Given the renewed attention on the myriad of ways in which American society condemns and disregards and otherwise sanctions the murder of Black folk by the police in light of the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, I took a break from this. It’s not exactly because I was worried about taking up space on a platform (I have no platform: I think there are three of you that read this), though that was a concern; it’s not exactly because I didn’t have anything to say, because me being me I’ve almost always got something to say, though I don’t know that it was the time nor place for me to be saying much about it, rather it wasn’t; and it’s not exactly because life did not go on in other ways, because it did, some good, some bad, but also maybe it was not the time.
Frankly, I’m not sure it’s even the time, now. I’m not one of those folks whose "feeds" have gone back to "normal," though I’m also not so sure that the public shaming around that whole visibility thing is so helpful (I don’t know what is helpful). It all feels a little echoey. And I am fortunate that (for the most part) the people whom I interact with, my family, are all more or less on the same page about this stuff. That means I’m not having the "difficult conversations" so often, but maybe that’s OK, I’m not sure. It’s a fucking pandemic and we’re not seeing people so much. I don’t know. I’ve lost a thread.
Before I got quiet for a while I had started trying to write on here more. As my fiction turns more private (at least for now), I figured it would be good to practice public writing. I’d drawn up a list of posts I wanted to write, but now all seem either late or out of touch or I-don’t-even-know.
The titles were as follows (alphabetized, as they are in my filesystem):
- Bar Bike
I finally have created what is more or less the perfect commuter for me, for Boston, for the kind of commuting I was doing, but then a pandemic hit and was wildly mismanaged by 45 and the idiotic and increasingly repressive Republican Regime, and so instead of my bar bike being a bar bike it is now mostly collecting dust, or is used only for short rides around the neighborhood with A, which are great and fun, but also now the bike’s basket, dynamo lights, and theft-proof things are pretty unnecessary. Oh well. It doesn’t feel that important right now, anyway: I’m lucky to have bikes (plural!) to ride at this time to keep my head in good balance anyway.
- Daily Rituals and Healthcare
This was going to be about that book (Daily Rituals), about how I still haven’t gotten ahold of the follow up that’s better representative (though I’ve been reading other biographies trying to pick ones written by women, too, anyway now I’m maybe virtue signaling I don’t —), and about how the whole healthcare crisis was making me reflect on how fortunate I was to have a full time gig with healthcare coming out of writing grad school, and how fucked it is that healthcare is tied to a job. This is maybe still relevant, but I’d have to rewrite what I wrote entirely to accommodate the new realities of COVID and the continuing clusterfuck of our economy. Maybe someday. A lot of my friends are struggling still to find work, and the unemployment office is not helpful, to say the least.
- Metaphors for Getting on a Vessel
Oh, I’d forgotten but I guess this was supposed to be about onboarding at my new job. Who cares?
- My Fascination with Stein
This would actually maybe be interesting to think about again, to think about Stein in our current moment (her politics were kind of fucked, but kind of not? But mostly), but I haven’t read any Stein really since January or February so I’d need to get back into her work in a real way and I don’t have the next-up Everybody’s Autobiography handy right now (long story). I have other things I’m reading anyway, and it’s not fair to have her skip the line (again).
- On Not Rearranging My Library
Obviously this was going to be a spoof/LOL at the Benjamin essay (garbage link, sorry). At the beginning of the pandemic I was thinking, as I was still not yet full time and had some afternoons in which I could in theory attempt to (finally) rearrange my library to something more suitable, I’d try to rearrange things to better meet my needs as I left grad school and went forward into… something. But then I decided not to, and I was going to write about it. But then we decided to swap around a few of the rooms in our house anyway and so, as there are books littered everywhere (much to the chagrin of my much more minimalist fiancée, who is patient and kind), and so it more or less half-happened (by which I mean: I rearranged a new "working from" shelf in the new office room), nullifying this. But maybe I’ll return. But again, it didn’t, and still sort of doesn’t, feel so important, maybe? Unclear.
- Perec, Perec, Perec
I really loved getting into Perec’s work in a deeper way over the past year or so. I really want to read more of him. But like Stein, I can’t jump him, as other things have necessitated jumping themselves. Alia pointed out that my reading list this year (at the time) was pretty white and pretty male and elsewise pretty European so I’ve been trying to work on that. Some years it’s better (I checked) but it seemed important this year to try and rebalance. A part of it is because my reading projects were, frankly, white and male and European by virtue of looking a lot at the Oulipo and Jewish authors and certain modernists and histories (what that says, too), but anyway, I’ll return to Perec when I can, and it’ll be lovely, and there are so many other wonderful things to read in the meantime.
- "Zoom Zoom"
"It’s interesting to see that all of the people on zoom always have windows behind them, because it’s good to have a window behind your desk, where you work, but it is bad lighting for video, and what priorities we all have."
Anyway, here’s me making something out of (mostly) nothing. I have a lot of discarded fiction drafts, but those are private. I have a lot of really bad poems, which are private too. This spring and summer has, aside from finishing my thesis and one or two other, longstanding things, has been a lot of reworking, a lot of relearning, a lot of trying to take what was good about grad school and then return it towards the kinds of things I was interested before grad school and have always, in some sense, been interested in. (Grad school was great, but why did it take until after grad school for me to remember that I genuinely enjoy reading certain kinds of philosophy and theory?). I don’t know; the work will continue and we’ll see where it goes.