Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I've been under attack for the past few days - apparently from my own body. I've been struggling with an intense malaise (that's what I've chosen to call it). It is, in all likelihood, only a mild cold. I'm lucky to get away with such mild congestion. Everyone else is sicker than I am. But my body has been aching for days; if I spend too much time out of bed I feel like I'm going to die. But I'm not quite sick enough to justify skipping classes or meetings or whathaveyou.

This malaise has been making me rethink my go-go-go attitude. I am starting to think that I should chill out even when I do feel better, take more time for baking cookies, seeing friends, laying in bed, knitting, perhaps even reading something that is NOT assigned! It's such a tough balance though. Some days the thought of time off seems reasonable. Others days, it seems impossible. Plus, I do enjoy being busy, for the most part. I guess I just want to be busy for the right reasons.

My capstone class continues to confound me. My first paper is due in a week and I don't even know how to format it. I had a chat with the professor yesterday about good and bad kinds of discomfort. That class has been shaking my new-found confidence and sense of self worth - to me, that seems like bad discomfort. I told her that everyone was incredibly anxious and uptight in that class because we all thing that we have to suddenly transform ourselves into "smart people" to get through a senior seminar alive, when really we all just wanted to loosen up but didn't know how. I wasn't the only one to raise this issue, it turns out. So, yesterday during class we all went out and sat on the grass. We talked and the prof said, "Really guys, don't worry about the grades, the institution, the way you are supposed to think, and definitely don't worry about getting the right answer. This book we are reading simply won't tolerate that."

I think we're getting somewhere. In the soft afternoon light of the quad, I seemed to see my classmates in a new way. Everyone looked more relaxed, more vulnerable, more like how I felt and I realized that we are NOT competing in this class, we are all in the big scary, messy boat together (even that guy who reads Derrida for kicks and giggles, and I'm liking that guy more and more). I realized that we are being called to be uncomfortable together, which I suppose makes me feel a little better about all this unsettling postmodern business.

Writing that damn paper is still nerve wracking, but oh well.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


"And so, for me, the only fiction that still means something today is the kind of fiction that tries to explore the possibilities of fiction beyond its own limitations; the kind of fiction that challenges the tradition that governs it;the kind of fiction that constantly renews our faith in man's intelligence and imagination rather than man's distorted view of reality; the kind of fiction that reveals man's playful irrationality rather than his righteous rationality."
- Raymond Federman

A bit of reflective writing a did for my professor (I'm taking a senior seminar on "House of Leaves"):

I feel like my thinking quickly spirals out of control and loses focus when I grapple with postmodern ideas and texts. When reading House of Leaves, I still wanted meaning, strove to find meaning. I can’t get out of the goal-oriented philosophy of the classroom to accept that what I get out of House of Leaves may be something totally different than I expect or want. I feel like I’ll never “get” House of Leaves and I’m struggling with that fact. The fact that “getting it” may not be the point. Right now, one of my biggest struggles is understanding how to enact or apply (as a student/writer/artist/person) postmodern theory and the issues inherent in House of Leaves because they blow apart all my assumptions about meaning and communication.

I have this feeling that I’m right on the edge of comprehending something important, even if part of that means NOT comprehending. In my ENG 200 class (which seems a long time ago now), I hit a point on day in class when I realized, suddenly, that things were not as I’d always assumed and that the question of right/wrong was far more complex than I realized in high school. The memory of that moment is still very strong; it was a kind of intellectual vertigo that opened up a new way of thinking. I feel like I’m hovering near the edge of that again, only with a new and different realization.

... Postmodernism and I have a complicated relationship.