Process Letter to My Advisor 3.3March 21, 2008
Wow, this long critical paper was really hard… I can’t tell you how much of a weight has been lifted now that I have a complete draft finished. How have you been? I have to confess I’m a little delirious at the moment and just happy to get this packet out the door. First let me apologize. There are no annotations in this packet. I couldn’t pull it off. Seriously. But let me reassure you that this paper took EVERY moment of this packet period and then some. All of my reading has been so closely tied with this paper that I also have a sense of “what more can I say about them right now.” It’s like ten annotations thrown into one immense annotation, but I’ll find a fresh angle to approach them for annotations. I can send double next time if you want. I have the notes for the annotations laid out, but three days ago noticed a large structural problem with my paper and resolved to undertake a COMPLETE rewrite. Three long days and late nights later, here is an entirely rewritten paper that hopefully is vastly improved.
Long critical work is very difficult for me. I had a really hard time getting out of my own way. I had to repeatedly go back and retranslate passages, because things I thought were very clear were suddenly clumsy and too wordy and disjointed. I have an easier time with the 8-10 page critical paper. I think a big part of it was a mental block. 20 pages? It can’t be done! Now that this draft is done I think I could do it again easier. So maybe I learned something?
My subject is organized around Batchelor’s Chromophobia and I look at REMIX Color and Light at Albright-Knox (and to a minor degree Color Chart at MoMA). Both shows use Batchelor’s ideas as a jumping off point. I then looked at color and jewels as metaphor in Malouf’s An Imaginary Life, Wilde’s The Happy Prince, and Levin’s The Prince Who Was Made Entirely of Precious Stones.
I recently finished Hickey’s Air Guitar and Batchelor’s Chromophobia, which both have a strong sense of the writer engaged and actively thinking through their subject. A lot of the critical work I’ve read recently feels like it’s simply ripping through it’s subject, but both of these writers have a strong sense of adding something and enjoying their subject. They also have a strong sense of the personal in the work. This paper is a positive response to elements I saw in their writing. My critical work has always been more straightforward, or, well critical papery. This paper is a deliberate attempt to bring elements of personal essay into my critical work. Why is this so difficult? I’m complaining too much, but can I, daresay, that I think, that I… actually enjoyed it.
So on to business. Thanks for the feedback on my manuscript. Sorry to have sent you too much. I knew I was doing it at the time. I just needed to push through and feel like I was making some progress. I was so bogged down in the annotations last semester (3-6 each packet) and was just getting my sea legs first semester. I just need to feel I’m making progress and making the manuscript a priority. That’s why your ideas for my manuscript are so good. Thanks. Oh and thanks for telling me when I need to go into the details and story more. That helps. I think the stalking the dad (on some level) works and sort of resolves a number of issues elsewhere in the story (a lot of the “why?”). At first I wasn’t absolutely sold, but have been playing around with some ideas. I have a dad story that can sort of set that up. It might even become a new chapter one (depending on how it goes) or it might be the new beginning of the first chapter, so we’ll see.
I’ve also been trying to piece together a teaching practicum. I think I talked to you about trying to do a queer fiction class at the LGBT center here, but the people have been absolute flakes… I think if they are this bad now, the class probably has little chance of coming to fruition. I had a backup plan to do something about writing for the film/media art center here where I’d teach about durational and time-based work. Writing about time-based media and writing as time-based… but I’m not sure if that will pan out (they haven’t gotten back to me either). Did I ever tell you about my Tollbooth Gallery Project? It fits in with that. The sad thing is I was teaching film, video, new media, and screenwriting full time at an art high school up until last semester. My screenwriting class was well over 80 hours of class time and would have easily fulfilled the practicum. Oh well, c’est la vie. If I was still on the west coast I could track down some of my star students from that class and teach them another intensive, building on what they did there!
I actually had a new idea the other day. Some survey just came out in the Buffalo schools with the statistic that something ridiculous like 20% of Buffalo’s population is illiterate… 20%? Wow. There’s a big literacy resource center near where I live that is always looking for reading tutors and literacy volunteers. What do you think of the idea of trying to go with them to work with several people as a class and do something with reading and some basic creative writing? It seems like maybe I should give the town what it actually needs instead of all my hoity toity artines? I mean I’ve already designed classes, created study plans, and syllabi for teaching in the past, so this might give me a chance to do something new for the practicum and fill a need? Any ideas?