Monday, March 31, 2008
That confuses me.
I also saw some old friends from graduate school and previous jobs, and my old advisor, with whom I redeemed myself a bit. So, I left feeling much more energized about my future as a historian and my ability to redeem myself overall.
Today got even better.
At my college, there is a smallish institute that holds discussions on various topics. The director and I had lunch during Spring Break, and we ended up talking about my Douglass project. She suggested that, in addition to the discussions, she begin a "Brown Bag" series allowing the faculty and staff to present research. My Ruth/Harriet work became the first, this morning.
Not only was the talk well attended, not only did the dean attend, not only did the Provost stop by, but the President of the College travelled all the way from another campus (the one that began my series of unfortunate events) specifically to hear my talk. The effing President of the effing College! And he liked it (or did a very good impression of a person who was actively listening and attentive)! They all applauded me -- strongly, "poundpoundpound," not "golf clap stop" -- at the end of a surprisingly lengthy question and answer period, as well.
Fresh off of that little victory, I returned to my office to find a message that I have been accepted to one of the NEH's workshops for community college teachers. I'm going to Mississippi to learn about Freedom Summer! (Which, incidentally, was the topic of the day in my Civil Rights class this morning, only we won't be facing bombs and murder, let's hope.)
Then, I joined the Berks and put in my registration for the conference in Minneapolis this summer.
I'm starting to feel like an actual professional whom people might maybe sorta respect a little. People like me, myself. It's kinda cool.
The universe will most likely give me cancer later this year, just to balance the scales.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I am headed off to New York this afternoon. New York has this addictive energy that I cannot resist. I'm not sure that I could bear living there all of the time, but damn do I love to visit and that summer that I spent as an intern at NYU still wins as the best of my life.
This trip is not for pleasure -- or at least not for play. I'm trying to rebuilt my credibility as a historian. This requires observation, strategic interactions, and a check on my self-destructive tendency to transform myself into a blithering, verbally incontinent, idiot in front of people who intellectually intimidate and awe me, which is just about everyone. I also have to check the opposite response of transforming into a mute. Unfortunately, my Douglass project will have to remain a little secret because I don't actually have anything to show anyone yet, and because I have a history of being very slow on follow-through, if I follow through at all. It's all part of that intimidation thing, which is a big, issue-fraught tangle for another time and place, and which i just have to get the hell over. In any case, this is just a little step toward credibility made all the more appealing by the involvement of New York!
* When I was on the dance team in high school, we had a high kick routine to this song. We had to try out for every performance, and since I wasn't particularly flexible then, with kicks only to my shoulder, I had to work extra hard in practice. I never passed the tryout for any high kick routine, but to this very day, when I hear this song, my muscles reflexively begin the choreography: "Knee, twist, toe, slide. Knee, Twist, toe, slide. Hop, knee, hop, kick. Hop, knee, hop, kick. Right kick, right kick, right kick, right kick. Left kick, left kick, left kick, left kick. Front kick," and so forth. I can't remember the thesis of the last book that I read, but this I can remember.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I know your dilemma. I live your dilemma in the class after yours. We are in the dilemma of the MWF courses. We have so much to cover, and fifty minutes does not allow enough time, especially when we have to do such tasks as set up for class, take roll, cover announcements and field the last minute questions from students as they vacate the classroom. Instead of three hours of classroom time a week, we have something more akin to an hour and a half; and we try so hard to make every second of those fifty minute meeting times count. We can't lose a moment of those fifty minutes to frivolity or to someone else's lack of consideration, right?
You are aware that the class length is fifty minutes, correct? The catalog says so: 9:00-9:50. Fifty minutes. Not sixty, not sixty-one, not sixty-five. Fifty.
Yes, I know, an hour is normally considered longer, but that ten minute buffer is in there for a reason. Your students have other classes to go to, and those teachers probably don’t want them wandering in late, disturbing the rest of the class, just because you cannot let them go before the next class starts.
Then, after you release your class, you have to collect your things and talk to students, while I have to set up my class. I cannot do this if you are standing in front of the Smart Station, five minutes into my class time fielding questions about your lecture, or the quiz, or the test, or whatever. By the time you leave, and I set up my lessons for the day and take roll, we are already at least ten minutes into my class. That's ten minutes into my fifty, which cuts down my class time by twenty minutes per week (thank heavens your class has lab on Friday!) I should starting the course material on the hour, but instead, as the clock chimes, I am still standing outside in the hall, the door locked, while you continue with your lecture.
