Showing posts with label Writer-Encounters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writer-Encounters. Show all posts

Friday, October 08, 2021

books, books, books

Sad because I finished Cloud Cuckoo Land (at 2 am last night) and I was disappointed about Anna's life post-Constantinople. Blamed it on men writing women, TBH. Clearly, my own Women's Writing class is having an effect on me. Ha.

Also: finally admitted to myself that I'm not going to be able to finish that online course in digital and data interpretation I signed up for... Not this semester, anyway. Just like in my undergraduate days, which is when I should have figured this out, I spend too much free time reading fiction and poetry, apparently.

The "sternly-worded" resolution--about the culling of books and carrels in the library--I was signatory to, passed with a resounding majority at the faculty meeting. Brief moment of vindication, but not sure if there will be any change to what feels like a predetermined outcome. 

Thursday, October 07, 2021

in the war for trans existence


Big A's claim to show-biz fame is that he was in a play with Dave Chappelle. A middle school play. That he got kicked off--Big A not DC--for being mouthy. 

I liked the Chappelle Show, I loved Block Party. When we moved back to Big A's old hometown in 2008, I remember being faintly star struck about seeing DC everywhere. His older kids were in At's range, his youngest is a year behind Nu. Then he became just one more familiar face; it helped that he and his wife E were unfailingly kind to everyone. E "loves" when I post FB pics of the kids; I swoon when she shares pics of award shows. 

But I haven't watched any of his Netflix specials after the first one--it just didn't even seem him--not the funny Neal Brennan Chappelle, not the kind Yellow Springs Chappelle. I vaguely remember a joke he told on the the first one about two gender studies profs he has coffee with regularly and how all he's thinking about when they're talking is that he'd like to fuck them and I kind of checked out after that. 

And now the constant TERF war. RainOfTerra's tweet thread broke me and then I messaged LA (possibly one of the afore-mentioned gender studies profs in YS) around 5:15 am with a link and asked if she or anyone else could reach out to Dave. Her reply started with "Ugh, Dave." and ended with "So I will share this and see if any of Dave’s friends can speak to him in any way he can hear, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope."

And I wish I could do more.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

404

 


Full day: 10+ hours of teaching and grading and meetings and approx. 2 hours of commuting...

And it's now 3:18 am and I can't stop reading Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Help.

(I liked his All the Light We Cannot See too although its very eurocentric depiction of WWII irked me. This one, OMG, is incredibly lush and includes wide swathes of humanity and historical times.)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

a loss

 



<<This snarky joke was made by a person I admired when they got Covid a week ago. This in itself was surprising as they were vaccinated, advocated for masks, and seemed so careful. 

I am in major shock from hearing that they succumbed to Covid yesterday. State lines seemed distance enough... not sure how to handle this eternal distance. 

RIP, amazing one

Thursday, August 12, 2021

of darker days



> Torrential rains last night and then a pretty innocent-looking morning. Yet at my all-kids-pre-breakfast cuddle/huddle, At remarked on how it already looked darker at our regular wake up time.

*

< Started Ayad Akhtar's Homeland Elegies. FML, I didn't expect so much of that first chapter to be about Trumpfzzzz. It has been such a relief not to have to deal with that din on the daily.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

some more (travel)


Once more into the skies and on to D.C. where a long postponed conference-workshop awaits. 

Big A took me to the airport at 5 am, the plane took off at 6 am, and when I got to the hotel around 10 am-- they gave me a room right away.

Like me, it seemed everyone else too was grateful and eager for connection and collaboration after the pandemic hiatus, and people at our table lingered over half-full glasses of wine long after our formal welcome and orientation concluded. It turned out that one of the new people I met is an IRL friend of the fabulous Sarah from Harry Times. We were discussing academia and motherhood, and I had mentioned how seemingly effortlessly Sarah excels at parenting FIVE kids with an academic job and a spouse with a high-profile job--unsurprisingly perhaps, it appears there's only one of those 😀.

Speaking of kids--I haven't missed my kids since I kissed the human kids sleeping faces and the puppy kids furry faces at 4:30 am. 

[Pic: A nearly full moon at sunrise.]

