Category Archives: Banes

Some things I learned at the conference

I learned a number of the things one normally learns, about new work, ideas, books. I learned that I have to actually write the proto-article I presented on: it is time to write it, and the thinking will come in the writing. Here are some of the other things I learned.

My projects are many and complex. They are like those of the stars and people who get invited to be keynote speakers. This is why I always end up in conversation with those people. And someone told me that it involves having the kind of thick education that many professors don’t have anymore.

Anyway, the reason I don’t develop my projects well enough is that they need R1 time and confidence, ideally, or barring that a more positive or at least less hostile work environment; and also that I’ve always been taught to be tentative, to limit myself, not to jump in with both feet. Jumping in with both feet is something within my power, as well as leading myself from the head and not pushing myself from the back (this last is what those who say their problem is not liking to write do). And standing up against mistreatment.

Also, I remember that in Reeducation I was not only accused of being too logical, but having excessive powers of concentration and focus. I kept saying these were just my academic training, and that I needed them, they were a tool of my trade, but my Reeducator was looking for pathology and thought he might be able to tackle me with an OCD diagnosis. I was afraid of this because I was afraid of the drugs I would have to take, and tried to show that I could destroy or disable my powers of concentration and focus on my own, without drugs (thus also proving I was not wicked, and trying to earn the right to something more like psychoanalysis).

The other part of Reeducation was academia and in it I was shocked to find myself, first, in a teaching-and-pampering situation and next, in a research-first situation where research wasn’t an intellectual endeavor but a measurable production endeavor for the university as industrial complex. It took me a long time to understand these situations and my lack of comprehension of them.

I think that for my article on neoliberalization these things are important. I remember some of the first signs of it when I was a student. We took them seriously but did not understand them as completely as I do now (and it’s not a question of hindsight; the information existed but we did not have it). I think that the whole time I have been a professor is the time in which this destruction has been happening. We’re accused of not having stood up to it but in my case it has been not understanding it, or at least not understanding it immediately. I have only become really able to understand it recently.

Axé.

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Filed under ALFS presentation, Banes, Da Whiteman

My first enemy

All these years I have felt sorry for my colleague because he was depressed and not as well educated and hadn’t had as much fun in life as I have had and wasn’t as inspired, so I made allowances for his vagaries, but now I realize his waif act has always been just a cover story for his enormous passive-aggressive plan. Everyone has always encouraged me to feel sorry for people who behave badly instead of be angry at them, but I declare this is actually very bad training. Very bad because now that I see who this person is, I am his enemy — whereas had I never gone into denial, I would just have been cold-neutral.

I have had people who were my enemies and realized it, but this is the first time I have decided to become someone’s enemy.

Axé.

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It is a normal day and I am begging my colleagues to do their jobs

A favor for T: could you get the language evaluation for the Fulbright in sooner, rather than later? Here’s why: there is a possibility B won’t get to his letter. Any encouragement you can offer B, or help editing, would be great but B is going abroad for 10 days on Friday. He has fallen down on letters before and I would say there is about a 50-50 chance of his doing this. I’ve hinted at him as much as I can, and T is at this moment making a final plea.

If B cannot manage to write, T will need to get a new recommender and perhaps a short extension from Fulbright. It will help if the rest of the application is complete. Your language evaluation and B’s letter are all that are missing, and it will look a lot better for T if there is only one piece missing and not two.

T has strong letters from me, S (a prominent professor in another department), and R (the university Fulbright advisor). From Fulbright Country he has beautiful affiliation letters from the President of the Academy of Letters (also a professor at the Catholic University), a full professor in field at the national university, and the director of a poetry foundation who has published extensively and on modern texts. T’s statement of purpose is well done and R thought it was fundable even before meeting T for the Fulbright interview.

It would be such a shame for this application to be incomplete/late because of a missing letter from our department. I’m asking you to get your language evaluation done so the packet is complete minus one, not minus two. As I say, T is making a final plea to B. Then if B disappears there will still be a few days to make an emergency request to someone else and perhaps an emergency request for extension from Fulbright, so that that person has time to write their letter.

Axé.

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Cut from an e-mail

The time to plan courses for Spring, 2018 was Spring, 2017 and we did it, quite carefully. We can adjust things now but I do not want to reinvent the entire plan. I just don’t have time. I have a great deal of administrative work, and I simply have to be efficient.

Axé.

