Posts Tagged ‘wittig’

The speed of things

Yesterday I went to the Wiki meetup & met a bunch of new people and talked a little bit with friends I already knew. I ended up at a long expensive dinnery thing but didn’t mind.. and had more beer than I meant (ordered 3 oz. tasting glass; got giant glass instead, and it was tasty). I ended up staying at zond-7’s and felt a bit guilty for not driving back to Rook and Moomin as I said I was going to… But I was so zonked. And then in the middle of the night had a classic OMG I SUCK anxiety moment which usually drives me to blog, but instead I merely babbled to Zond-7 who patted me and issued useful platitudes (as I explained would be useful) and he even more usefully pointed out that I was having a regular emotional reaction to being really tired and hurting, like “free floating anxiety” and was hunting for something to attach it to, some reason. That was so clearly true, and I think I’ve told him the same thing other nights but he says it better; and it worked to make me just sigh and wait and go to sleep. Sometimes when I’m that tired I am so sick of being in my own head.

This morning I felt awesome, my leg didn’t hurt too much, sucked down some coffee, thought about poetry and computery things and politics and feminism and life in my usual vague mix. I ended up incoherently babbling to Zond-7 about the wonders of Monique Wittig and feminist plots that involve double consciousness and going insane and multiple universes, unreliable narrators, the Inferno, how it was all about valencia street, and I was beginning to branch out into Inanna’s descent and Woman on the Edge of Time, etc. (Payback for the rather intense day-long lessons in the history of javascript.) But meanwhile was also absurdly happy to be driving, parking, walking, looking at buildings and the morning and people walking to places purposefully, holding hands, the automatic motions of locking my car, ordering juice at the sidewalk juice bar, and everything was full of sunlight. It all was very ordinary in the most beautiful way. But at the same time, that quality of things happening too fast, time going a bit too fast, when I want to savour it; a problem increasingly as I get older. He was eating bits off a giant hunk of bread from the valencia whole foods, and gave me a particular almost sly scruffy look as he told the story of ben franklin sleeping behind his printing press and eating a loaf of bread. I had read him a day or so aga a bit from Diane Wakoski about poets and integrity, that 100 dollars, a bit from Greed that I mean to write about on another blog. There we were in the car, looking at each other all oblique and telepathic, thinking about those things in the early morning light.

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Busy busy listy listy

Another dull “list” post but this blog is for me too, you know… not just for YOUR entertainment! Everything that seemed daunting last night & made me want to cry — this morning is easy and I’m ripping through all the tiny details, making the annoying phone calls, paperclipping, printing, looking up of obscure information, designating beneficiaries, filling out the hideous web forms that kick you out & crash, scheduling, etc. with PERFECT EASE… i pwn bureaucracy with the power of coffee!!

School junk:
– tb shot (scheduled, Mon. 11:30)
– fingerprints (scheduled, paperwork done, mon. 1:00 stanford)
– books (ordered; still no 800 #, call the dude, need teacher editions)
– bank form (go to bank today)
– “greensheet” syllabus thing – not done!!! holy crap. finish it Wed.
– course outline – worked on it – finish on wed.
– first 2 lessons; progress made.
– fix up school email/page/crap
– make class web page and possibly a blog for later

Other misc crap to get done

– prescrips (today!) (done)
– passport (next week)
– extra passport photos for international translator/press card (find the form!)
– need to assess work clothes and probably buy pants (more dickies + jeans that fit), mend old jeans
– buy pants for Moomin or scrounge them (t’s mom?)
– bestbuy- ddr accessories for rook and nifty videocamera for me
– upload docs for Moomin’s school page
– email src about hours worked (done)
– bath blog fixup and launch
– b.u. videoblog fixup
– make actual vaguely professional looking home page for me with all blogs linked up etc

Important projects overdue:

– translations for 5fr!!!! (worked on it)
– transcript edits for T.D.!!!
– more grant deadlines coming up
– c.’s story, read it and comment
– w4 wiki organization
– work on fsf wiki, have a house party/wiki wednesday (w/ debbie? when borderlands cafe opens, would be ideal place)
– giant backlog of other projects (wittig book!)
– call Y. about her books – published yet??
– call Z.M. – published yet… goddamn it…
– send out more subs
– organize all files and zines and letters and entire life
– finish the categorization and alphabetization of all my books or fucking at least get them up on the shelves nicely and off the floor

Good job, me…. progress made on all these fronts

List of projects

– Wittig book. T. will publish it. Needs… several weeks of intense work. Will not really pay. But I’ll like having it out and done. Someone will like reading it.

