July and August are messy for academics. I assume I’m not the only one for whom this is true, so I’m going to run with it. We’re caught between having time off, having family members and friends with time off, a slew of events, warm weather, and FUN THINGS, and the never-ending nature of our work. Personally, I’ve been hopping between guilt-ridden travel to my home province and thousand (and sometimes two thousand!) word work days. I’m getting more done than ever, but I feel horrendously unproductive. Such is the curse of summer.
Today, however, I’m brimming with good news and great vibes. I leave tomorrow for a weekend away with my spouse in celebration of five years of marriage. Yesterday, I asked him if he’s planning on bringing along any work. You guys. It’s our anniversary. I’m not going to bring any work along. (Probably). Today, I sent off an article. It isn’t perfect, but I’m hoping that the editors I’ve sent it to will appreciate the topic and accept it conditionally. I’ve decided that this is an okay way to approach the publication thing: work hard, produce good work, and be comfortable letting it go, even if it isn’t perfect. (Related: your work is never perfect.). I am also the recipient of GOOD NEWS today: a piece that I’ve been waiting to come out is available online! It happened while I was away, or working, or distracted, or depressed.* You should read it!
Here’s the link:
*all of those things.
*did a massive edit on a still very incomplete chapter, and sent it to my supervisor
*sent out a mostly completed essay alongside a proposal in what is possibly the most unprofessional publication inquiry ever
*received a conditional acceptance on the same essay (still in shock)
*completed a draft of a short story
*decided not to enter the Walrus poetry competition (sorry, Walrus. I think you’re a swell magazine, but I had too many things due today already),
*started my period, complete with cramps so severe that I nearly fell over (I took a painkiller for the first time since I had an infection in my wisdom teeth).
But tomorrow my husband and I are packing up our car for a two week visit to our home province.
“Nirmal Puwar’s book Space Invaders: Race, Gender and “Bodies out of Place” (2004) describes these processes very well: some bodies are “somatic norms,” they become rightful occupants of spaces.
From Sara Ahmed’s amazeballs blog, feministkilljoys. Which you should go read.
“Thinking of the face-to-face encounter as collective in its very singularity is about developing a different understanding of collective politics in which alliances are always formed, but are not assumed to take one form. That is, alliances are not always guaranteed by the pre-existing form of a social group or community, where that form is understood in terms of sameness or difference. The collective then is not simply about what ‘we’ have in common- or what ‘we’ do not have in common. Collectives are formed through the very work that we need to do in order to get closer to others, without simply repeating the appropriation of ‘them’ as labour or as a sign of difference. Collectivity then is intimately tied to the secrecy and intimacy of the encounter: it is not about proximity or distance, but a getting closer which accepts the difference and puts it to work.”
-Sara Ahmed, “The Other and Other Others.”
Below the cut is an example of the messy, imperfect work of writing. If you’re new around here, you should know that I use this space to help organise my brain when writing my dissertation, and also to keep my writing muscles moving when I’m stalled out on other projects. What I’m doing here (and in the next few posts, actually) is basically free writing, but free writing in an attempt to help me sort out how to articulate a connection that I need to bridge two sections of the chapter I’m working on. Also, the writing under the cut is currently incomplete, but I’m posting it in order to feel like I’m getting things done. You know, for motivation. I’ll indicate when it’s edited/closer to complete.
Oh. Here’s a picture of the inside of my face:
Continue reading “Writing Exercises: Writing it Out (Skim & Wounded Attachments)”
Today, my spouse picked up a paw print we had made in memory of our recently deceased rabbit, Bruce Banner. Bruce was a big, chubby, lovable guy. (For scale, his paw print is on the left; on the right is the paw print of our bunny, Ophelia, who passed just over a year ago.) It’s been about three weeks without Bruce, which means it’s been about three weeks without his grunting*, without pats, without fighting over the space under my desk, where he liked to lay while I worked. I’ve been an avid rabbit rescuer for nearly a decade, and for the first time in over eight years I’m not sharing my home with a big-eared pal. There are plenty of reasons that my spouse and I haven’t yet adopted another rabbit, but it’s still been a rough go. In a manner uncharacteristically optimistic of me, I’ve been spending a lot of time in a large park in my neighbourhood that is a known abandonment spot for domesticated rabbits, generally those purchased around easter time who are hitting bunny puberty and becoming either expensive or difficult. Last week, I spent upwards of three hours doing my work reading in the park, and moving from spot to spot in hopes of finding a bunny in need of rescue. I really did this, and I’m sharing it because there’s a set of scenes at the end of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in which Rick meditates on the possibility and significance of finding a real, living animal in a world devastated by nuclear warfare and covered in radioactive dust. It’s a great ending to a great text, and really speaks to the hanging ambivalent tone that this text operates through. That was my entire experience of reading it: the plot seems like it should make a reader all but depressed, but, like Iran, the protagonist’s wife, the reader is pulled along, and pulled outside of regular emotional activity. Iran self-induces a feeling of despair twice per week because she recognises both that despair has been lost as a response to the plight of the earth and its inhabitants, and that a lack of fitting emotional response was once considered an illness. Anyway, this is accidentally a post about my deceased rabbit, but you should totally read this book.
*rabbits grunt to indicate displeasure or anger, normally. Bruce suffered from food anxiety, and would grunt every.single.time we fed him, to the point that it eventually it became part of his food excitement routine.
Have a recommendation for me? Leave it in the comments!
Reading next: either Philip K. Dick’s UBIK, or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.