Tag Archives: 2010

I’m not sure I’m quite as subtle as an academic

I’m not sure I’m quite as subtle as an academic. I might be a bit more impulsive, advocating change. And I’m still not sure I’d like academia. … And what I do—this philosophical creative writing—doesn’t quote fit an academic department. I don’t want to be tied to the inquiry areas, have my work approved by—need the approval of others of my work.

[From journal of Tues., 9 Nov. 2010, Journal 134, page 165]

I don’t want to get angry—that would change the whole dynamic of the class

My modeling doesn’t seem to work. I don’t want to get angry—that would change the whole dynamic of the class, and I just don’t want to do that. But then, this leaves unresolved such a class as this. How would I handle such a class in the future—a class of kids who aren’t disrespectful but also are talkative and not workative. Maybe there’s just not much to do about that. Just chalk it up to the mix of kids. Or maybe I just get a bit more serious on them, with them, these last few weeks. Many of them do have work to do—like S__, like A__—maybe have a little chat with them Monday, get just a bit more seriuous with them.

[From journal of Sat., 24 April 2010, Journal 126, page 94-5]

He came back from literary fest seeming rather down

He came back from literary fest seeming rather down. His poem didn’t win a prize, and [my teacher-colleague] said he was pouting. She said she had a talk, or needed to, with him about showing character when you lose. But some other kids’ poems got honorable mentions, she said. So this judge [seemed] more amenable to my students’ types of poems than last years’ judges were—not that it matters much.

[From journal of Sat., 24 April 2010, Journal 126, pages 89]

To finish the sentence once I’ve started it and have lost interest because it’s already written in my head

See, even to keep myself on a topic, to finish the sentence once I’ve started it and have lost interest because it’s already written in my head, it’s already constructed, hand just has to follow through but brain and inner voice want to move on—

Writing’s maybe more difficult than I think. To make a piece of prose follow conventions, we have to go against, well, limit and guide our brains (and I started to think this writing is too dull, too straightforward, then I said it’s OK, don’t be so judgy).

Talked to [colleague] about the better arguments about school performance (M said the other thing we talked about with D__ was how perhaps where we grow up, our “native culture,” does influence us a lot—how M didn’t want to play the corporate game at S___, how D__ may not fit in city). As [colleague] said and I thought, we can’t blame the kids. Yes, test scores aren’t good—but we’d want to argue that that criteria, that assessment—to use the ACT to judge schools—is flawed. And then if we were to compare Rochelle against Hononegah, how they do better, we’d say how local schools probably should respond to their community’s wants and needs (local culture) and Rochelle is not a community that values college.

And there was that meeting yesterday at 5—I doubt much happened. [Colleague] said talking about it with me after school raised his blood pressure. He said it’s foolish, this whole idea that everyone can go to college, that everyone can get a job with a college degree. Krugman wrote about Europe vs. U.S. and the idea is that there’s more social justice, less inequality, in France and Germany, that the U.S. is all-or-nothing in that way, and that once you add U.S. health care costs to our taxes, it’s about the same tax levels as in those countries.

[From journal of Tues., 12 Jan. 2010, Journal 122, pages 77-8]

Maybe that’s why all the fertility goddesses

I was a bit worn out yesterday anyway. Took a nap yesterday morning, but was otherwise fairly active. Making sure there were enough flags in the electric fence, making cans with gravel and flags for the driveway, then training Sam to the fence and doing three loads of laundry. We went to Chinese food in Oregon about 4. Came back, … and then I took down my hanging clothes (it was a sunny, warm (near 70°, or at least mid-60s°), breezy day. Eric Nefstead of Channel 17 said the month so far is 10° above normal—and if that trend carried through, it’d be the warmest April on record. (Seth Meyers on SNL Weekend Update commented on FedEx buying four electric delivery vans. His comment was, “Can’t you feel those glaciers coming back?”—sarcasm on the global warming.)

And here we are. So that jumbled retelling clears me head of most of what I wanted to record. C__ brought some people to visit—her relatives? And B___ was here holding a goat, he and a few others. It’s spring, so let’s go see baby animals. But perhaps there is something spiritually pleasing about seeing new life, baby creatures, baby humans, maybe—maybe that’s why all the fertility goddesses.

