Showing posts with label Culture as War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture as War. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

"make me a channel"




Two colleague-friends on the third floor have birthdays this week, and what a perfect time (plus a privilege and a pleasure) to share the work of Sophfronia Scott (who'll soon be on our floor) with them.

Otherwise a busy, busy, busy day with meetings starting at 8 am and student grading, consultations, and some cheerleading/handholding throughout. 

Because I was personally in a funk (™my dad) last week, I forgot to say how proud I am of my students who did a wonderful job with the WGS symposium and then over-performed on Honors Day despite all the pandemic-inherent obstacles. Hearing their idealistic and confident descriptions of why their humanities research was important made me tear up more than once. And one of my sponsees took the humanities Kapp Prize.

AK wrote me: You know your students today were rock-stars right? Your light as a teacher has clearly lit them up as well. While that's clearly a kind overstatement, and I don't want to take away from my students' clear sense of agency and genius--it nevertheless made me feel like I was doing good in this world. Even if only as an intermediary.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

onwards

Not justice and not even accountability--but a gruff reminder from the universe that progress is possible when we participate in all the ways we can witnessing, filming, challenging, protesting, sacrificing, mourning, writing, reliving, watching, feeling, waiting.... 

I was on my way home, but had to pull over to the side of the road when the verdict was read out. 

Later, driving past Ithaca, I watched a police car speeding down a side road parallel to the highway until it disappeared. 

Felt surreal.

[Mural: Aziz Asmar in Idlib, Syria]

Sunday, April 18, 2021

sweet/hurt


My sweet Nu made me a matching rainbow kandi bracelet and taught me how to trade it proper P.L.U.R.-style.

Definitely the highlight of my weekend.

I'm worried about Covid spikes in MI and even more worried about the tsunami of numbers coming out of India. Extremely worried for my parents who got their second vaccine shot last week, and are experiencing some persistent and alarming discomfort / symptoms.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

CW

I'm awake for all the usual wrong reasons

and     Adam Toledo      Adam Toledo 

Adam Toledo     Adam Toledo.

Adam Toledo              Adam Toledo

And now     FedEx Indianapolis.

mass shooting       police shooting

police shooting     mass shooting

Adam Toledo      Adam Toledo

           Adam Toledo

Friday, April 02, 2021

Daffodils Etc.

It's spring in England, and my mother visits,
So there is her readiness in colonial desire 
like urgent rain--where squandered things 
find great reception. Electronic billboards! 
Gargoyles in Oxford! Museums are free!
Hunger satisfies easy when you're eager.

Until one day at the grocery checkout she sees
daffodils--papery, plastic-wrapped, "solitary"
not a "never-ending line," "dancing," or "gay."
And Amma--at least a third-generation learner 
of Wordsworth's praise--is first silent in disdain,
her outstretched words rebound as if swindled:
"This? This is what he made such a fuss about?"

In her contempt, I hear comparisons--to the
languor of unkempt jasmine, lotus, plumeria... 
the warm, unlocked softnesses of oleanders, 
parijaths, ixoras... In her derision there hides 
history's list of pain, the sharp bite of the ruler 
when she couldn't say "jocund" right (at least).
And Babu: fish and chips were disappointing too.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I first wrote about Amma's reaction here--so many years ago.

Picture is from Daffodil Hill at the Radiology Gardens earlier this week; they seem to have been bigger this time last year?

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Bigotry Farm


I haven't been able to find the name of this farm on 127N, but I've been calling it "Bigotry Farm" in my head for ages.

Seeing those signs on my way to work gives me anxiety every time. Seeing the progression of misogyny from L to R sometimes gives me a chuckle--sometimes. The flashing sign with bonkers messages makes me sad/angry/sob.

People know what I mean when I mention this place, but I wasn't able to find a good shot of the signs, so I pulled over and took this one.

I could use this in a rhetoric class?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Everywhere a rainbow


Today: 

Listened to an interview with Rachel Crandall Crocker who founded the International Transgender Day of Visibility; 

hmm-ed on the repeal on the ban on trans troops; 

made a note to call the adolescent gender clinic at the U of M.

[Pic Baker Woods with L.]

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Triptych


Three uplifting encounters with women artist-activists today:

A discussion with Lysne Beckwith Tait, the founder of Helping Women Period in my WGS classroom.

A hangout with April Sunami as her work was being installed in the Rotunda art gallery. [Her art on the left; will update with title when the installation is done.]