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La session thérapeutique

I am not trying to follow any kind of schedule at all, just get up and start doing things that need to be done, sit down for all meals and go to the pool/gym every day. This is how I always did things before, and I will point out that no schedule does not mean nothing happens regularly. Before I always studied my foreign language for an hour a day, for instance, and often at the same time each day, but I did not try to fit things into a grid–I let them find their own rhythm. One of the things I most dislike is to feel rushed and prodded; it causes me to play dead like an opossum until the danger has passed. This is why I think I am not like most professors. I think they cannot handle the flexible schedule and have to find a way to make it rigid. I, on the other hand, may have been born for it, or perhaps I was coached to it from an early age.

Not being rushed is one of my main innovations this term. Taking on service that I am in the mood for and turning down all service I am not, is also new (in the past my criterion was what was most necessary). I have dropped my “busy” persona, that I imitated from my dissertation director. She always said she was overwhelmed with random work so as to gain more research time without being called selfish. I know how dangerous it was to say directly that you were going to commit the sin of research during regular business hours–I tried it myself and paid dearly for it–but the “busy” persona is stressful and I think it also stresses the students, so I have dropped it.

I have realized that some of my colleagues are not colleagues but bad boyfriends. That is, they are boyfriends, but they are not very good at it and they seem to think of me as a girlfriend and not a colleague, so that is that. I am breaking up with them, which means I am rescinding the honor of considering them colleagues. This cuts cognitive dissonance and time spent negotiating, so reduces stress. I am gravitating to other people because they are colleagues.

I have protested an instance and a half of mistreatment. I will follow up on the half, and protest a third incident as well. I am recognizing a fourth, from the past, as another such incident although it was too long ago to address–at least not in the original form. I am not rising above things and this is another way in which I am departing from standard advice, which is not reality-based but insists you convince yourself you are living in the world the givers-of-advice seem to do.

I have not recovered from Reeducation or from my first education, much though I have talked about them. Reeducation had two phases, in two cities, and each had several steps. I am afraid to address these things as I should because I need an analyst to do it right. I am fairly sure I will veer destructively if I do it alone, and the topic bores psychotherapists since they believe in staying on the surface of things. Meanwhile I beat around the bush, walk around the lake, not walking through or jumping in.

Axé.

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Filed under Banes, Theories

About that bookkeeper

It is a bookkeeper for my aged father. The lawyer thinks he should have one as it is difficult to act financially for someone or help them with finances from out of state, you need to be present. I know this from experience, and can give details. I have qualms about the idea of my brother or myself trying to take over and was completely convinced by the lawyer that this is a good idea.

Everyone in the legal and financial professions I have asked about this also says this lawyer is right. The reason I understand this is that I have over the past four years helped my parents with some financial operations. I have learned how very important it is to be physically present, for legal reasons, when you are acting for someone else. I also understand how complicated it would be to set us up so as to be able to work legally from a distance.

My brother thinks the bookkeeper is too expensive but she is just over half the cost of the ones in San Francisco and here, and she does not have to put in many hours. My father can in fact afford her. It is arguably one of the most important services he could be paying for in terms of avoiding costly and scary screw-ups, and peace of mind for all of us. I would also be a lot more comfortable having a professional with full professional qualifications doing this, and someone outside the family.

In addition, the $100 per hour can be deducted as the cost of taxes and/or as a cost of Dad’s medical condition. And it will only amount to about $200 per month. To be stingy about this is to be penny wise and pound foolish. It is true that for the amount to be spent on the accountant my brother could fly in every three months or so ($300 flight, $300 lodging) but wouldn’t it be nice to spend that visit doing something other than banking? After all, there will be other things Dad needs–help shopping for clothes and other items, encouragement and support in health events. If we do not have to manage finances, we will have more time and energy to help with these things and also, just to have fun with Dad.

What would in fact be expensive is if Dad were ever declared incompetent and assigned a curator, or if a bank officer were hired to manage his affairs. The point of having the bookkeeper is to avoid both situations. The bookkeeper is not taking over, but merely helping, so Dad retains control of his affairs and my brother and I are both aware of what is happening and able to ask questions.

The bookkeeper would put accounts in QuickBooks so that we could all see them online, and would help us learn to use Quickbooks ourselves. I would like to suggest we at least go ahead for a trial period to see how much it would actually cost once the sustem is up and running with a bookkeeper. She will be able to provide an estimate and cost out both the set-up and maintenance.

Axé.

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Anxiety and voice

I have greater problems with anxiety, and also with lack of voice, than I knew–and these problems are related. Here in California, with the mountains, redwoods, seas, I have perspective and do not experience these problems, but in the swamps of Louisiana, I do.

Tomorrow I have to work on: poetry selections for the new publication, the contact lens order, the notary.

Axé.

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