So... I am starting my first day of the quarter on the "wrong" foot. I found out last moment that Barry Spacks is teaching a "finish your creative writing project" course, and more likely than not I cannot register for units, and I may have to be a "crasher ghost" within the course. I can observe and listen, but not necessarily participate. I am excited about the group. This batch of students looks like the most sincere bunch I have encountered yet in a CCS course. There is one guy in the class who is writing a book about surviving Hurricane Katrina. That is astounding. Glad he's doing it. We have some very lengthy undertakings in the course. We are also watching a film called "Adaptation" with Charlie Kaufman... all about writer's block, starring Nicolas Cage. Errr... Nicolas Cappola, more revealingly and accurately. And? It's a riot act. Charlie Kaufman collaborates with Michel Gondry. And that... was that. Those are my dream peeps. People I am dying to work for. Now... everyone around me is getting on the same page in terms of mentality and vision.
And then after class, I am ansty because I didn't get my full jog. I am sleep-deprived and hyper all at the same time. Just got out of a 11-minute massage. Before I was thinking of TN and CE. Now that JLs around I thought getting this stupid technology-mediated, machine massage was so unfulfilling... nevertheless slowing me down, emptying my mind, and relaxing me. Stupid mammal needing a hug, dxmmit, that's all that I was doing.
I started a poem last night:
I wished my bed were in the shower
I wished I dreamed, bathed under water....
Yet the sheets of cold and arid
Took a drift to heights of desert.
And so I slept
like a half-buried mummy--
folded in unrest.
Everyone is apparently too pregnant in the head to have time to read my writing, eh? So it goes. Barry said in class that we are lucky to engage in the process of creativity, but most times we are too quick to be self judgmental and worry about what other people think, eh?! Ya!!! Just write for yourself, for the sake of writing....
I just came from Dr. Teddy Macker's axe-handle poetry course, which was packed with 20 students, myself included. But nevertheless, a very LIVELY bunch. I introduced myself as Victoria, from the dregs of Los Angeles (Riverside), but half-Greek (did not mention). Currently, I read Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Allan Poe (by accident on the internet, top 500 poems), and been appreciating the sophisticated lyrics of Jack Johnson. Basically, the metaphor of an axe coupled axe handle is used in which we can create new poetry through reading other people's poetry. Once you are given a model, you can create your own model from the fragments of other people's models. The question is, where is the line drawn between plagiarism/stealing versus inpiration/buildingblocks, or taking a piece of other people's work and implementing it in a new creation? That is a good question. For me, most often, there is an issue of independent origin of common thought. I invent something in my head and then I found out someone else already wrote about it. And I'm like, oh. I still feel master of the idea because I cultivated these thoughts in my own terms, though I feel slightly to greatly less original and worthy of much of anything. We read some poems and then we went to the Campus Lagoon to write some poems--mostly in the domain of simple language, intense detail, and trying to have an "ending punch line."
Right now I feel mentally beat up and just want to be left alone. Since I felt drained, I created a "draining" poem.
In this bleached light
I do great shame
for not trying
to playing this game
to delve down deep
down spiraled knots
from flickered feathers (when a noisy truck passed by)
of fickle thoughts.
Burn a charred shrub,
Sway a tattered web,
and there exists no means
for novelty in growth.
Basically, I am sooooo beat up. The quarter system is making me depressed. I need to break away. All words are cheap if I am bombarded once again. I need to be brave and let go of all of this, except for visiting Barry Spacks on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am going to go insane. This university mental institute I am in is going to make me go insane.
Barry asked us to vow to writing 15 minutes a day. Well, here I am, writing down all the things that Charlie Kaufman mumbles in his head and never writes down on paper. I write down the dregs. Always will. Because sometimes dregs make stories.
I read the above poem to class, and since no one heard it due to the noisy truck passing by when I was reading, Dr. Macker was kind enough to make note that it rhymed. *Sigh.* The one poem I will remember from the bunch of 20 is that of an Asian student by the name of Richard who was walking to the Campus Lagoon and completely diverged in his train of thought, and it ended up that he wrote a poem about he and his friend texting each other in concern of their stolen skateboards, and that the students were all wanting a nature poem, as if they were on this planet the last 15 seconds of their life, and he ended up reminiscing about his skateboard. Richard even had cus words in his poem. I felt that this poem encompasses the truth about our lives as students on this campus. We were bullshxt fooling ourselves trying to write some fxcking nature poem, and me? Well, I paralleled my emotions with the generic fractal shapes around me, predictable of me. The issue is, I can write the accurate humor of what Richard wrote, and I have done so in the past, but the issue is that I would have never considered this writing as a poem. It was just a journal entry/story. It's a matter of taste. At least the poem I wrote encapsulated my sense of being drained.
So the real kicker of the day is a summary of my life story. I attended the first-ever official "anthropology lecture," held by some stuffy TA with a heavy French accent. Dr. Aswani was not there, so maybe I have to attend one more time this Wednesday. This epic lecture basically summarized WHY I wrote Question Reality: An Investigation of Self-Humans-Environment, because right now, all these different fields and disciplines of the university are merging in perspectives (most notably social and natural sciences), but no one is streamlining any of the logic or knowledge. Everyone remains with their pet pea hypotheses in their respective cult disciplines--it's all the same even though it seems different, but no one is ready to acknowledge that, as indicated by this lecture. Essentially the university needs to streamline itself because redundant classes exist among ecology and evolution, earth science, geography, environmental studies, anthropology, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It's tragic. I'm sure even the undergrads are detecting a sense of redundancy.