A (beautifully!) student-moderated webinar with Alice Wong, who gave our Women's History Month keynote.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

thorn/bud/rose

I drove myself into a bit of a panic today, thinking about how I've spent this whole pandemic year just not writing. Colleagues on social media have been productive and publishing all through, but not me. 

There's one article (book chapter) in the pipeline, but I've already claimed it on my C.V. and it went on my tenure portfolio too. I guess sabbatical (next winter) will be the do-or-die period to work on monograph ideas at least.

Looking around for some good news, I remembered that last week, I had been invited to serve on the planning committee of this year's NWSA virtual conference. The NWSA. Ok, a bit better now.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mid-March Madness


One of those days where things seem wonderful one moment: electric class discussions; a chance encounter with a colleague where you both come up with so many new ideas; a guest lecture that is both enlightening and offers students self-care; a lovely thank-you note... And then in the next moment things are so awful and shaky that you can be driving up 127N, see the usual signs on Bigotry Farm, and instead of making you chuckle ruefully, it makes you start crying; or you're discussing Junot Diaz and choke up from thinking about all the 'allies' who are also oppressors.

I know the pandemic still has us in thrall, but having to deal with all the things that were right and wrong in the world on top of it seems a bit much.

Had to block off a two-hour slot tomorrow to draft a statement about the Atlanta shootings with the usual crew since no one else here has said or done anything... thus far.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Different Worlds

 We have this sign, so last week's U.S. drone bombings are particularly agonizing and embarrassing. (Not a revelation--but we could be so much better.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Thaw


I looked up from my desk to this glorious sunlit sky in my sliver of office window. Being here physically was relief and sustenance after the torture of trying to make things go right with Nu yesterday.

Reading students encountering Laura Mulvey, Hanif Kureishi, and Shauna Singh Baldwin, introducing a new class to invitational rhetoric, referencing an old student's lesson plan involving the 'Red Rover' game... everything felt like a fresh spring--at least in my soul.

By the time I got home to little Nu, the 'sad' part persisted, but the 'mad' part had melted away.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Magic

Three long, snowy hikes (with LB and BS), one long-ish run (5 mi), two short yoga sessions. I can't remember when I've had a weekend so full of physical activity before. Two raucous and movie-heavy sleepovers with Nu and Scout and Huck; sadly, not much contact with At--I mean, a picture of a nice omelette he made himself on family chat--but he seems to be mostly ok.

Finished Oona Out of Order--which was meh at best, and frequently irritating--but I grew to care about the characters after all although I didn't care for their idea of gentrification as a beneficial development. Started Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings. Again. I couldn't get into it when it first came out and I remember being roundly castigated for it by world lit friends. I've been humming and channeling a lot of Bob Marley (because I MISS my mom so much) recently, so I'm giving Seven Killings another go. It's intense. 

Also intense, Judas and the Black Messiah, which I watched with Big A. Fred Hampton--especially how much he did at so young an age and how much he could have gone on to do had he not been assassinated has been a trigger for me--but the film was oddly heartening. Especially as Akua Njeri and Fred Hampton Jr. seem to have been such a central part of the film's making.

I disengaged from most work all weekend. And something that helped was that I didn't get a single work email! Is this everyone deciding to institute strong boundaries since we work from home so much these days? On Friday, which was a "Reading Day," I sent out an inquiry on behalf of an advisee and my senior colleague reminded me to "take the day off." Knowing everyone is doing it, and that it would be rude and interruptive not to, makes it so much easier for me. I still have some grading to catch up on, but hope to get it done by Tuesday when I will have to face people in real time again. That's not magical thinking, although I did wish on the beautiful and magical wishing tree BS gave me this weekend. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ordinal

The view from my "classroom" (previously the yoga/zumba room) in the rec center. There's something mesmerizing about that speckled sky and the in-between-classes emptiness of the walkways. 

I sat in a pool of sunshine during group discussions as I didn't know if the sunshine would last until I was out of class. (Reader, it did not.)

But... I'm all caught up in class, fit in about seven different student meetings (everything from honor societies, to MacCurdy, DEI, and Honors Day), got in a quick visit and hugs with At, drove home listening to the impeachment case, ate the egg sammies Big A made for me (the rest got Culvers per Nu's Boss Day request), celebrated Nu, hung out with Scout and Huck, ate a ton of chocolate... all of it satisfying different points of my soul. 

A full day of meetings tomorrow.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

cozy and kind

I stayed cozy today. The temporary wallpaper in the little alcove is new... I'm still inordinately pleased with the fake stove-space heater and fake sheepskins.

