Wednesday September 9th
Writing Group (9/9/2020)
- Today’s writing group was more stream of consciousness. It was a challenging subject for me, to be honest.
- I’m also a bit tired, as I had a lot going on this week (still do). I also had my first live writing consult today!
- I have to stay up late to write code. Wish me compiles! Weird how my life is between writing papers and writing code now. Pretty much a lot of writing. However, I am doing this class tonight (obviously not related to PhD or school) that will be letting me draw some stuff with computers, so that should be kind of cool. I thought of getting a replacement for my Wacom that I had to get rid of when I moved. I kind of miss it (I had three Wacoms, tbh). I also have been in a LOT of meetings. Ugh. Meetings. I was in meetings from 11am all the way to 11:30pm last night. :(
- I won’t put the entire prompt down, but it was about writing as a toy and a portal. There was another prompt about how writing is more about the interaction than about the writing itself, which was interesting, as well.
- The interaction of writing as being central to the act of writing is difficult for me to think about. Writing in itself is like sewing up deep wounds with sutures. Writing is memory. Writing is the reliving of trauma for some. Collective writing for me is the cementing of a particular ideology from a single idea. Writing can become dogmatic truth.
- When we use the word “collective”, whose collective does this represent? I think about the writing of constitutions, of laws, of spiritual books. I think about bills being passed, and codes of conduct. In my field of Artificial Intelligence, I think about the writing of history, the writing out of some of our histories. I think of Lynn Conway. Her disappearance. Her writing about that disappearance.
- The language of play is allegory. It is play of words that can be sounds, that can be musical and whimsical. Engineers love puns. Perhaps it is their portal for play in a world of structure and so-called objectivity. It is their place to play.
- Writing as play is a shadow-language. It allows one to live one’s authentic self in a world where that is not possible. I think of pen names and code switching and writing free from mere utility. I get paid to write now. Will I hate it? Will the play disappear?
- Writing is a portal of ideas and of nightmares. I think of great writers in my own country, who used the writing of extempo and sobriquets to be someone else; to have an alternate existence in the world within which they existed, where they could be exalted. Their writing made them griots in their communities. I think of Lord Kitchener, who in spite of this portal, died tragically. An immense loss. I think of his music and writing that continues to live on.
- I think of my own struggle to write.
- I think that writing is not a portal to joy, but one of communicating immense loss. I don’t think it is a toy because great writing outlives its authors. Great writing outlives commodification; we cannot contain it, describe it, but we can feel it. But as a toy, society falls in and out of love with writings, as the tide turns and we begin to see wisdom in the writings we neglected because they were not fashionable. H.G. Wells is hip again.
- During my teenage years, I wrote my dad several letters, and I would mail them to him. He lived in Montserrat at the time. I would look forward to those blue letters, that were hand-written, in which he would explain in words how he saw the world. He was one of my penpals, and that was my portal to see the world outside of the island on which I lived. It takes a certain amount of commitment to be a penpal, to commit yourself to that portal. It is very different from the writing of today, which seems to be sped up by technology. No one wants to commit to reading. It is like those troll dolls from the 80s. Why should one invest in a toy that has outlived its usefulness anyway? Who needs silence and a pen and paper? What are you, a luddite?
- This week I’ve been thinking about the fact that people get annoyed if you’re a female and you don’t automatically pick a thing (ie fit in a box), but when guys do that, it’s seen as wild and courageous and they’re celebrated for being so exploratory and creative. It’s almost like they don’t give us the room to fail and try things out, which is kind of stupid. And then people wonder why it’s so difficult for women to make it in business. Well..maybe..just maybe..give us females room to try and fail, too. But…Wow guys are soooooooo cool. We as females…Our failures are made to be examples as to why we should not be put into leadership positions, and their failures are just seen as another step… on the way to conquering the world or whatever, as they were ordained to do by some fake ideology that was made by dudes anyway. Guys. Maybe when I grow up I can be one. (Just kidding. I like being me. A lot.) But I think that a lot of things people mouth stupidly are things they don’t think deeply about. (New England is full of that nonsense, btw, because muh tradition). Sometimes it’s just a banal mouthing of some bull** ideology someone taught them growing up. And it means nothing. Even if you come to the conclusion that your ideology is right (whatever that means), how do you go through life not questioning it at all. That kind of astounds me. I feel like if you are a particular type of person, you can go through your entire life not having that questioned, and that’s just well…sad. And you spout that fake ideology to others (with authority, too!) because you’ve never really had a conversation; only a one-way assumption that has never been criticized or questioned, and you hypocritically see yourself as superior by not stepping into spaces that might question your way of seeing the world. Being someone like myself means that it’s always questioned. Your existence is questioned. Your identity is questioned. Anything you have provably shown you have the capacity to do is still questioned. And well, the world is burning so maybe try something new? Have a different point of view, perhaps? It’s worth a try.
- I’m not a dude-hater, btw. Far from it. I’m just making a point and I don’t apologize for that. I’ve also had this similar conversation over years with several friends (of various identities).
Written on September 9, 2020