While pulling together some job materials this weekend, I got out ye old Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods (5th ed)–see below–and stumbled upon this scribbled delight, this marginalia wormhole (could we say wordhole?–that seems weird) to the Summer of Dissertation…
Dissed are excerpts from the dissertation that have been cut, killed, excised, burned on the altar of common sense and distance before being left here to not die…
This one hurt to cut. I remember thinking how clever I was and how it"Explained Everything. Duh." And, certainly, in looking back I can see the early versions of what I was just really starting to grasp. I did bring a good chunk of this up in the epilogue, but it took some reshaping. I like having an original (albeit excerpted) version of it here as part of this archive. After all, Sally and this comic were integral parts of the dissertation, critical actants that sat in my eye-line (tacked above the computer) the entire time I wrote and reminded me--without a word, with just a glance, without even really realizing it, in fact I'm only really realizing it right now as I type these very words--why I was still sitting in my office chair, still looking for answers. Touchstone is too mild a word for that level of presence and pull in the overall phenomenon. But my true love didn't make it into the final draft: the incomplete tracing of the other actants at the end. I read that list and that timespace snaps into place around me. I'm-back-there-again-here.
“Enduring Silence: The Impossible Sound of Stolen and Sacred Names in Fantasy Fiction”
I've been digging back through old work and
came across this recording that I forgot I had.
I LOVE the two books it's analyzing
(Tigana is one of my top favorites of all time)
and I miss working with straight up fantasy.
Maybe I need to get back to that a bit
now that the dissertation is done.
This was back when I was but a young Ph.D. candidate
and had just passed my comps the semester before.
I'm pretty sure I murder half of the names and place names
and words from the authors' invented languages.
It sounds like I know exactly what I'm pronouncing
but that just wasn't the case and I feel terrible for whatever
injustice I did to these authors' imagine worlds.
From the introduction:
In Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, a conquering sorcerer strips the country of Tigana of its name in retribution for its Prince killing his son. In Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Avatar, Phèdre searches for and then holds within her the vast complexity of God’s name, needed to save her oldest friend. One name stolen, the other sacred, both are lost throughout the majority of these texts to a silence that defines characters and drives plot. Even at their climaxes, when these silences break and these names are once again heard, both texts strain under the impossibility of representing an unrepresentable sound: all the stories, the tragedies, the meanings these singular names have come to hold.
It’s kind of sad that a lot (for me, most) of coursework doesn’t really find a second home, whether because of the direction your scholarship goes or just the structure/nature of the original writing. I was searching for a word in the hopes of finding a file I’d obviously not named well-enough to find it again years later, and this paper popped up. A throwback to Science Fiction and Posthumanism in the Anthropocene–one of my favorite classes. I enjoyed reading it again four years later (yikes!). I sound quite important 😉
Last week, I sat down with a really quiet small group in class where one student was pulling all the weight. Normally, I try to stay out of their conversations, but this was painful to watch, and I had to do something. That something ended up being me and the Student having a great conversation while the groupmates looked on in silence (no matter what we did–and Student tried just as hard–to try and pull them into the conversation). So, big fail in that sense. But there was also a win: I got to hear Student’s guess at what metaphor Thomas King might use for stories (we were talking about how Azar Nafisi calls books orphans and Neil Gaiman tells the story of Douglas Adams claiming books are sharks, and we were wondering what the other author’s we’d read might say on the matter).
I fell down a rabbit hole today, combing through old computer files to curate a project I want to work on later, and found so many old writings I had forgotten about. Some are cringe-worthy, some surprisingly good, some hilariously melodramatic (I blame the genres). Then I came across this. And the nostalgia hit me hard enough that, no matter the quality of this piece, I had to share it here.