– C.B. translations. I have a batch of maybe 15-20 poems of hers. Some will get published soon so I have to work on them for sure. Others seem very promising – I think people would want them. Must get in touch with her. I could very well do a complete book of hers, either selected poems or everything in “A M3dia Asta.” will she be nice? Will she like my translations? Time scale: ??? I could get a grant for this, maybe, or query a publisher, or both. (U-see-I grant? though they are snooty as hell). Other sources? Grant first, then publishers? Or the other way around? Would this project establish me better/easier as a translator? (Also, I lean towards it since it’s new and shiny and I love the project.)

– j. de ibar. book. Also would need… a month, 6 weeks, two months? I have a lot done. around 150 pages of poems. But they would all need to be gone over carefully and there are also many others not done that i’d like to do. My research into her life is okay, but not hugely thorough, but i might not need it for the press that expressed interest over a year ago that I have not followed up on.

– giant anthology. pitch it to many places? query letters. i want to keep doing research and expand it. a grant? a selection from it: maybe the cubans?

– my own work which is this enormous manuscript which I need to update. (One unfinished long poem that I would have to spend a while working on, which involves some down time along with the plain old writing.) Send this off to various places.

I would like to go to Cuba, and Argentina, and Uruguay, and Chile. Especially Cuba, to go to the libraries and look at whatever I can find and to buy books. Investigate cultural/research channels to get there? (Then, my language ability would improve and I could reapply to grad school and get a phd eventually.)

I need to get translations published here and there in journals, so I can qualify for grants, which I still don’t, because there is a particular bar of page count and over half of them must be from not-online journals.

So all those things are possibilities and they’ll all get done eventually. Which to focus on first?

OR… completely different tack. Should I instead be volunteering or interning at some techie place that I like and love? In order to try to get a job? Because none of the jobs I see seem likely to hire me without more recent actual experience.

OR… should I be getting some crap job, part time or full time? Just to have some income at all? (I lean against this because then I fuck over my long term “career” possibilities and then M. goes into squalid non-educational daycare for not a very good reason. But, then I am less parasitical, and earn social security, and maybe feel less guilty, though I would be miserable and bitter. And yet I see secretary/temp jobs come up and think, “well, then i’d get paid for something. I shouldn’t be so spoiled.” )

OR… should I be setting up as a consultant? I feel like I could do this but I’m not sure how to start. The ghost-blogging job would have been so ideal.

OR… should I be applying for rather hideous looking part-time lecturer pool jobs, in composition, that I probably won’t get…? (since they seem to want a composition certification).

feminist history, wikipedia

Q. and I have done some talking about Wikipedia and the lack of good feminist history. Is there an existing Wikimob… or swarm… to add important women (and history of feminism, too) to Wikipedia?

I have been thinking about compiling whatever knowledge I can, and organizing it, and making it social… Socialtext is coming out with a revision or a new thing that looks really good for this project and I might want to go with that instead of trying to fight on Wikipedia. I saw the fight that happened over danah boyd’s entry on there, and I don’t have the energy to fight that fight for every historical figure and Uruguayan poet from 1880 and member of the first international women’s congress and editors of the first Egyptian women’s newspaper. As an example of the bullshit level on there…. check out the “talk” page on “Women’s Rights”. Love the one who wants to merge “women’s rights” with “women’s movement”. Thanks! Because, you know, they’re the same thing and there’s only one women’s movement”!

Oh yeah, I really want to go write an article on there now…

A few years ago when I went back to Everything2 (which I’d been on in what… 1999? 2000?) I had to fight like mad over adding a short biographical entry which was reverted right out to the morgue, or limbo, or whatever it was called… with the same sort of argument on significance. So I stopped that project.