That your students don’t rebel is a sign of their restraint. My class, however, is not so restrained. My class smashes their faces up against the window. My class rattles your door. My class speaks loudly in the hall. This is a class on the Civil Rights movement. They are learning how to cause a fuss.
I probably should discourage them, but, really, I don’t. I don’t because they have paid for their class to start on time. I don’t because I have asked you to give me time to set up your class. I don't because I have indicated in so many non-verbal ways that your time is up and the classroom is now mine. I don’t because I am pettily offended that you don’t even apologize for staying over. You act as if it is your right.
Sure, you teach science; and we all know that science is ever so much more important than history. All of our nursing majors will need to know science. Who needs history? Well, at its most basic level, our students need history to graduate and to transfer. Our students also need to get to their other classes on time, and our students should have the full class time for which they have paid. When you stay, you delay your own class on their way to their next class, and you delay the start of my class. In your actions you say that your class is more important than not only mine, but also the ones that your students attend next in the day. This isn't fair to me, this isn't fair to the other teachers, and this isn't fair to your students, my students, or the students in the other classes who will disrupted by the arrival of late students coming from your class.
Despite what you may think, your class is not more important than all of these people and it is not so important that it should spill over into other classes. It is only the most important thing in that classroom for the fifty minutes you are given.
So, I ask this in my most southern belle, Scarlet O’Hara, syrupy sweet, polite tone: Get the hell out of my classroom!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
You failed the test. Yes, all of you.* That is, unless you consider a D passing, but I don't think that the schools to which you profess a desire to transfer will agree.
You do realize that you don't have to be here, right? Your momma doesn't force you. The state doesn't require you. You voluntarily pay to be in this classroom. You voluntarily pay your hard earned dollars, and dollars that you will be earning over the next twenty years. You could easily not pay and not attend. You'd be richer and have these three hours a week for your own use.
With that in mind, I must ask you, earnestly, why are you here?
Why do you sit in the back row when there are seats closer to the front of the room available? Why do you sit in the furthest corner, as far as possible from the other students, as far as possible from the action of the classroom? Why do you sit so low in the chair, on your back instead of your buttocks?
Why do you crouch in your clothes, jackets zipped up to the collar, the collar pulled up to your nose, your hat perched low on your forehead, only your eyes and nose visible? You resemble a turtle, peeking out of its shell.
What sense of futility makes you segregate yourself out of the classroom, out of your own education, by your seating, your clothing, your posture? Why bother to show up at all? What shred of hope brings you here, and brings you back?
What trick of language will poke a stick in your turtle butt and pop your turtle head up?
What do you need?
*Seriously, the geographical grade distribution in the classroom appears as if I assigned each row a letter from front to back.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
One of the easiest parts of writing a biography is defining your time period. The subject was born on a particular date and died on a particular date. The parameters are built in, so you know where to start chronologically, even if you delve into their genealogies and post-mortem impact.
Actually, on second thought, that’s not entirely true. For many subjects, we don’t know one or the other or even both. We don’t know exactly when Douglass was born. He himself did not and for many decades believed that he was a year older than the plantation records said that he was. Those might be off by a year or so, too. He didn’t know his exact birthdate either, a fact that he lamented, but chose February 14th for reasons ostensibly connected to his mother.
With this biography, focusing as it will on the women in Douglass’s life, the story would start with his mother. Yet, she may be less knowable than the date of Douglass’s birth. These earliest women in Douglass’s life, the enslaved women, have no voice of their own; and Douglass does not so much mediate as invent them. This is most true for his mother, the first Harriet Bailey.
Living as she did with no access to any of the tools that would allow her to insert her own voice into the historical record, Harriet Bailey's life as an enslaved woman is mediated through the two places where she can be identified. The first is in the inventory of the property of the many who enslaved her family, Aaron Anthyony. Harriet Bailey surfaces as a name only once, in the list of Anthony's slaves. She does not appear in the lists that determine how Anthony’s property was divided after his death -- the list where a younger Harriet Bailey appears and by which we see that Douglass passed from Anthony to Thomas Auld -- so she probably died between the creation of the lists. No record, including a grave, exists to confirm her passing, but Douglass consistently refers to her death as having occurred sometime in his ninth year, 1826 or 1827.
