Category Archives: Da Whiteman

Writing begins with forgiveness

For me, writing always begins with self-forgiveness. I don’t sit down and rush headlong into the blank page. I make coffee. I put on a song I like. I drink the coffee, listen to the song. I don’t write. Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns it being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation.  I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life.

I put my hands on the keyboard and begin.

Voir le texte entier.

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Sur le temps

I, too, dislike scheduling to death because it is altogether too intimidating. A schedule is good but it must have a great deal of empty space in it.

But I am more than ever convinced that scheduling and time are small issues. It is far more fundamental not to allow unbearable pressure, to do what you like, and to speak kindly to yourself.

In Reeducation I learned that these were coping mechanisms; they would make you feel well and you lose access to the truth of your situation. This is false.

I do have difficulty discerning what I like; it is only easy to see what I do not object to.

Do I like my profession? Not at the level at which I am asked to practice it, no; nor in these conditions. Could I? Yes. Is it the only one I could like, or the one I would like the very most? Not necessarily.

My question is, why does academia require this kind of loyalty? Why must one say it is the best and the only, and not just that out of the things one could have done, it was what one opted for?

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Dreams

This was a draft post from three years ago. I had been asked to join yet another honor society and did not want to, I don’t have that kind of disposable income and if I did I would donate it elsewhere. But the chapter really wanted more people, needed me it said, and I was in physical pain for days over saying no. That, as I say, was only three years ago.

Recently I had a nightmare wherein I was in high school and my parents were trying to live my life for me. Do my homework, go to my classes, wear my clothes. I escaped down the street but they chased me in the car I have now. That car, it occurs to me, is a one they gave me when the car I had died and I got tenure.

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Cecilia Valdés — yes it is the patriarchy

Someone said,

If this question was asked in my class, I would ask them to think about how patriarchy creates mechanisms of punishment and reward in order to keep itself in power. Patriarchy believes it gets to have 24/7 access to the bodies of social subordinates – most often women – but also men who are in positions of subordination. Sexual power over others is one of the most important tools of patriarchy.”

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The likeability factor

This explains a great deal but I would add from my experience that if you are a kind person, yet competent, you are actually LESS LIKEABLE than if you are incompetent and/or ditzy, yet authoritarian and/or a jerk.

Part of the explanation is that one gets a pass on those negative characteristics or behaviors if one is also serving the patriarchy, broadly understood.

But there is something else, more ineffable about it. I do not understand it. Perhaps it is that this type of person is always manipulative, always calculating, and fawns in the right directions.

I am not sure. I would like comments on this post, however.

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“Men need to be pandered to in order to feel included”

Someone said this, and it explains a great deal.

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Illumination

My colleague said we had to assign writing because writing brings students to an act of intellectual discovery unavailable otherwise. I said yes, of course.

I realized then that I never considered writing an act of intellectual discovery but a show of virtuosity. I never allowed myself the kind of risk I allow the students because I thought the objective was to be brilliant, yet also very conventional, so as to abe acceptable and pass.

I was always more daring writing about things Portuguese than things Spanish, and about prose rather than poetry, because officially I was in Spanish and in poetry and there, I thought it was most important to be very careful. I always thought writing was only an act of intellectual discovery for those who could afford for it to be.

That is why I like all my political writing, and writing on policy matters, and bureaucratic writing, even: I allow myself to think as I work, and to write in my own voice. If I am writing about Spanish language literature or poetry, I am only crafting something intended to be generally acceptable and therefore, to pass or to sell.

This perception is very important.

Axé.

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