The French chic TA recited 18 different perspectives with anthropology and ecology, and it is simply INSANE CONVERGENCE with NO CONSOLIDATION. Consider the entire university a software engineering program that is willing to synthesize but not consolidate efficiently. I didn't know a few of the "academic cliques" that were mentioned, and there were other "buz words" I know of that the temp teacher didn't mention. She also misused the words "habitat," "niche," and "adaptation." She defined adaptation so badly that I am sure my evolution professor would have yelled at her if he were in the room, and if he were in his teens, he would have shot her with a beebee gun. The adaptation definition was totally teleological. There evolves a trait--"adaptation"--or purpose, is assigned retroactively, it is chance that there is a function to the context of anything. Sheesh!
Disciplines that study the interactions between humans and their environments:
Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (NSF)
Coupled Human-Environmental Systems (CHESS, this is MINE, the synthesis of petty redundancy)
sociobiology (evolutionary psychology) (EO Wilson?)
panarchy / ecological economics (Holling)
evolutionary social constructionism
physical / biological / cultural geography
human dimensions of environmental change (my advisor Oran's research)
common pool resources (indigenous knowledge and environmental decision-making, scale issue)
environmental determinism (environmental conditionality)
environmental possibility (The Serenity Prayer Poem, engineers' research degree of freedom-constraint, he's at Duke, what's his name?)
environmental sociology (Dr. Freudenberg)
ethnoecology (conceptualizing the environment, definitions, classifications)
cultural materialism (production of materials, development, social relationships)
systems ecology (funk daddy complex math models)
evolutionary ecology (the Botanist from EEMB?, Susan Mazer?)
political ecology (e.g. tracing the food on your dinner table plate)
historical ecology (land use history, coupled long term human-environmental change)
spiritual ecology (interface of religion and ecology, institutions-fads, codes of ethics, assumptions) radical ecology (environmental disaster and human disaster)
deep ecology / green ecology (stuff covered in Flmstudies 183 films of the human and natural environment, Naess, tenants of deep ecology, not in complete agreement)
ecofeminism (the role of women in human-environmental change)
ecopsychology (ecology and human psychology)
post-modernist ecology (I think I am one of this, the notion of objectivity is moot, humans are a part of the system, GONZO SCIENCE, construction of objective reality is moot, it's all relative, in non-traditional publishing means)
metaphor and scale (that's me!)
[INSERT MORE DISCIPLINES HERE]
So, as I said before, I look at this list and I feel three things: (1) I am thankful I wrote Question Reality because now I have a straight head and understand all the assumptions and what fits where regardless of the absurd compartmentalization of disciplines, (2) I feel sorry for the undergrad students who have to memorize this bullshxt rather than use their intuition to synthesize the assumptions behind all the jargon, and (3) this lecture saved a LOT of legwork for me in terms of knowing the "search terms" of the literature, so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I should show Oran this list and see how he responds, and this should be a part of a film script on the natural history of the university. Academics married their minds to the literature, not to reality of experience or intuition. In short, this is the most pathetic, humorous lecture I have ever heard. The summation of academic absurdity. This lecture is basically solid script material for a movie on graduate students and where they fit in the university and the world in general. It's all about how you approach the human/environment problem... just like Hollywood, as I said before. So, this is probably one reason why I'm going insane.
Other than that, this UCSB campus is still a ghost town, though it's the first day of spring quarter, 2009. Everyone is having one more day in Cancun or chillin' with their parents, or more likely their hometown friends. Everyone is "over it," including myself. Spring quarter sucks, unless you know you are graduating in June.
This morning Barry went through a series of "writing wisdoms" in the process of creativity. Here are a few that I remember, but I'm sure I'll add more later.
**Writing requires sadistic isolation in space and time. Virginia Wolf, a room of her own. You are around people, you are collecting data, when you are writing your Ph.D. you now have to process and organize all this information into a very condensed stories.
**Mark Twain said that "adjectives and adverbs" were evil. And I say, NO. You know what? No flipping way. I think that's what makes my EOT story different from the dry drone of most writing. I see the world in hypersaturation (when I'm not drained), and I think that adjectives and adverbs add precision and emotional dimensions to the activities.
**Jealousy breeds creativity. An ape, chest-beating stand-up show. I admit to that. That's the only ape-beating thing I can actually do! (from Teddy Macker)
**Tom Clancy. "The difference between fiction and reality. Fiction has to make sense." Consistency of emotions, logic, space, and time.
**V.S. Naipaul. "I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next." Barry Spacks adds, "My poems are smarter than I am." The genius of fleeting creativity--1% inspriation and 99% perspiration.
**Gloria Steinem. "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." Barry adds, "Writing requires full consciousness, full attention."
**"Being famous is a luck thing. But the one opportunity in life I would always crave to have is to be creative." (Barry Spacks quote)