Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cryptic Album (and in the end, it's all about why I want to go back to school)

Side A
1. Down with some kind of illness (a kind of flu it seems), and you wonder why your health is suffering, when you've downshifted. But let's face it: Just because you've said no to relatively big bucks and are doing work for charity, mostly, does not mean you aren't under stress. There are deadlines to meet and toxic people to deal with.

2. You've been losing sleep, beating story deadlines amid everything else. Who knew fiction could be hazardous to your health?

3. Yes, there are a number of things that have made you sad these past few days. Just because you have to weather them doesn't mean they don't cause you stress.

4. The weather's been horrible.

Side B
1. Lately I've been spending time with my daughter at her school. She's become a bit bigger now, and isn't as sick as she used to be. When I fetched her today, I saw a few high school girls resting after basketball practice, so beautiful in their languid youthfulness. And for a little while I entertained the thought that my daughter would become like these beautiful creatures one day, one day soon.

2. I did not have the luxury of imagining that, all those years since the day she was born. But now, I wonder if it is good, this new ability to imagine, this pleasure, this hope.

3. One of the things that has saddened me these past few days relates to thinking and doing. Or at least the discourse proceeds as though these things were binary opposites and mutually exclusive from each other. I've been turning over, in my mind: What is the response that ought to be given by someone who finds this issue important? I find I don't have the words yet,the considered opinion to say anything more than (at this point): Thought is important; indeed, one must always think about what one does and does not do, and why. And the funny thing is: I cannot separate the act-of-doing from the act-of-thinking.

(I recognize this is probably because of my particular background and history. And that I might be using words (i.e., "thinking") and categories that mean other things in other contexts (or the context in which the term is used in a particular discourse.  I hate that communication risks miscommunication. But it is what it is.)

4. The reason why I intend to go back to school (now that I can put myself and my daughter through school) is that I want the time and psychic space to think about the things that interest, and are important to me. I wonder whether there are new ways to see and talk about establishment, which, truth to tell, intimidated my younger self. There are questions about nation and the self, and the act of doing-that-thing-that-is-the-subject-of-this-discourse, and how they all can come together and help us all imagine a collective future that is different from the stock images that hold us in thrall.

For example: DAMASO!

Isn't there a better way of imagining/thinking about THAT issue?

And maybe I am changing the course of my life partly because I feel that the field where I was (still am) operates on the basis of precedent--what has gone before; things are more rigid there, even when one deals in "reform".  The field has gifted me with plenty, including, I must say, the discipline to think things through (and to edit well, once comments are given).

But I want to work more closely with imagination and thought; to become better skilled at thinking, and (hopefully) the act of imaginative writing. Not that there's any assurance that the world will become a better place because of these attempts. I'm not that great a thinker to begin with, anyhow. ("You're a fuzzy thinker," my labor law professor once told me. Yes, "fuzzy", not "fussy"; Or, as my writing teacher told me, "nagsusulat-kutob"--the writing's intuitive, rather than clean and logical; and I've always wondered whether that, to this particular teacher, was a good thing.)

5. But what matters is what one does to fulfill the project one is given. And one's project is not necessarily another's. There was a beautiful story that was taken up during the first LitCritters' session I'd attended, and it pretty much describes how I see the situation:

"As you see I do not, as I see, you disdain. It is big enough."

6. There's more to say, but I'm afraid I speak from a different context, one that relates to the concerns of a certain age, and, well, having a child (which changes the way you see life completely, I now realize). For the most part, I've been an outsider. And an outsider's opinion rarely matters anyway.

7.  I hope I get well soon. I don't like it much when I ramble.

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