Monday, November 10, 2008

Choices A) -- C)

I am struggling with a) trying to recognize feelings of entitlement, b) deciding how big the spectrum of selfishness-to-dream-seeking is (and where I am on its sliding scale), and c) gettin' some perspective for myself.

I'm now on a one-day-a-week writing schedule, weekends mostly. This is frustrating, mainly because I'm choosing to make it so. I don't seem to be the type that is able to muster the mental energy to keep plugging away at a poem draft after I get home in the evening. My fault, yes.

When can we be entitled to carve out a little writerly life for ourselves? Am I supposed to even use that word? Was this time back in MFA times? Oops, did I hope it could magically last a little longer? Why is rent so expensive? Why did I pay for renter's insurance? Why do I only do my grocery shopping at Aldi every other week? Is "entitlement" just a word people who are naturally predisposed to feel like they are entitled use? Am I one of those people?

I can't help but decide that I should be selfish. This feeling is most pronounced when I'm at work using the letter and envelope printing functions in Word to address and send 25 letters of recommendation at a time for student(s) applying to Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Cornell et al. Same for those times when I've got someone banging down the door of the office, a stack of invoices, and someone on the phone.

Wait-- I'm in this temp position only through December. Where's the perspective? Really--I'm bummed about 6 stinking, measly, tiny weeks? Is that the entitlement creeping in? Dammit. I've been in school since I was four. Now I'm out of school. This is its own entitlement, I see. How fortunate I have been to work since I was 16--in retail, for federal work study, in business offices-- when each and every opportunity was for extra cash & the promise it'd be over when the summer/winter/semester was over.


But more importantly,

Anne Carson is dynamite in person. A performance artist. For this, I am content.

As part of the Chicago Humanities Festival two weekends past I attended Anne Carson's performance of her new stellar prosey-verse project Casandra Floatcan. Her reading was complimented by the projection of slides of the work of architect Gordon Matta-Clark (who made some holes, split some staircases), speechless volunteers walking stage left-right and back again with prints of same slides, and even a house constructed there on stage out of dowel rods. The verse dealt with the difficulty to prophecy (see Casandra of Greek mythology) and, well, prophecy (see architect who cut holes in buildings, for goodness sake). Also, a meditation on what it means to "float"; the fluidity of time/space/barrier.

Anne spoke quietly during her Q&A, a change from her confident tone during the reading. She asked for input from her collaborators around the stage, too, when she felt she might not be able to adequately answer a question alone. She commented on the shift in academia: how she feels that what was once a pronounced divide between genders (or, inequality) is no longer evident (or very reduced).

All in all, a fantastic performance.

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