As I consider this, I am realizing what a chilling effect those reversions and refusals and trashings have. On so many people who are much less determined than I am.

I could take the data from my thesis research and from the Wittig project and whatever feminist encyclopedia sort of books I have lying around the house, and have a very nice beginning.

It needs to be a wiki and needs easy tagging.

My ideal tool would be wiki-ish, but would be like a social network. I want each person in the encyclopedia to have a friendster-y page, with links to other people, but the ability to define their relationships…. timeline…. a biographical tool that is a social network!

I do not have the techie skills to build this tool… Think how popular this would be. It would be huge. It would not be all about academics , though I would like them to come. It would also be every kid on the planet entering info on their own personal heroes. myspace has bands. My vision uses this fan model, where the motivation for people to be on the site is to declare their fandom — because it is part of their identity. But, in the process, becasue of the beautiful structure of this product…. History, biography, and the relationships between people over the courses of their lives would be filled in, collectively. How awesome it could be to tag up all of history! Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with hyperlinks and that’s also very beautiful, but this coudl be something different and very compelling.

Who will build it… who would fund it… with me on the team?

I don’t even care if someone else does it. Take it and run. As long as you don’t build it all wrong and ugly and clumsy.

BlogHer Day Two: Feminism BOF

Jan Marie, Edelman. Strategy, new media.
Logan Levkoff – Sexologist – Myspace campaign to get young women to talk about sexuality. Give a voice to women, empowered to speak.
Brittney – feminist videoblogs, Hollaback Boston
Suzanne – facilitator of online communities. One day saw something about waxing or shaving, an ad on the subway. Started CUSS, Campaign for Unshaved Snatch and
other rants
. Feminist things that bother me. Personal stories, random things. I’m the contributing editor for Feminism and gender at the BlogHer website.

Melinda: One of them! (laughs)

Suzanne. Right, co-editor – whoops!

Skye: From Austin TX, personal blog, group blog about tx politics. Also one on feminist and anti-racist analysis of action movies!

Carrie – Lonestar – Also blog for href=>Texas NOW. Goal to get younger women invovled in grass roots activism. This is my first blog event.

Amy Anderson . Sheri and I blog at mamazine…. literary webzine for mothers. We’re 35, we came of age asfeminists, very pro-choice. We got married, had kids, we still feel the same but we look like we have minivans, etc sometimes it felt as if the world was closing in. We
want our external world to match up with our feminist selves.

Sheri – it’s important to talk about motherhood and pregnancy – goal is to get that out there on mamazine.

Candace – [This breaks my browser in Firefox b/c of Flash – Liz] Went back to school, women’s studies, single mom. Feminist action groups, Actiongirls in Toronto – I help them with technology.

Melinda, Personal blog: Sour Duck. Also one of the Contributing Editors for Feminism & Gender for the BlogHer website. Hoping to talk about 2 things in the feminist blogosphere recently: the schism
between the women of color and white feminists. And the recent so-called “blowjob wars”, which were a joke, because they got a lot of coverage and were used by anti-feminists to make feminism look
ridiculous. We’ve got a white group here, correct me if I’m wrong (looking around at group)…

I don’t know if others want to discuss anything else but I thought I’d put that out there.

Ayse – Arse Poetica. Personal blog. Rants on politics.

Jan Marie says there weren’t many sisters [of color] in the early feminist movement… she’s from (somewhere in Africa) and considers herself half black… freckles count.

[Okay: a big editorial WTF. Can I just say right here that I consider Jan Marie’s statements to be incredibly messed up. She is wrong about feminist history and women of color, number one. And I strongly object to her calling herself half black because she lived in Africa and has freckles. Freckles. You heard me. It was truly embarrassing. So, one thing I came out of this discussion with, is the question of why I didn’t say anything directly, right then. I had no idea how to explain why it is so wrong. That is something I need to practice. I did not want to be rude to Jan Marie, but I would rather be rude to Jan Marie than to be rude to every black woman not in the room, which is the effect of silence. – Liz ]

Liz – We could use chronology of what’s getting talked about in the feminist blogospheres. Anyway, crucial to make sure your info feed is not all white. Start out with reading some LJ ap_racism, sex_and_race. Add people of color to your blogroll. [Try Black Bloggin as a starting point.] Read.

