Category Archives: Theories

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is someone I should study. I must examine his categorical rejection of “imitation,” particularly of European models — an articulation of 1840s US literary nationalism. His program for self-reliance is apparently obedience to higher law.

“Plinlimmon’s snake oil,” someone said in reference to Emerson. Tell me about that. Plinlimmon is a character in Melville’s Pierre, and he is a faux writer. What his attitudes toward nationality are, we shall find out.

Axé.

 

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Flash!

This, concisely, was the message of Reeducation: you must be a child.

But that is not true.

Axé.

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Sagittarius, the Archer

It is the same meditation: how one learned to limit oneself. How one was trained from the beginning to stand aside in life, to be in service. The reason I thought it important to study certain things was that I was so passionate about them that if I actually entered their field I would be unable to stand aside any longer.

What we did in arts and humanities did not involve so much accomplishing things as self-fashioning, or fashioning one’s appearance. We were to become acceptable, then worthy. In that genteel world it was not a question of taking one’s place, but of being permitted to stay. It was much more difficult to learn not to stand aside, although I nearly achieved it and will remember this.

Reeducation, meanwhile, was about subtly undermining either project, and then launching a direct attack on what was left. I reenact this today as self-sabotage and self-criticism. Required is a yet more concerted effort against this, coming from self-love and not discipline.

About the university: I submit that teaching basic skills is no more noble than many other things I would like to do for humanity, and that fewer people are doing. If I am to teach basic skills I want to do it in a coherent program, with coordination, and autonomy, and support. I also want flesh and blood colleagues in field, and paper books, present on my own campus. I want rational management in my department, and I want to work in an atmosphere where it is not dangerous to give voice to one’s views. I do not think this is unreasonable at all.

I keep coming to the conclusion, therefore, that at the very least I need to be in certain libraries outside of Maringouin on a very regular schedule. This and related needs I have must become priority. I know it, yet do not yet make it entirely so.

It is partly, as others keep noting, that in and from Maringouin it takes more work and cash than meets the eye to get where one needs to go. And it is partly my training, to suppress desire and stand aside. My self-sabotage, the refusal to sleep that started well enough as a rebellion against someone else’s desire for death but then became a way to avoid feeling entirely well, is a hard habit to break.

“Addictions,” it is said, are meant to suppress feelings but I wonder. The destructive habits I have had share some features with addictions, but are not entirely the same, perhaps. Mine are about a tension or entanglement between self-expression and suppression of self (they start as the former but end as the latter).

Tomorrow is Sunday, Oxalá’s day. Stand in the light.

Axé.

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Luca Zingaretti on writing

He has it figured out.

Axé.

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Quelque chose a changé

On standing up for oneself, I did it seriously a few days ago and it has made a difference, or meant a shift.

Key words from meditation are disturbing and set adrift.

There are many perceptions to record and many things to say, but my next long meditation will be on Maringouin, our strange lives here.

#OccupyHE

Axé.

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Sur Deleuze, et sur le sujet

It is time to actually read Anti-Oedipus and the discussions of it from those days, in places like this.

Here is my Vallejo problem: my issue is psychic invasion, and I have a visceral reaction to the idea of subject shattering.

“Then that is a non-liberatory, but binding, shattering,” someone said.

What is fractured subjectivity in and for Vallejo?

Axé.

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Splitting

So it is the splitting I experience. Last week’s exercise on shame (and the shame I feel comes from this) made it perfectly clear that the problem is splitting. I always have done it to some minor extent. Graduate school cured me of most of it, and Reeducation brought it back in a much more extreme form. I am withdrawn, and this is one split, and I have an introjected torturer or persecutor, and that is the other.

Now I am splitting over this paper. All my writing advice — and I do have writing advice, you must give yourself research time, you must give yourself a space of play within your ideas, you must not lose touch with your work, you should not attempt to “binge write” — is true and I need it, but the person who uses that advice has to be present. For that, one must stop the splitting. I tend to think it is better discipline that is needed but that idea exacerbates the splitting. And one must stop the splitting.

(I am still against free writing and “just writing”, by the way … I think they are forms of binge writing or busywork, and I don’t believe in bad first drafts, either. All these techniques cause me to write in circles, and the idea of rushing makes me shut down. I had my system set up long before free writing, “just writing,” and the use of alarm clocks to goad oneself into starting and stopping, came into style. Perhaps the people who advocate free writing do not keep notebooks full of notes, or logs of work, or paragraphs that come to them out of the blue on scraps of paper, I do not know. In any case, trying to free write when your actual problem is splitting will get you nowhere.)

I have been splitting, and it is important to notice this and integrate, it seems. I have to consider this further. Splitting means I turn on myself, and the reading on shame reminds us that nowadays, the perpetuation of emotional suffering is self inflicted and can therefore be stopped. I want to hold onto some fleeting visions: one, of the feeling that trauma was past or could be past, and two, of myself in the center of my life. Not pressed against the edges while some large other person flings around from the center of the room with a sledgehammer.

I want peace. I can remember what it was like not to be splitting; I remember taking really good care of myself on the one hand, but not thinking about myself at all, on the other, because this was not needed; I was present.

Axé.

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