The rest of the information about Harriet Bailey's life comes from Douglass’s memories of her, as recounted in his autobiographies. In his first autobiography, the Narrative (1845), he dismisses her in a page, writing that she meant very little in his life. By the second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), her lap has become the one place where he can feel important.
In this second and more detailed account of his mother, Harriet Bailey appears as a lioness of a mother, literate and with physical features directly linking her to an African heritage. “She was tall, and finely proportioned; of deep black, glossy complexion; and had regular features, and, among the other slaves, was remarkably sedate in her manners,” he wrote. “There is in ‘Prichard’s Nattural History of Man,” the head of a figure---on page 157—the features of which so resemble those of my mother, that I often recur to it with something of the feeling which I suppose others experience when looking upon the pictures of dear departed ones.” The image to which he refers is of an Egyptian prince.
This princely woman then swoops in to rescue her son from the abuses of Aunt Katy, a woman of no blood relation, who dominated the kitchen, the enslaved children, and even her mistress. Harriet Bailey berates Katy, then offers her starving child a sweet, heart-shaped, ginger cake and the comforts of her lap where he sat, “prouder than a king upon his throne.” This was the last time that he saw his mother, but “I learned, after my mother’s death, that she could read and that she was the only one of all the slave and colored people in Tuckahoe who enjoyed that advantage.” He repeats this story, changing very few details, in his third and final autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881; expanded version, 1892).
These two – or three – versions of Harriet Bailey reveal less about Harriet Bailey the enslaved woman and mother of Frederick Douglass than they do about Douglass’s attitudes about women, women in bondage, and motherhood at the particular moments in which he wrote the account. The same can be said of Douglass’s biographers.* He and the biographers have demonstrated remarkably little curiosity about Harriet Bailey’s life, and the majority of his biographers have seldom questioned his portrayal of his mother, a problem related to the tendency to accept the autobiographies as pure, factual accounts of his life, with only limited recognition to the function that they serve as political documents and as products of memory. As a result, they have missed an opportunity to flesh out Douglass's earlier years by asking questions about the world in which his mother, and subsequently the child Douglass, lived.
These early years, the paternity of his siblings, his mother's life as a "field hand" bearing multiple children who were then removed from her care, and the blanks left for the adult Douglass to fill about his own personal history enrich our understanding of Douglass and our understanding of the lives of enslaved women.
*A caveat. I am working my way back through the scholarship on Douglass, so the biographers to which I refer are those of the book-lenghth volumes. I am compiling the scholarship on the questions that I address here, particularly in regard to enslaved woman and on the creation of the text of the autobiographies, all to be incorporated in later incarnations of the project. This here is, after all, only a blog on which I am organizing my thoughts!
Since you profess not to care what anyone thinks of you, and since you “do what I want and deal with the consequences later (usually by letting other people deal with them),” then you won’t mind or be hurt if I tell you what I really think of you.
You are not simply a narcissist, an addict, and immature. You are abusive. You create drama and cause pain on purpose. You say that you are just making yourself happy, and the drama and pain are the result of other people’s issues, but I call bullshit. You know exactly what you are doing, you know exactly when to do it to cause the most drama and to inflict the most harm, and then you make sure that you are not around for the fallout.
Our family has cut you a lot of slack for that. You see, Mom and Dad and, to a lesser extent, I operate under this narrative of your life. In this narrative, you were a sweet little boy until our younger brother was born. Then, you became the lost middle child, caught between a goody-two shoes older sister and the darling baby brother, and had to misbehave to get any attention. Because, as the middle child, you were neglected, you became vulnerable to the advances of your pedophilic coach, who raped you. You then turned to drugs, and generally acted out self-destructively into your twenties (and now, by your own admission into your thirties – almost forties). Since no one knew that you were acting out, they reacted simply to the drug use and belligerent behavior, thereby alienating you from the rest of the family. Then, when you revealed the sexual abuse, Mom, Dad and, to a lesser extent, I felt quite guilty that we had made you vulnerable to the abuser, and that we did not recognize the drug use as a reaction to the molestation.
But, you know what? I can guarantee that, for whatever factual accuracies that narrative contains, it isn’t your narrative of events. I can also guarantee that you know that this is the narrative that Mom and Dad believe, and you have manipulated it for your own amusement. Yes, “amusement,” not benefit, not agenda, but “amusement.” You seem amused by other people’s guilt, humiliation and pain. So much so that you will cause or aggravate the guilt, humiliation, and pain just for your own entertainment.
Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you just do it because you know no other way. Hurting people without remorse is not second nature to you. I beleive that it is your nature.
Do you know why I believe this? I believe this because I know more than you think I know. I know the myriad ways that you amused yourself with cruelty for your entire life, the pets that you confessed to disposing, the ways that you use access to your son to attack our parents, the valuables that you stole to pay for drugs, and the tiny sadistic acts that you have committed just because you could.
I also know that you raped our brother. I know that you did this in reaction to your own rape, but I also know that he keeps it secret because he wants to keep the peace in the family. I know that you use his silence to leverage your own position, using that narrative of victimhood to your own advantage and to absolve yourself of any consideration of anyone else. Do you know that the main reason that he does not want to have any more children is because he is afraid that his children will abuse one another the way that you abused him? Do you even find that fear tragic? Do you have no regrets?
Sure, you had a hard time in our family, some of it at my own hands. So did I. The beating and humiliations, the name-calling, the mere witnessing of the war that was our parents’ marriage: I was there, too. I also survived a gender mind-fuck that you can’t even acknowledge, much less imagine, and you participated in that mind-fuck – you still do when you teach your son to call women “bitches” and lesbians “dykes.” But, this isn’t a pissing contest on who was hurt more. We both were and we both participated. You have no moral high ground on familial pain and anger.
You see, for whatever pain you received, you returned it all and in force. Your declarations that “I do what I want and make myself happy and if somebody doesn’t like it, then that is their problem” are not the declarations of an abused person asserting healthy boundaries. This is not an attitude that you developed in reaction to your abuse. This is how you always were and how you actually are, abuse or not. In fact, you say that the abuse within or without our family has no affect on your behavior today at all. Taken with your actions, your assertions are those of a person who has no compassion. They are the assertions of an abuser.
This Christmas, as a result of the drama that you yet again caused but did not attend, I had the epiphany that my life has been filled with narcissists and addicts, going all the way back to our childhood. You were the most obvious of them, but you weren’t the only one. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that I don’t want to be around narcissists and addicts. They suck you dry, exploit you, harm you, then blame you for all of the damage that they cause. I’ve learned how to identify these narcissists and addicts; and I’ve learned to keep them out of my life or to remove them from my life.
Since your philosophy is “I will do what I want and other people will have to deal with it or not hang around me,” (you are, by your own admission, counting on them to stick around and “deal with it”) then you will fully understand that I will be taking the second option.
I don’t do this lightly. I mourn the loss of my illusions about you, and I mourn the loss of the relationship that I could have had with my nephew. I worry about his future with a father like you, and I mourn the loss of his natural sweetness, which you are crushing out of him in order to have him enact your own misogynist and homophobic fantasies.
Our accounts are settled. We are even. I forgive myself and you for the past. In the present, you are not someone that I want to be around and, as you say, “I have to make myself happy.”
P.S. I don’t send this to you, because, according to your own philosophy, you don’t care; but I had to write it, to get it out. I wish I could bear loving you, but I can't.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I almost broke down over it. I felt as if my skin were being peeled off. One student left until we were done watching it. Afterward, they all wanted to know "why?" and "how?" and mostly, "does this still go on?" and "is the Klan still doing this, acting like they did then?" They know that racism is woven into the fabric of their daily lives, but this seemed beyond their comprehension. I'm glad of that.
I thought teaching Civil Rights would be much more uplifting. It's a happy story, right? "We Shall Overcome!" People taking to the street and to the courts to demand their rights and getting the Brown decision, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. That was naive of me to think that the class would not be this upsetting. Changes have come since 1950, but still so much wrong. Every class, every topic, inevitably brings us to questions about the present.
I wonder about my role as a white woman teaching this class, teaching about Emmett Till. White female purity was the excuse for lynching; and bodies like mine became the occasion for -- and participated in -- the destruction and oppression of bodies like my students'. Today I felt as if my body were a guillotine or a gallows, a smoking gun, standing in front of the class. If I were one of the students in the class, I might hate me -- that is, the white lady teacher. Maybe not her personally, but her in general, what she represented. I would want to know why, with all of the black teachers, a white one was teaching the class.
I, as me the white lady, cannot answer that completely just yet. I am a member of the oppressor class and I am teaching the people whom my people oppressed -- whom they still oppress. How does that affect the dynamic of my students' learning? How does that affect the dynamic of me teaching? I questioned that when I began teaching online, but my physical presence was not a factor. Here, it is. Maybe just for me, but it is still a factor.
