Those who follow along–thanks for sticking around, guys!–have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet here at Southern Bluestocking. Plenty going on (too much going on!), but transforming experience into words has just been a bit beyond me lately. I read an article last semester (Foucault’s Lives of Infamous Men) which theorized that humans only started understanding the minutiae of daily life through words with the rise of the Catholic church and the confessional: instead of merely experiencing, we now understand through words. We narrate our lives. We make stories, we find themes, we identify the villains and the heroes. Things never just are. Things always have meaning. I find that fascinating, but I wonder what it would be like to just… not. To not make the story, to not judge the day. To feel it in our bodies without our heads getting in the way. (Speaking of theory, can’t get enough Descartes right now. Or rather, Feminist Interpretations of Rene Descartes. Fabulous book. All about the Cartesian split [mind is supreme, body is just a machine] and how that has played out in the last few centuries.)
Anyway. So talking about my day or my thoughts has seemed a bit beyond me. But I’m in the final stretch of papers, and I couldn’t possibly write papers without procrastinating as much as possible on my blog, so here goes.
1.) I moved out. The basement apartment about which I talked in August turned out to be akin to the room with the yellow wallpaper. Though yellow wallpaper might have been an improvement. No sunlight, too-bright florescent lights, too much white tile. After much effort in painting and decorating (my boyfriend should be knighted) I gave up and found another (much better) place.
2.) I moved in. I found an upstairs apartment in a great old house. Tons of sunshine, lots of windows, wood floors. I can’t express how necessary natural light is. Much better situation. It’s quiet, I can hear the birds, I study on the roof.
3) Grad school: at the moment I’m feeling kind of ugh. Primarily because there are all of these weird social things. You know that feeling in junior high when everybody else did something fun the night before and you didn’t go, and so have nothing to add to the conversation? yup. Not fun. But ugh, that’s my life. And I could go out, but I don’t really want to. I’m not trying to meet someone, I just want to get home so I can talk to my aforementioned should-be-knighted boyfriend. And pour myself a drink and cuddle my dog. My adult-student status is good in so many ways, but sometimes makes me feel a little fringey. Blargh. Let’s just say I miss my back-home, already-grown-up friends.
4.) Grad school: again, kind of ugh. I’m trying to write three separate papers, and they keep converging. And I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Descartes is at the center, and Angels in America (talking about Harper’s madness–what fun!) and Andrew Marvell. And Persuasion and narrative voice. And I can’t seem to get quite terrified enough about my (oh-so-quickly) approaching deadlines. So instead, I update a blog that has been neglected for weeks. Obviously.
Nonetheless, given coffee and snacks, I shall prevail.
All of this seems terribly negative, so smile at the baby sloth. And have a good day.
First, after this long quest, you are swimming in a terrible soup of values– for, to be safe, you had to refuse the so-called female values, which are not female but a social scheme, and had to identify with male values, which are not make but an appropriation by men– or an attribution to men– of all human values, mixed up with the anti-values of domination-violence-oppression and the like. In this mixture, where is your real identity?
Second, you are supposed to write in certain forms, preferably: I mean you feel that in certain forms you are not too much seen as a usurper. Novels. Minor poetry…
You are supposed, too, to write about certain things: house, children, love.
And of course, you don’t want to obey this social order. So you tend to react against it.
It is not easy to be genuine.
–Christine Rochefort, “Are Women Writers Still Monsters?,”quoted by Ann Rosalind Jones’s “Writing the Body: toward an understanding of l’écriture féminine”
This morning, I’m sitting in the sunshine, eating the most beautiful strawberries I’ve ever seen, and preparing for this evening’s drama class.
This class has been difficult. I know so little about the theater– apart from a raging addiction to Slings and Arrows, I’m pretty much in the dark about what sets theater apart from, say, just reading the manuscript of a play. It seems so close to reading a novel or a poem– acts of imagination occur, stories are told and we change.
But the most interesting thing I’ve learned in the class about what sets theater apart from novels or poetry is that it happens in “real time” on the stage. If you miss it, it’s gone. The perfect moment. It’s ephemeral. It isn’t waiting for you between the leather covers of a book; you can’t pull it up on the iPad during your commute. You have to get it as it happens.
And the connection to the strawberries in the sunshine is so obvious that my conclusion seems redundant. What a perfect moment.
Spending my weekend (and with my so-wonderful schedule this semester, Monday is still part of the weekend) in my new place with the windows wide open– the breeze is making the curtains billow, the sun is shining, the birds are twittering, and, best of all, the research is progressing quite well.