Oct. 23rd, 2003

Sometimes I am torn in my journalling between writing about what's happened and what's been on my mind. Prefer to write about what's on my mind, though it is more difficult.

Am composing the proposal for my African American Autobiography research paper. I have about two hours to pull it together, and I am trying to remember Dr. Kerns' advice: Focus. Focus. Focus and I have been eyeing each other from afar for many years now, but have yet to make one another's acquaintance. {Is that sentence grammatically correct?}

I have one of those leap-frogging minds, drawn to tangents.

Last night's Love and Sexuality class was extremely insightful. I feel the class is too big, though. Several people dominate the conversation. That normally doesn't bother me, but I am bothered when people don't raise their hands before speaking in a class of that size (21 or so). These same people don't even look around at the other students to see if others have had their hand up for a long time, politely waiting their turn to speak. Dr. D talked a bit too much, but some of what he said was like a lightning bolt.

I acted oddly in class last night; don't know why. Had an outburst in which I declared I was "unconvinced" that there was an excess in Werther; it wasn't until after I'd made my case that I realized it was really a moot point because I'd been focusing on "excess" as merely being MORE of a thing versus TOO MUCH of a thing. This made me feel foolish.

Generally, I felt high-strung and out of sorts. At one point I was scribbling furiously in my notebook while Dr. D was talking - as though I were Mozart composing his requiem during some manic episode! And when Dr. D called on me for something my entire face went flush and I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I looked down at my paper and when I looked back up, everyone, including Dr. D. was staring at me. And then Dr. D said, "Okay?" And I just nodded. Later, in the ladies' room, I saw that I still had two horribly red spots on my cheeks. I don't know what's the matter with me that I behaved in such a way. Maybe blood sugar?

Must get back to my proposal. I want to do something on gender ... something hinging upon the line from Harriet Jacob's narrative, about the black man who possessed "manliness and intelligence" - the very "qualities that made it so hard for him to be a plantation slave." So I'm thinking that something on resentment within the black man would be interesting. I've got to flesh my thoughts out - give them a name.
Today in class, Dr. Kerns encouraged us to participate in two conferences: one is a general call for literary papers at University of Portland for undergraduates, and the other is at Lewis and Clark - a symposium on gender studies. I volunteered to attend both, so I must submit my gender paper thesis to Dr. Kerns by next Tuesday so she can submit a proposal; if selected, we would likely form a panel for the event(s).

I need to hone my research paper thesis. So far, I know (or think) I'm writing about Black writers and Eurocentric intellectual ideals. But that's a huge topic for a 10-page research paper.

Frantz Fanon writes so beautifully; could I ever hope to be so eloquent?

The idea that one's blackness becomes a thing to which one must be reconciled ... disturbs me. This world .... Sometimes I feel I would give anything not to have to worry/wonder/vex myself about being black, on top of everything else. But this thought stirs up some rebelliousness in me, too. Always, always, it seems, I am acting within this construct. Even when I forget myself, I am called back - because my race is made known to me. I don't know ... I don't know.

Have been thinking about the Love and Sexuality class. Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality looks like seriously dry reading. I've been thinking about Goethe's Werther; am trying to come up with a visual diagram that would depict Werther as object and subject - him facing a mirror; but somewhere there is a third - that "third" which Freud says love is contingent upon. That third in this diagram is Lotte, I suppose. Does Werther set up Lotte as object in order to deflect the gaze from himself? Why? Tossing around ideas for my paper - due in two weeks.

I am still neglectful of my Fantastic Voyages class. I would be perfectly happy to abandon it altogether. It is too late to drop the class without penalty.

Just when I forget about him, I open my web browser and Viggo Mortensen is on the front cover of Salon.com (my homepage). I love his face. Just the sight of it makes my hands itch to pick up a camera.

This winter, after I buy my house, I'd like to take up photography and swimming. I reflect on my life; how fortunate I am. How much freedom and independence I have. I am thinking that I will buy a condo - something inexpensive and low maintenance, so that I can focus on the rest of my life, and have money to live the way I want. Tomorrow I'm going to see about a two bedroom flat in Multnomah Village. The pictures of the backyard stone patio lift my spirits, but I try not to hope too much. If not this, then something else, yes?



December 2013


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