Mamazine – most of our submissions are from white middle class women… the ones we want to hear from [don’t send stuff].

Someone else – Avoiding condecension. but, what about the digital divide. Videoblogging empowering. But if you’re struggling to survive… how are you going to be concerned with videoblogging.

Someone else – Not that we’re assuming all people of color are poor, here.

Liz – one thing people said on ap_racism – find an organization run by people of color and find out what help you can provide and not making a lot of noise about it. That is a good way to be an ally.

Carrie – my role was to sit my white ass down and listen. I’m trying to get around the problem of speaking for others. Asking if it’s okay to share personal stories. I do have access to all this privilege,
what I can do is use that access to share what I’ve learned in organizing spaces.

Skye – yeah I made an effort last year after Blogher when i realized everybody on my blogroll was white… and so i tried to make my reading habits more diverse. What I’ve noticed, a lot of times I have
to just shut up. Read the piece, think about it, sit with it, not necessary respond right away. I notice I don’t blog it as much as other things, it’s difficult for me. I don’t spend as much time
blogging about articles I read at blackademic that make me really think, it’s just harder, i’m still thinking through it. Doing the links doing the increased visibility. Hmmm.

Carrie – I did the same thing, with my LJ and rss feed, etc. and i honestly think it will help. and my readers who are mostly my same demographic so “it’s just the default for us so we dont’ have to think
about it. so we have to make an effort to think about it.” whack that consciousness into some white people, pay attention to some people who aren’t just like you. That is something to take away from this…

Melinda: blow job wars. It exposes feminism to ridicule.

Someone: Women of color just being like “why are you wasting your time talking about this?”

Carrie: Mad about blow job wars. Denigrating for someone to judge my loving relationship with my sweet feminist boy… in my bedroom! It’s personally hurtful.

Liz: Twisty was pushing it to an extreme… [Liz becomes a twisty faster apologist] It’s actually important to talk about. People’s extreme defensive reactions show there’s something interesting going on that we need to talk about. A hard conversation. It does get personal. Andrea Dworkin… [Monique Wittig]… issues of sex when there is huge power inequality. Hard to look at that. But productive. Sit with it, try not to be defensive personally and do the political analysis

Logan: When I talk with teenage girls, they’re all giving blow jobs but it’s not reciprocal and they don’t masturbate, they think that masturbating is disgusting. That’s just wrong. The culture of it *is*
about subservience, and service to men. This girl said to me, I have a lot of control and power when I’m giving a blow job. This particular 16 year old girl had no power and control in her actual
life situation. . .

Jan Marie: The girls, from the waist down, it’s like they don’t exist.

Suzanne: Men… do they wax their balls? prettified, de-smelled, whatever.

Carrie: Producing the Vagina Monologue for V-day. It starts the conversation.

Jan Marie: What is feminism?

Liz: Well, feminisms, trend is to talk a bunch about how there are different kinds of feminisms…

– More on the digital divide

– [I think I said something about the importance of learning how to stop men from hijacking discussions]
[There was lots more but I stopped taking notes]

[I was especially happy to meet Carrie and Skye from Texas. And I’m a big admirer of Hollaback…. Wow! I think it’s a great thing. Later in the pool I talked more with Candace about Actiongirls Toronto and
was telling her about Sarah Dyer’s comic book “Action Girl”. . . she was super interesting to talk with… and I also thought Logan’s research/activism in Myspace sounded great. ]

[We didn’t go super deep in this discussion but we started a few threads going. And we also mentioned at some point how it was important just that we all see each other in the same room, i.e. being aware that we were all interested in identifying ourselves as feminists. For future conversations.]