That “Yo Momma” vocab book mentioned (in comic context of seriousness, a context of comic seriousness, and not serious comedy) something about not having a kid leaving one spiritually and emotionally unsatisfied (I read this Friday). This was in the section of the “Yo Momma” jokes too serious to be funny (your momma so ugly she can’t attract a mate, etc.)

That seemed a harsh thing to say, that spiritual thing. Jeez, I guess I doubt if it’s true. If I don’t have kids, I won’t know what it’s like to have kids.

(M__ & T__, C__ & I__’s son and daughter-in-law, were here in a.m. getting manure for their garden. He talked about his two kids in college, trying to pay for that. His daughter, now 23, always wanted to argue with them, he said. And they got a dog because somebody told them the dog loves your kids even when you don’t, or it’s hard for you to love them, or something. His face reminded me a lot of C__’s— something about the widely set eye sockets, or something—but it seems too obvious to mention—”Hey, you look like your dad.”)

But I also look at people who do have kids, and I see the work, the struggle, the costs. Sure, I’m missing out on the joys. Those are probably mostly private, anyhow, like how we enjoy Sammy. We tell stories about him (M said Gracie was a philosopher; Sammy’s smart but crafty, seeing what he can get away with. And yet, he seems to have learned this boundary pretty quick (and Ph__ said she told her dogs “careful, careful” as they get close to the line—that seems to be working with Sam.) He might be actually very smart, perhaps smarter than Gracie when it comes to learning things from us. He’s willful enough to not always obey, but he seems very trainable.

[From journal of Sun., 11 April 2010, Journal 125, page 141-4]

I did a bit of cleaning yesterday, too

I did a bit of cleaning yesterday, too. Maybe we can get recycling bins into pantry with dog food can. I put other can in hall closet (east end, with Xmas stuff and falling-down batt insulation) and I put the crisper and meat bins from fridge— which have been on the floor for a month or more, for apparently no reason—they had potatoes but I planted them 2-3 weeks ago already— and so I put those bins in pantry, on shelves—and I went through the big black garbage bag from the car, which had M’s tape dispenser, violin music, newspapers, etc.

And I recycled the big boxes from portable AC and my lawn mower (by the way, the back roller bar fell off last week—weeds got wrapped around it and maybe that was what pushed aside the holder bars—not too sturdy there).

Anyway, happy: so if we had our own newer house … No, I don’t need a house to be happy. I am happy when I write.

[From journal of Mon., 19 July 2010, Journal 130, page 37-8]

Again, you’re talking about sh!t you seem to want

Again, you’re talking about sh!t you seem to want—seem to think you want—but you can’t have.

Why do that? Why not feel good—count your blessings: steady job, sick days, decent money, wife and dog and this farm (though M said yesterday that having our own place would be nice because we wouldn’t get lectured about filling the washing machine too full).

You’re acting this morning like there are problems, but there are no problems—yes, I’m sick, but still.

I guess I gotta stay awake ’til I’ve talked to [colleague]—that’s another hour and 15 from now.

And so, you are awake and alive and every morning you sit down and write and once you’ve written about the previous day, you’re not sure how to write—what else to write. You have not gotten in depth into anything today—which could be the cold tiring me out, but this happens other times, too. Maybe you don’t have any real questions left? That’d be sad—and I’m sure it’s not true. Yes, I’ve learned a lot as an adult, but it’s hubris to think you know enough. I don’t even mean I know all there is in the world. I mean, I know enough about myself and for myself, my job, how to do it. But that’s also bullsh!t, of course.

Just because you can’t get traction on a new thread of thought, that doesn’t mean much about the availability of ideas.

But it’s also OK to admit that, today, this morning, you don’t have a lot of questions. That’s OK. Who said you’d have to have ideas every morning?

Poor Aunt Chris, driving 90 miles each way to work—that would get old, I’d think.

Or maybe I’d rather just fall asleep.

And maybe it’s OK if everything—OK that everything—is the way it is just now. You don’t have to stake out critical territory—the way I wrote yesterday about the movie When in Rome being OK as a commercial work, that whatever that particular work is, it doesn’t really define the space of what’s possible in art or what art is.

Everything is still open. Looking at the media, at its broad self-similarity, you’d think there weren’t that many options left, that the realm of what’s acceptable was narrow—but not so!

Wow, I’m tired–falling asleep here as I write. Must stay awake to give [colleague] the plans.

I could eat breakfast, I guess.

[From journal of Mon., 8 Feb. 2010, Journal 122, page 262-3]