sombra.

Debajo de ti y yo,
tú y yo, sinceramente,
tu candado ahogándose de llaves,
yo ascendiendo y sudando
y haciendo lo infinito entre tus muslos.
(El hotelero es una bestia,
sus dientes, admirables; yo controlo
el orden pálido de mi alma:
señor, allá distante… paso paso… adiós, señor…)

Mucho pienso en todo esto conmovido, perduroso
y pongo tu paloma a la altura de tu vuelo
y, cojeando de dicha, a veces,
repósome a la sombra de ese árbol arrastrado.

Costilla de mi cosa,
dulzura que tú tapas sonriendo con tu mano;
tu traje negro que se habrá acabado,
amada, amada en masa,
¡qué unido a tu rodilla enferma!

Simple ahora te veo, te comprendo avergonzado
en Letonia, Alemania, Rusia, Bélgica, tu ausente,
tu portátil ausente,
hombre convulso de la mujer temblando entre sus vínculos.

¡Amada en la figura de tu cola irreparable,
amada que yo amara con fósforos floridos,
quand on a la vie et la jeunesse,
c’est déjà tellement!

Cuando ya no haya espacio
entre tu grandeza y mi postrer proyecto,
amada,
volveré a tu media, has de besarme,
bajando por tu media repetida,
tu portatil ausente, dile así…

–C.V.

Axé.

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That alleged best profession in the world

Let us see, now:

I liked graduate school and it was good for me but my perceptions were distorted because I kept hearing one should not like it; that it was unwise and also uncool to stay in it; and also that I would not be competitive on the job market and so should definitely not stay in it.

BALANCE: I liked it.

Professor job #1: hated it, knew it right away, wanted to quit and go into business or do another degree, retrain. Could see that now that I had been at that place, an elite SLAC, I was tainted, could never recover and get to a public R-1. Could see that only a public R-1 was for me; I might as well go into almost anything else if I were not destined for that … anything with a large organization, fast-paced, high-powered, something international, something high level.

BALANCE: I am not like most professors — they are teach or die; they want to be saved from large, impersonal organizations, they do not know what else to do. I like large cities; they think it is snobbish to like these; eso a mí me tiene sin cuidado.

Professor job #2: I liked it, but could not admit this because everyone else hated it and to be cool you had to hate it, and be trying to get to a similar, but better place.

BALANCE: I liked it. AND this was the place where I came up with my law school plan; did not implement that right off because I liked the job I had. I should not have thrown it away, but I did because of Reeducation. I got irritated with people who said I did not know what I wanted: I said, of course I know, it is a certain kind of academic job, and if I cannot get that, a certain other kind of job in business or government or the non-profit sector, capisci?

Professor job #3: horrified by it, but imprisoned in it. My having it satisfies those individuals heavily invested in my being a professor, but does not satisfy me at all nor meet my financial needs.

WHAT I WILL DO: Start fighting back in job #3, it appears. It would seem that given my willingness to do other things I should jump, and I may, but the thing to do in any case and starting now is fight back in job #3.

#OccupyHE

Axé.

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Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca

Me moriré en París con aguacero,
un día del cual tengo ya el recuerdo.
Me moriré en París —y no me corro—
tal vez un jueves, como es hoy, de otoño.

Jueves será, porque hoy, jueves, que proso
estos versos, los húmeros me he puesto
a la mala y, jamás como hoy, me he vuelto,
con todo mi camino, a verme solo.

César Vallejo ha muerto, le pegaban
todos sin que él les haga nada;
le daban duro con un palo y duro

también con una soga; son testigos
los días jueves y los huesos húmeros,
la soledad, la lluvia, los caminos…

–C.V.

García Márquez died today, and José Emilio Pacheco earlier this year, and there have been others.

Axé.

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Aquí y allá

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…on the sparrow

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Jobmat

I am reorganizing my files. In my first computer I had a folder called jobmat, i.e. Job Materials, because I was a dissertator on the job market. It was for my vita and all materials for job applications. I had this folder for a long time, but it later morphed into two: one for annual reports, and one for vita versions. Now, however, I have recreated jobmat and it is like recovering a piece of myself.

There is so much synchronicity these past months.

#OccupyHE

Axé.

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