I wonder too, if in my white guilt, I focus pornographically on the bad as a tool of self-flaggellation. I feel sometimes as if showing such thing is an act of aggression, whether I mean it to be or not. I struggle with the reality of the era and the desire not to crush hope, not to make a class in Civil Rights a class about violence and defeat.
The trick here is to stay focused on the way things began to change and how they changed, to discuss strategies and tactics. With Emmett Till, to ask why this case got national attention, to ask the ways that a society cand change the perpetrators' minds. "That's the hardest part," one student said. The hardest part.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I'm way behind the news cycle. Timeliness was never my forte. This story, however, keeps haunting me:
Long story short, Waller County, Texas, where the "separate but equal" historically black college of Prairie View A&M is located, reduced the number of polling places for the primaries. This entailed removing polling booths from the college campus. The students, in protest, marched to the next nearest polling location seven miles away in order to vote.
They marched to be able to vote in the year 2008.
The fact that they marched was downright inspirational, which seems almost an inappropriate and condescending word to use in this instance. Why wouldn’t students at a historically black college in a state that perfected the all white primary during an election when a black man finally has a viable chance to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency if not the presidency itself – why wouldn’t they march when their voting booths are removed to an inconvenient location? Still, I was thrilled to see them do it and in that large a group.
At the same time – and this may be why I’m uncomfortable characterizing my reaction as “inspired” – the fact that they had to march enraged me. “What fucking century is this?” I first thought. Jim Fucking Crow is not dead, I know, but usually they cover him up a bit better than this. Then, again, that is my denial talking, the privleged armor of my white skin.
I showed this video to my Civil Rights class and my African American history class. Surprisingly (to me), they weren’t enraged. They were just inspired. People their age doing something big about injustice gave them hope. “Why would you be enraged?” they asked me. “This is business as usual.”
Right there. That’s the gap between me and them, between the experience of my history in a white skin and their history in black and brown skins. That’s my continued denial. I know, intellectually, that Jim Fucking Crow is not dead. They know for real. I have the luxury of not noticing. I try to notice. I make it my business to know by listening and hearing the testaments of racism. I make it my business to extract myself from the operation of racism and to educate about it; but I will never live on their side of it. I need to be told that every single day so that I won’t become complacent as the Nice White Lady teacher.
For the same reason that they see the removal of polling booths from a black university as “business as usual,” they are also completely galvanized by Obama’s campaign. They are registered to vote. They volunteered to be polling judges. The women in the class don’t consider themselves torn over the competition of a woman and a black man. They go with Obama. Clinton is “business as usual” to them. White skin more worthy of mistrust than a Y chromosome in this instance.
Obama came to speak at a neighboring university on the same day as my Civil Rights class. (I didn’t know about this beforehand – so much for “making it my business to know”) Half of the class didn’t attend and the other begged to leave early to see him. I let them go because that seemed much more pertinent to the course than my lecturing about early Civil Rights precedents. The lecture could wait until the next class. Obama was Civil Rights in action.
Sure, there are arguments against his being a true liberal, about his potential to be a true Civil Rights leader. These do not matter so much to my students. Call it “identity politics,” but to a class full of students who grew up in low income neighborhoods, who work full-time and go to school full-time and maybe have families to care for, who were told all of their lives that they “couldn’t,” seeing a man who looks like them run successfully, and not as a conservative (whom they flat out do not trust), gives them hope that maybe – just maybe – you can give that wiley Jim Crow another debilitating kick.
Because, ultimately, that is their concern (and mine): how do you fight those wiley and slippery manifestations of Jim Crow? How do you fight something as diffuse and prevalent as racism? They see Prairie View and they see Obama, and they get some idea.
By the way, I am just observing their reaction to Obama and Prairie View against the backdrop of other information that they have revealed to me throughout the semester. This is not meant to be an endorsement of Obama, a criticism of Clinton, a dismissal of sexism, nor a privleging of racism over any other sort of sytem of oppression and discrimination. This is just a slice in a blog post!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
The workout resolution has been going well. I've only slacked down to two times a week twice. I like to think this is why I am still healthy and not in the predicament of some vague, mononucleosis related illness as I was last year at this time. The blogging resolution, not so much. As with most other things in my circadian, seasonal rhythm -- even my whole life -- I started off strong, but wore out early.
