Thursday, May 14, 2015

Update, etc. I've been busy with academic tasks, and as this blog has been inching towards, just not that into writing about things out there in the world. Instead I've been writing for classes and projects and the tiny audience of people that I work with here. On Friday, tomorrow, I defend my prospectus, and assuming it will go well (I think it will go well) I will move into the territory of ABD: "all done but the dissertation." For some reason I find this acronym glamorous and cool. ABD, for me, means that I have two years of funding to do a dissertation and find a job. This semester has been an unusual semester in that I was only taking one class, "Contemporary English" where I was basically learning a kind of system for describing English. Not exactly grammar, but something like it, "descriptive" in the sense that it's a way to describe how sentences or phrases or words work together. This is opposed to "prescriptive" in that it's not a system for generating correct language. Regardless, one thing I was doing for this class was piloting a little research study about the influence of writing workshops on a poet's poems, and was using this approach to describing language along with something called corpus stylistics to measure and discuss how a writing workshop impacts the linguistics features of poetry. The other day I was talking with a friend who writes fiction, and we were talking about losing one's ability to write, and I told here that I truly believe that the work I am doing destroys my ability to write poetry.

So, academicing and teaching, the ESL class for international teaching assistants as I had taught in the Fall plus as well as a class at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation about podcasting that I put together to keep in touch with my composition chops. It was fun teaching high school age kids. I had no idea! Academicing, teaching, and then researching and preparing to write my prospectus, which I wrote in a big rush last week so that I could get it defended before the summer starts (the prospectus is the document necessary for committee approval, a kind of plan for the dissertation / first chapter of the dissertation, before official work on the dissertation can start). Why the rush? Well, because I need to get started laying the logistic ground work, including Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, to start gathering data in the fall. And because I want to finish the story that I started writing a couple years ago and need some time to do so. And I try to detox over the summer in terms of academic work. And because next Wednesday I'm going away to meditate for ten days which also means that I will come back really happy, slightly brainwashed, and clear of the kind of energy that propels people to write long arguments. That is to say, I wanted to get the prospectus done so that I can work on other things, including my mental and physical health. Oh, and I also need to teach this summer semester which starts on Monday.

Yeah. Indiana. It's nice out. It's quiet and I'm sitting in my bedroom where I've recently moved my desk. Kamal has been staying in my office for the last week or so for reasons too complicated and boring to explain here but it's been nice to have another person around to chat with. Now I'm going to get on with preparing a very short presentation for tomorrow, look into plane tickets to California, and perform some other errand like tasks including fixing the sweet little orientalish lamp whose switch has broken. Before I go however, here are some old Anne Carson poems from the book Short Talks. I hope you are well. Oh, and also, if you happen to think of me during the next couple weeks when I'm away sitting in a dimly lit room for hours and hours on end, trust that I am also thinking of you.

Short Talk On Disappointments In Music

Prokofiev was ill and could not attend the performance of his First Piano Sonata played by somebody else. He listened to it on the telephone.
Short Talk On Orchids

We live by tunneling for we are people buried alive. To me, the tunnels you make will seem strangely aimless, uprooted orchids. But the fragrance is undying. A Little Boy has run away from Amherst a few Days ago, writes Emily Dickinson in a letter of 1883, and when asked where he was going replied, Vermont or Asia.
Short Talk On Where To Travel

I went traveling to a wreck of a place. There were three gates standing ajar and a fence that broke off. It was not the wreck of anything else in particular. A place came there and crashed. After that it remained the wreck of a place. Light fell on it.