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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Some people have asked me why I have returned to my blog. It's because I am sick of Facebook and only go on now once or twice, morning and evening, to post and check. It is a big time sink and, though I like keeping up on things, I need a place to write, as I begin to be a writer again. I am, for now, done with teaching. The university where I teach is changing so fast, and so much, that I feel a bit like an anachronism. I've never been good with computers and the new grading program at State is very hard to deal with. I've had more and more students who just seem, for various reasons, like denizens of some other planet where nothing happens and everyone and everything is a bit homogenous. It's like Rothke's "Dolor":

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplicaton of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.

I'm done with teaching how to write sentences, pushing so hard to help my students truly see, think for themselves, question. I fear for this generation and those to come. I think the parents of these students, and the students themselves, are doing the best they can, but the sheer entitlement sucks, big time(one student turned in a couple of papers tonight about an hour before the grade deadline, and he asked if he could get an A minus as a grade). That sense of entitlement is more rampant than it was ten years ago when I started teaching at the university level.

My list of things to do as a writer is beginning to grow. One is to create a new local critique group, possibly women-only because it's hard (for all genders) to write about certain subjects in a mixed group; I have at least two people who are very interested in such a thing and motivated to help get this together. There was a time I hosted and recruited writers for readings at the old Book Bank cafe and bookstore in Scotts Valley; at some point, somewhere, I want to do this again. Not til I am well, of course, but the dreams and hopes are coming to me.

And of course, singing and in tandem, playing the piano again. At the solstice celebration (which was the most fun party I have been to in an awfully long time) the Voice Weavers had their first concert and everyone was blown away by us. When we were warming up, one of the second sopranos (who is a gentle, shy woman with a warrior in her eyes) told me that I had a beautiful singing voice. This was the compliment I had really, in my secret heart, longed for. I really shouldn't weigh my esteem about my singing voice, or anything else, on compliments, but it meant so much. I also taught the crowd how to sing "Down in the River to Pray" from O Brother, Where Art Thou. I could not imagine
myself doing that a year ago. Whenever a person finds their authentic voice, the one that gets crushed by the world, and work, and all that rat race stuff, I think miracles can really happen to a person. I believe in my deep heart that some are coming true for me.