Tuesday, May 25, 2010
So many thoughts about this. After talking with my friend Peter I've become aware of themes in my writing that have to do with identity and belonging/being outside of a culture. He could say that much better than I just did. I've had trouble with this fascination of mine after reading about how Romantic irony (I am both in the world and have an awareness of the sublime and I am isolated because of my private self awareness) birthed nationalism. And nationalism, as we know, birthed many of the horrors of the last century. I've been moving towards a more neutral stance about preserving this "pride" (although I was happy to read that the Lithuanians were the absolute last European country to adopt Christianity and when they finally believed in Jesus they depicted him with an outrageous amount of Pagan symbolism) of culture or heritage and thinking that I should consider myself nationless. This parallels what Zizek was saying about environmentalism-- in order to actually preserve ourselves and our planet we have to see ourselves as alien, not part of the natural system. So, in order to preserve the order of government, we must move away from identifying with the symbols, the flags, the colors that represent it.
The first thing a colonial power or a Christian power, oh that's redundant, does is remove language and indigenous culture. Economic dependence follows, poverty follows. Nationalism through Romanticism is what preserves identity. "I am different in these ways, different like all of these other people." And colonialism, not nationalism, is what continues to create the horrors of this century... that rough individualism that allows Brazil to import milk after exporting it first to Europe. By colonialism I mean capitalism, of course.
I suppose I am saying that I am going to continue to identify, in a Romantic way, with my Lithuanian roots. I've just now worked through any ambivalence I was feeling about this.
The photo is of a famous singer from Chicago-- a city that has more "Lithuanian" people than the capital of Lithuania. He was pretty fabulous, what with his aluminum sneakers and tinfoil pants. The rhinestone "R" is what really got me, though.
One last thing. This celebration of Lithuania took place at the Catonsville Armory. With tanks and army recruiters. Ha!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Gosh, I hate to admit it, but I think doubt is creeping in. I'm starting to feel self-conscious when I write and that automatically kills the piece. I'm twenty-three pages into the book. I'm very pleased with what I've written. I know that this story hasn't been told. I am confident in that. I'm starting to worry that maybe people won't want to read about a six year old and his idea of what sex is. Or matricide. Do people want to read about that? I'm just feeling lost. I feel like my poetry collection is strong, but I know better where not to send it then where to send it. I am very aware that I need an editor. It looks like I am going to start going to those Buffalo things. Or, I just need to start going out again. I've been cloistered at home, content. The need to shake things up is in my genes. I can blame it on my dad's side, if blame needs be assigned.
Maybe this is because I am reading, get this, THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND! (exclamation point is mine) Summary of the first 68 pages: Language is the root (ha, see) of consciousness. Language evolved from concrete things-- like the word head-- that then developed into metaphorical uses to symbolize other things-- the head of an army. Metaphor is what created consciousness because it allowed us to see ourselves in a distinct way, as separate from the reality of our environments. Here is a quote, "Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world."
I want a vacation.