[I wished for a whiteboard (as I did so often in the entire Blogher conference) so we could put up brainstormed points for discussion, which I think is crucial. The introduce-around is also good but doesn’t pull out diverse entry points to conversation.]

done and to do

* deal with sudden burst of Láadan – related email (some work done)
* add link in othermag blog archive (done)
* do literary translator interview post that i promised… a couple of weeks late (DONE yay)

Yeep. 1pm already. you see how I am overwhelmed.

Need to

– send out poetry
– send out all the translations from my thesis
– put together manuscripts & send out. I have four! arrrgh.
– translate more poems
– work on Wittig book
– read a lot about langston hughes and gabriela mistral for panel in the fall
– read and blog more for blogher latin america
– contribute to carnival of blog translation, which i neglected for my thesis.
– review “Gormglaith” for real.
– start blog consulting and educating-the-educators business

Not to mention my own poetry, which chugs along in bits and pieces.

So, I need work on my own stuff and I’m freaking a little bit that I’m overcommitted as an organizy-person in so many places. It is all starting to feel like work that I will never get paid for. But I am sticking with the attempts at paid blogging. People have been pointing out to me for the last few years that with the energy I put into blogging I could be developing some kind of real career as a paid freelance article writer. Well… okay… but instead I kept on blogging and writing things that will never make me a cent.


Such a cliche but I will keep on doing what I love to do, and see what happens. But, need to beware of focusing way too much on other people and not enough on my own work — as usual, getting it out into the world is the biggest hurdle. I write it and then maybe read it somewhere and then it just sits.

goal: 50 rejection letters by end of summer (which surely will result in many acceptances since I send out maybe 4 or 5 things a year and they nearly all get published.)

desperate wish

I must, must, must have the book “Ensayo de un diccionario de mujeres célebres” by Sáinz de Robles. Must….

They have it in the Mission library but the only copy online right now is a bazillion dollars and must be shipped from Spain.

It’s a huge encyclopedia of famous women… with pictures… and is just the right sort of thing that gives a base of “what some random highly educated feministy sort of girl, spanish-speaking, in the early to mid 20th century, would have known of as famous women throughout history.” Perfect for this, and the Wittig project too in a way. (Though I need the French equivalent.)

Someday I will be in Buenos Aires and will make all the used bookstore owners very happy.

wordplay and allegory

I’m already halfway through “The Euguelion” and am loving it! It has much homage to Wittig, lots of wordplay and 70s feminism, very fierce and hard-hitting. It certainly belongs on the list of feminist science fiction classics! I’ll be typing up excerpts and musing upon it for a few days.

And what a surprise — I opened it thinking “Montreal – it’s from ide_cyan.” and then the book was translated by Howard S. and I know him from translator-world… He and Phyllis are always so kind to me, with an obvious deep reservoir of amusement that I don’t mind at all, because it’s the nice sort of amusement, a bit affectionate or as if I remind them of someone. Very “young grasshopper”. (And they always seem very much a Them.) I was very happy to read the intro by Howard on how he likes best to translate feminist works… no wonder…

I like the translation, very much in the spirit of SJL, making the wordplay anew with whatever it takes to do so. Not that I have the French, but it’s totally clear!

Oh it’s fierce and nasty! The Forest of Squonk! The Massacre of the Paramecia! amazing…

I feel so lucky that people bring books to my attention that are exactly what I wish I knew! The reservoir never runs dry. Thanks, Ide!

libraries and cafes

Natural haunt of badgers!

I’m in the overly hip cafe again. They make your latte so that there’s a sort of leafy tree-like swirly pattern in the foam. Damn, that’s cool. And it lasts the whole time you’re drinking it. Everyone in here is exceedingly decorative. Sometimes on Valencia St. I see everything with the eyes of having read Wittig’s Across the Acheron and it seems larger than life. I am in a random circle of hell or limbo or paradise…

The 24th and Mission library did not fail me. I got a ton of info and worked hard in there. And xeroxed this article “Sexism in Anthologies” which I’m translating from Spanish to English because it’s actually super cool and sort of funny. It’s from 1978, by Beth Miller, and possibly it’s been translated already but I can’t find it. It’s a great article about tokenism in anthologies and the dreaded 1 in 10 ratio! at some point she says that one reason certain decades/anthologies are so empty of women poets is that the literary scene in Mexico was dominated by gay men. I guess implying that gay men are more machista or misogynist than straight men; she doesn’t explore the idea but tosses it out there casually…