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

interlude


I found this fellow at the waterlily pond in the horticultural gardens today. The colors here remind me of the first edition cover of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things--which At is reading (for the first time) currently. I hope he likes it...

Decades ago, I used to find it impossible to love anyone who didn't like Roy's novel. 

I'm so much mellower now. 

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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Believe in open-minded people



Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in our Presidential Speaker series (via Zoom) tonight and here's my question and his response.

How do you decide whether or not to engage with someone who may put you in a position where you have to argue for your humanity/human rights?

Well, remember there are people who are close-minded and people who are open-minded. 

So someone may believe in voter fraud, and you may bring them some sources and say: there is no significant voter fraud. 

And they may say: [I] don't trust your sources

So you ask them: Ok, what sources do you trust? 

And you go and find material from those sources and they say: I don't trust those sources anymore

Those people may have closed minds. And when a person's mind is closed, I try to not spend my time on them unless they are really close to me. 

I'm going to spend my time with the open-minded people. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today's (s)log

Yesterday's picture, and a tiny today update. 

Met all my classes; my students seem lovely! My international students patched in via video, and that went ok too. I am grieving the loss of classroom intimacy--video, masks, distancing, and having to sit in rows instead of a circle are all messy. But I get it--and I think we'll get through it. 

Got to meet At before afternoon classes to pass on some freezer staples, I and was chuffed to see he had two masks and long sleeves on. Yay! I walked him back to his house and got a "back hug" as he turned to get the stairs. Seeing At made me so happy.

My last class ended late and then I headed to a socially distant picnic at the president's house for our new MFA director. Both of them have worked really hard on the program even through the strangeness of the summer, and I was happy to celebrate with them. But the sun had set by the time I drove home--another reminder this summer is ending. Luckily, I had a long conversation with JG to keep me company in the car. 

Back home, I discovered that L had dropped off some of Nu's favorite brownies and a ton of snacks as a back-to-school treat for Nu (they start tomorrow). My Nu was already in bed, but I was told they lovvvvvvvved me when I snuck in for a goodnight kiss. And then Big A woke up, and we had a teensy dessert-date chit-chat (me with Nu's brownies, Big A with the leftovers of the Culver's from his and Nu's dinner) before he headed off to work. I'll be sleeping with Scout and Huck tonight.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

First Day

Yesterday's Hawk Island hike with SS was magical. I came away with book and movie recommendations and the idea that I'm not the one who gets to decide who reads my stuff. Of course, I tell students this all the time, but I need to hear it too, sometimes.

Today was my first day back in the classroom since March. Yes, it's Sunday, but that's when the first-years start this year. My first-day jitters were keener than usual, but once back in the classroom, things settled into the usual. 

I don't think I have everyone's names yet as I usually do. Masked, even people I already know are hard to recognize; memorizing the names of new students when half their faces are out of view is going to be quite a challenge. Bless everyone who smiles with their eyes and nods in class.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Discoveries


Walk-and-talks with At and Nu (frequently up and down our driveway) are full of insights, jokes, and discoveries, but I guess we didn't expect actual physical discoveries like this mossy rock just off the path.  Was it always here? How did we not see it?

Here on the magic rock, is my little woodland Nu dappled in sunlight and lost in thought (they're very into plague doctor philosophy and aesthetics right now).

Another discovery: the story "Amma" by Sindya Bhanoo in Granta, not just set in my hometown of Chennai, but IN MY SCHOOL! OMG.

Friday, July 24, 2020

24/7 Panic Snapshots

Gratuitous cute-goofy picture
I woke in panic several times last night:

Once because my mind was singing the chorus to MISSIO's "Wolves" and it was terrifying in the dark.

Once because I was imploring Mai and the macaque to run, run, run (just finished Ocean Vuong's beautiful and brutal On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous).

Once because I dreamed I had taken At and Nu clothes shopping and they were breathed on and almost touched accidentally a few times by other shoppers. (How extra stupid would this unease have been a year ago?!)

And finally, because of the reasonable, rational, familiar dread of the school year approaching and all the preparation that needs to be accomplished in the weeks that remain. It's here--July 24th... 24/7. In exactly one month we'll be welcoming students back to campus.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Anti-Capitalist Walk-Talk



It was At's turn to walk with me today, and we ended up in hammocks after 20 or so mins, because it had gotten quite hot again. Our resident socialist was discussing the cultural theorist Mark Fisher, whose chapter titles are whimsical and full of possibility: "What if you held a protest and everyone came?" "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism."  But I guess I didn't know the jarring reason why Fisher's writing stopped.

