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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “June 2, 2017”

Attention

Nnedi Okorafor asks on Facebook:

I need to understand this phenomenon: 

WHY do people tweet to and email me asking if they can find my books in Amazon??? Why can’t they just go to Amazon and check? What IS that all about???

They do it for the same reason you wrote this Facebook post, lady. They want attention. 

Writers are often very disappointing as people. 

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What You Can’t Buy

So there was this woman who really wanted to be a full-time writer. She was desperate to leave her boring old job, to stop getting up at 6 am every day and suffering through an endless commute while hating every second she couldn’t spend writing. Her job was at an institution of higher learning, and as such jobs often do, it kept spilling over into evenings and weekends. It was a running joke among her friends how entirely unsuited she was to a life of a regular 8 to 6 worker who has to show up at her job early each morning. 

The woman snatched every free moment she had to write, write, write. And finally her books started selling. And then bestselling. And finally she had enough money to quit her boring old job, buy a beautiful big house with a view, and do nothing but write. So that’s what she did. 

And. . . for the next three years, she didn’t write a word. All she did was stay in bed and weep. And eat. And weep some more. She gained a ton of weight and drove everybody who knew her to distraction because it’s hard to feel much compassion for a bestselling author with a beautiful big house and no money worries. The worst part was that she couldn’t explain what was torturing her.

“But isn’t this what you always wanted?” her long-suffering husband would ask.

“Yes,” she’d say and start weeping.

Finally, her agent got fed up with not getting paid. He showed up at her house one day, packed her into his car, and drove her to his office. He led her to a tiny windowless closet and said,

“Look, I put a desk and a chair here for you. Each day you’ll arrive here by 7 am, like it’s a job, and stay working for the next 8 hours, like it’s a job. And you’ll keep doing it every day. Like it’s a fucking job!”

So that’s what the woman did. She started writing again, and selling, and even bestselling. The writing is not as good (I’m a fan, I read all she writes) but it’s good enough. Most importantly, she is smiling again. She lost back the weight and started taking dancing lessons. 

Self-awareness is a great and rare gift.

P.S. It’s a completely true story that the writer herself has shared in a multitude of interviews.

A Paean to Liberalism

Liberal thought is all about seeing people as individuals. You become a liberal when you learn to see past group affiliations and notice in everybody one single human being whom you equate to yourself. This is liberalism: everybody is a human being whose value is equal to myself.

This way of seeing the world has its negatives and positives. In its extreme form it gave us neoliberalism which I hate. But liberalism (as opposed to neoliberalism) is the greatest advance of humanity ever, in my opinion. And it has transformed the world for the better since it came into existence.

Tantrums

Klara has learned to throw tantrums. Her whole nature is in how she conducts them. She gets down on the floor very carefully, making sure she doesn’t hurt herself, arranges herself on the floor with meticulous care, and begins to scream.

I move to another room and start collecting the toys. She gets up, finds me, arranges herself very carefully on the floor again, and resumes the screaming. Then she notices that I’m doing something fun, switches off the screaming, giggles, and joins me.

I have no idea where she learned the laying down on the floor in protest strategy.

Unfinished Business

I went to the Yale University Library website to see what I need to be able to access it during my visit next week. There is a tab on the left side of the screen that lists “Living in New Haven” as one of the options. I caught a glimpse of it and immediately had this nasty feeling in my stomach like I’d been punched.

I have unfinished emotional business with that place.

The Quote of the Week

So, how narcissistic can you get? You want to have all the benefits of having all of the benefits, and you want to have all the benefits of having none of the benefits, because just having all the benefits isn’t enough for you.

This is about all the rich gits at Yale and Middlebury and Co who like to pose as the downtrodden. 

The New Economy 

This is what the new economy will be like: online platforms, apps, videoconferencing for pets. The recipe to success is unburdening oneself of attachments to anything tangible and moving all operations to the “space of flows.”

It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. 

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