I have no "overworked, stressed out" excuse, just the February Funk that melts into the March Malaise. This has been a pattern for my entire life, or at least as far back as high school. January begins with great energy and possibility. February and March become the closest thing to human hibernation as possible. At least this year lacked any attendant depression or feeling that my life had somehow gone terribly wrong personally or professionally. There was no frightening isolation of the Middle of Nowhere, nor deep dark winter of That Place. No discontent, just the constant desire for a nap.
Indeed, should I ever run for president, my single issue shall be a Constitutional amendment requiring nap time. I believe I could win on that alone. The only opponents might be five year olds, and they don't vote.
This year, I was wise. I anticipated the Funk and Malaise and did not over commit myself to anything. Even my plans for the Douglass book have no deadline. I can just do my job. It's about all I can manage at the moment and keep from feeling unduly taxed. This feels good.
I also decided to get out of the apartment from time to time. A few weeks ago, I went to a ballet -- at least I think it was a ballet. One of the faculty members has a daughter who dances in the company of a fairly well-known choreographer in New York. They came down to perform at one of the millions of big universities in the area, and the Faculty Mother invited us all to dinner and a performance. I went, and discovered that I'm too much the critic to be sociable very quickly. You don't critique the concept of the ballet when the hostesses daughter is in the show. I bit my tongue because, technically and intellectually, the ballet was interesting and wonderful. Emotionally? Well, let's just say that if I am supposed to buy the story that the Queen of Carthage will kill herself over a romance, I want some indication in the choreography and music that this was a soul-aching love, or at least some seriously hot sex. As it was, I admired the skill of the dancers, the interesting casting choice of placing a man in the role of the Queen and an androgynous corp of dancers, and the use of sign language in the choreography.
This week, I attended a lecture given at the Folger Shakespeare Library on their upcoming production of the Scottish play. Incidentally, I don't use the name of the play with Weird Sisters, and Banquo ghosts, and damn spots because saying the name is supposed to be bad luck. Maybe that superstition only covers the actual theater, but I had to go through a whole "exorcism" once because one actress was trying to piss off a director, so she kept saying the title and wouldn't do the little anti-curse dance that the director insisted upon. Then the director began reporting unexplained phenomena in the theater space. She blamed the actress for saying the play's title out loud and bringing "bad spirits" into the room. To rid the theater of these spirits, she made everyone in the cast do a "cleansing spell" during a full moon. I felt ridiculous, so I just play by the local rules and don't court those sorts of shenanigans. Plus, I can pretentiously imply that I was in a real production rather than an amateur, college drama club show wherein both the actress and the director were both twenty-year olds. The director, by the way, insisted that was an atheist. If so, then she was the most superstitious atheist that I ever met.
Anyway, this week I went downtown and saw this lecture by the two directors, one of which is better know as the silent half of Penn & Teller. They have conceived of the play as a horror show in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, and I am now very excited to go see it later in April. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go into the Folger, since they had moved the venue across the street to a church. Lighting did not strike when I entered, even when I laughed at the Lenten decorations that included a cloth on the pulpit depicting a halo and three nails. Yes. Three nails. Maybe it was part of a promotional package for Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," along with nail pendants?
I took pictures of this adventure. Of the Metro. Of the library. Of the Supreme Court building where I tried to catch a glimpse of Scalia sharpening his pitchfork. Of me in front of the Folger. Of the Hamlet frieze on the outside of the Folger. Of the church. Of the three nails. Now I have to figure out how to get them off of my new cell phone. I didn't take any of Teller because I thought that might be verboten. I also missed a chance to get his autograph because I felt too self-conscious of looking like a starfucker.
I just wanted to write "starfucker" because it is a funny word.
Then, tonight, I went to see a local (as in, on campus) production of Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love." What a difficult play. The actors did their damnedest; but I got the feeling that the two leads had never been in a seriously fucked up relationship wherein you feel this irrational and consuming love for the other person but you aren't even sure that you can call the emotion "love" because you also want to rip them to tiny, bloody shreds with your bare hands, and both passions keep you coming back for more, and "more" just gets worse and worse each time because you go back for either love or revenge, but the two are so enmeshed that you can't separate them. The possibility that neither of these actors had been through that speaks volumes for their sanity if not for their performances. Still, they tried, and hit the right notes on more than one occasion. Overall, a nice diversion for an evening; although it made me desperately want to take an acting class.
That's how I've been amusing myself through the February Funk and into this March Malaise. They should both wear off about Easter, at which point I will have to find other excuses.