I have thought of making some charts of the ratio of women to men in anthologies – it would make a nice spreadsheet; and I’d like to have nice charts of which women were the tokens in which countries/decades/specific anthologies. Oh, data, how I love thee! Think how nice it would be as something like that baby name project, dynamic and clickable or mouse-overable.

sex clubs are the only way, really

Everyone should read Jill from Feministe’s critique of the critiques of Nick Kiddle’s post about this situation where she was almost raped. She posted about it, and posted again, and the comments got completely fucking out of hand insane. Jill took the rape apologists apart, a little… It pisses me off SO HARD that people are apologists like that. And then it happened again in the comments to Jill’s post and thank god for the tough-ass feminists who speak up on there. I started snorting and cheering at Amanda’s comment:

I feel compelled to point out, as I have one million times before, that if the victim-blamers are sincere about helping women reduce risk, they would encourage women to go to sex clubs and sleep around and refrain from going on dates or entering relationships. Most male-on-female violence is in a dating/relationship context, not casual sex.

I feel compelled to point out, as I have one million times before, that Amanda kicks ass and I love her madly! She cuts right through all bullshit like a stroke of lightning! What seems clear and logical to me but inexplicably to almost no one else, she explains with laserbeam perfection. Always witty! Always bitchy as fuck!

The horribleness in the comments threads here and elsewhere provide an excellent feminist education and will save you from any possibility of death by low blood pressure. Feeling listless? That shit is like a blowtorch to the ass, or smelling salts. I need to go blow something up now, I’m so pissed off. And then you get just that little bit of sweet relief from people like Lauren, Arjet, Linnet, Lindsay, Arwen, ginmar, and the other people on there who are not afraid to say, “Bullshit!” and give a smackdown.

What Liza said ticks me off hugely too. Yes, it’s scarier when violence of any kind is institutionalized and are directly state-sponsored. But no, that isn’t somehow “more” rape than other kinds of rape, although it’s more horrible and scary. And in fact I would go way further in the other direction and say that the other kinds of rape are evidence of terrible and systematic oppression unacknowledged.


I could say so much. Do you ever just get incredibly alienated by all this? Do you share the depths of my rage, here?

I suspect that if I went around for a week or two and got everyone I normally speak with to read these posts and their comments, and I saw how they responded, and they saw how I responded, I would end up with only about 5 people I could bear to speak to. Fierce, revolutionary, gun-toting lesbian separatism would not be enough. Of course, this is why we almost never have significant moral or political conversations, because we risk finding out that everyone we know is a zombie pod-person from another planet. I can’t talk to most people when I’m in this state of mind.

I think it’s a problem of double consciousness: on one level, I know and love individuals, and act according to all that, but on another, I am perceiving this other stuff like class systems and patriarchy and that stuff can’t be separated out. It exists simultaneously. It’s all “true”. Once you have that kind of consciousness, well, once you have it you can’t turn it off.

I was just trying to persuade myself that I should turn to some book of deep spiritual comfort of some sort but then I realized it would probably be “The Wanderground” and not Seneca or the Bhagavad Gita. Actually you know what else is – Across the Acheron by Monique Wittig.

It’s a bad bad night over here at Badgerholm as I tailspin right out of my own ability to chirk up.

Maybe the B.G. after all. My other favorite book for this alienation is the Pancatantra. The fucked-upness of everything is perfectly represented by the snarling backbiting lying courtiers. And the antidotes are presented clearly – if it comes to war, then behave like the crows and owls. If it doesn’t, and it shouldn’t, then you should behave like the animals that swear fast friendship with each other and help the other animals in distress and develop trust. Right? Oh, god, I wish someone understood what the hell I’m talking about. Maybe I need to write the modern feminist Pancatantra.

Hmm. Hmmmmmm! There’s a thought!