I have not written a poem in a month. I have not touched fiction since January. Toiling away at Pulse-Orlando and Hamilton Mixtape analyses, my energy centers on those two. Today, though, before I catch up on grading and before I go out walking, I searched the blogosphere for a post that would speak to some of the growing concerns I have in relating through writing.
This morning, @CollardStudies started following me on twitter. I looked at her blog and decided to read the most recent post. Though brief, and primarily a bibliography, the title, ‘Faith, Intimacy, Resistance,’ resonates with me at a time when reading collectively only takes place in my ‘Mothers and Daughters,’ class (which I will review at the end of the semester) and in the community twitter provides. My small course consumes reflections of motherhood and daughterhood in ways that break us open, that bring intersectional analysis close to home. The kind of conversations that blur the lines of teaching to know and dialoguing to heal.
Intimacy becomes possible because it’s how we survive the current tensions being resurrected between mothers and daughters–the past, the present, the future–and what we need to relate to each other.
Brown pulls from Moraga’s intro to This Bridge Called my Back in writing, “Empire disrupts intimacy.” Moving past the reading list Brown provides, the intimacy disrupted by empire that I seek to address is the intimacy that could be created by collaboration. The dependency higher education has on the whims of policy, taxes and political figures reconfigures the collaboration once experienced in the marginal hustling freelance networks I used to occupy. The economic security of full-time post socially suppresses the once economically necessary collaboration to assimilate to the altering demands created to maintain the decreasing amounts of full-time tenure-track positions. In cyberspace, in the various online communities in which I participate, intimacy becomes possible because of distance. Intimacy there and here, is feasible, because our relative solitude & soledad across different campuses bring many together. Hashtags, facebook groups, mutual follows sustain brilliant conversations and inspiring thoughts.
Such visibility runs risks, as Grollman discusses here. Dr. Grollman writes:
“…departmental colleagues and university administration evaluate our teaching, scholarship, grant activity, and service, in turn making decisions about pay-raises, tenure, and promotion. These supposedly meritocratic forms of evaluation severely disadvantage marginalized scholars, especially those who do critical or radical work on oppression. Implicitly, they serve as a way of watching us to ensure that we are conforming to standards that arguably reinforce the status quo in academe and beyond….” (12/01/16)
Running around the hallways mediated by the supply of funds and demand of productivity that can be measured prioritizes sustaining the caste. Another example of how empire disrupts intimacy. I think of Dispatch’s ‘The General.’ Not because the ‘fight is not worth fighting.’ I think of that ‘general’ because I ask myself how, in the midst of what intimacy the empire has disrupted and wants to continue to disrupt, to encourage the young? How do we encourage them to live in the struggle, to find worth in the struggle for a world in which learning encourages collaboration, intimacy and opportunity? How do we make the hunger for knowledge, for growth in discomfort worth it?