Long run (for me, i.e. 5 mi.), Challah from L, marveling about Fred Hampton with At, sleepover with Nu and the puppies last night--those are some of the highlights. The rest was work--finally got acceptance letters and contracts out to the poets we'd picked last week. 

Big A is at the end of a longish break (12 days) from work in the ER. He's been working--on papers and paperwork--but he's been home and it has been extra cozy. We were reminiscing about how "when we were younger" and he worked in the ER so much more, a break like this would invariably start with a giant fight about something inconsequential. We seem to have gotten better about managing hopes and expectations and overall, we're just... kinder to each other.

Friday, February 05, 2021

A Date!


Courtesy my CASA director and the child advocacy program.
I got into child advocacy because the work soothed my soul--
who knew it would save my life in this most visceral way...

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

At Last...


Four years ago, At and Nu were newbies to protest and I had a houseful of students. So much to love then and now. 

What will I do now that I don't have to be horrified every SINGLE second that we've Twittered our way to some new calamity? Huh?

I didn't get to watch the inauguration in real time, but took in a few texts here and there and then a Zoom to toast the new admin so "things feel more real." 

I really missed my WGS folks who have helped me keep my sanity in the last four years, mostly by making ad hoc traditions of marches and protests, and linners

I so wish we could be together in solidarity and community again. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pongal 2021


Most years we're already back at school before Pongal comes around and the usual celebration is something hurried when the sun is no longer high in the sky.  

This year, we got to celebrate in the sunshine and make our offering at a reasonable daytime hour, with fragrant narcissus and paperwhites rounding out the pongal rice and jaggery laddu on the offering tray. To the millenary vedic sun salutation sloka*, which I was translating for the kids as I went, I added a prayer for enough Vit. D to help us through the pandemic. 

Cousin P had sent the cousin groupchat a set of truly lovely pics of their traditional celebration replete with sugarcane, outdoor hearth, and silk-clad kids. So I sent this pic back to balance things out. 

Not pictured: The very un-Pongal looking kids, one in the Phoebe Bridgers limited edition Punisher sweater they got from their older sib and the other human kid in the pink Mean Girls/Karl Marx mashup tee I gave them.


----------------------------
*Japakusuma Samkaasham Kashyapeyam Mahadhyuthim,

Tamorim Sarva Paapagnam Pranathosmi Divakaram

[You radiant as the Japa flower, heir of Kashyapa, the creator of days

destroy my darkness and all corruption I pray to you, O Sun.]

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Wednesday's Insanity

What an extraordinary day. Woke up to news of Georgia electing Rev. Warnock (John Lewis' pastor) and Ossoff (a sometime John Lewis intern) to the senate. Breakfast felt like an upbeat celebration. In hindsight, I wish we'd had more time to sit with this moment.

At 3:00, Nu was on their daily online-school-accountability call with Grandma S, and were told that they really should go watch the news. So we did. Watching the storming of capitol buildings by white supremacists was surreal, frustrating, and infuriating. Activists from ADAPT and BLM certainly did not get the 'I'll open the gates, hold your hand going down the stairs, and take selfies with you' treatment from the police. 

By 4:00, I was in a meeting with one of the finance guys at work who wasn't interested in the news and kept referring to higher ed as "our industry." I can't help thinking this kind of obliviousness and corporatization contributed to the mess we're in.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

By degrees


Poor Scout paid the price for repeated counter-surfing with an upset tummy. At and Nu paid too, as they got to clean him up and change the couch covers in the rumpus room. That's been the excitement today.

In other news, the pandemic rages on, and I'm dismayed at how many people on my social media and WhatsApp seem not to have let it affect their holiday plans that much. I know people have to do whatever gets them through this time, so I keep my thoughts to myself and I've never actually said anything. But it feels personal--Big A has to deal with it in the ED and the rest of us at home have been making all sorts of accommodations and adjustments around it. And of course none of this protects Big A or us if the rest of the world simply carries on in pre-pandemic ways.

Anyway.

Nu is beside me, purposely mumbling things into the Apple remote and laughing their head off at the AI suggestions. Also, Nu has been following me around for the past few days telling me about people they know vaguely at school. For example: I know N vaguely. Once they just asked me in gym: "Are you gay?" And I said "yes." And then their friend K shouted, "I knew it!"  Several rounds of three-degrees-of-middle-school later, I'm beginning to sense how much my usually too-cool and happy-to-be alone kid must miss the daily social interactions of being at school.