And also, I'll confess--my darling boy's Jesus of the Naxalites mien charms and alarms me in almost equal measure and for different reasons.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Moping



This is Scout's favorite "mope" position and today, he kept switching sides back and forth while Nu and I listened to Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings--something I've wanted to do since we fell in love with the radical Grimke sisters when we were reading Rad American Women A-Z five years ago. (Incidentally, while there have been lots of girl-centered hero books since, Rad American Women A-Z remains my favorite because of the way it centers social justice.)

When I'm not actively occupying myself with something productive  (good) or self-flagellating with the news (bad), I find I too am moping in various positions and locations like our Scout. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Here's to the Chroniclers

Over at the NYT, Teju Cole says true and clever things about chronicling life in this pandemic, and it reminded me of all the bloggers who update frequently, and are giving credence and structure to readers' experiences via their own daily meditations.  I miss my old blogging peers from the time of the Mutiny and people I met there including Cole himself. I remember him saying something faintly nice about a poem of mine here once upon a time, and how it made the rest of my week/month--something like that. Ha.

I've tried to get the kids to keep journals; Nu got as far as decorating the cover of the new notebook I gave them; At scoffed, but he's quite tweety, so there's that. Anyway, these days, I'm starting internet meanderings with: Ana BeginsGrumpy RamblingsHarry TimesNot of General InterestShu BoxSomething Remarkable, and Stirrup Queens.  Updating here daily has helped me remember and process these days--yes I've cried every day for the past week, but apparently I've done so for discrete reasons. (Not really; it's mostly been related to living in the pandemic, but at least I have a list of different things that set me off.)

Here's a link to Cole's essay and some pull quotes where he articulates the anxiety of articulation in the right now.


"This year has been a blur, but I remember one day clearly: Sunday, March 8. It was the last day I ate at a restaurant, the last day I went to a concert (Red Baraat at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass.) and the last day I hugged a friend. It was also the first time I thought that I should begin writing about what was going on.

"That thought was immediately followed by its negation: Why bother? The same incidents, the same references and the same outrages would inevitably be picked over by other writers; for all our social distancing, we’d all be crowding around the same material. I also knew that anything I wrote could soon be — in fact was almost certain to be — contradicted by new developments. But what worried me most was that certain points of emphasis in my writing would later prove to have been misjudged, and that this would somehow reveal that my heart had been in the wrong place all along.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Pandemic, Spring

Across a tawny field that will be green
next week, a stand of maples, waving,
trunks spaced six feet or more apart
as if they’d heard the governor’s order.
As if they, too, were keeping distance,
while in the earth an interplay of fine
roots and tiny fungi relays messages,
shares sustenance, keeps in touch.
From here, their lacy crowns look bare,
spreading as they reach out toward a sky
delicately blue as a robin’s egg. Yet there
a thousand thousand leaf buds hold tight
ready to unfurl in jubilation. Till then
the trees hang on, deep-rooted, keeping
their distance, holding each other close.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Big Girl







One of our busiest hikes at Harris Nature Center today--my four kids, L&T; B&L, V&C, plus CF and VC and JS and, and...

I've been feeling... sad is the best way to describe it. And as the human kids traveled up and down the hike group chatting away, I brought up the rear with just the puppy kids, giving myself permission to be alone for a while.

Back home, we made a pantry-sourced, vaguely Thai-inspired soup with sweet potatoes, beans, veggies, lemongrass, ginger, basil, and coconut milk, and then settled in to finish watching the Gerwig adaptation of Little Women after dinner with Big A.

Ever since I won a copy of LW in fourth grade, I've steadily read most of Alcott's novels, contributed to the Alcott encyclopedia in grad school, and generally adore her--that I loved this adaptation with its duplex ending so much means something.

The kids had already seen it with the grands in OH when it first came out, and I found it so sweet the way they watched my reaction as they re-watched the movie with me. Also, they think it's hilarious to call it "Big Girls."