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Habits of Mind.

posted Aug 26, 2014, 6:37 PM by Elizabeth Bishop

I have not been writing everyday. I started this written record on August 23 and it's been a solid two days since returning. It is true that writing aids in the process of brainstorming, or free flowing and fighting through the necessary perils of composition. 

I'm thinking a lot about cultural studies these days. The specific practices of social scientific reporting seem geared toward replication and precisely the nuanced explorations of language are lost in this pursuit. My writerly voice has been quieted by scientificity, and although it's not a problem-in-itself, but it's a problem for me. 

This isn't to say I don't love research. Quite the opposite. The writing I seek to undertake engages with the intertextuality of study through a Derridean free play that performs an embodiment of the multiple, of multiplicity. It sounds more arcane or rhetorically loaded than it really is under the aesthetic, rhizomatic execution. This is precisely my landscape. From here I will build connectivity and installation.  

More on this topic. Habits of mind not yet breached. I am excited to return to the Literary and Cultural Studies world. I think it is ready for me too. I hope it is. Rhizomatic. Concept map futurity. 

Write Everyday.

posted Aug 23, 2014, 11:23 AM by Elizabeth Bishop   [ updated Aug 23, 2014, 11:48 AM ]


I've opened this fresh page to begin the writerly habit of writing everyday. Novelists and academics swear by it. Poets disdain such dictates. I see this space as an opportunity to flex my cultural studies muscle, to write with free flow apart from APA rules and citation indexes. I kept my blog at zerodraft.wordpress.com for the more rhizomatic side of online creation, but this one is strictly words on the digital page. 

I've been thinking about whiteness, supremacy and violence a lot in the past few days. As a white woman, I'm horrified by the racist language of white privilege. Just before I started writing this, I learned about a "beloved" illustrator from Ferguson. She was typically "non-controversial" but felt obligated to add her work to the discourse of anti-racist peace and struggle. The image she drew depicted a Black mother and son at a table with a newspaper that read "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." A number of her former "followers" denounced her on Facebook, telling her she should also make a poster looters stealing from store owners. What disturbs me most about this particular sentiment is the dehumanization of Michael Brown, as though he is removed from the situation. 

I read on EdWeek that a school district close to Ferguson is not letting their teachers teach about what is happening there currently. Such a gag order is structurally violent, as it tells youth that their lives are not valuable and that their thoughts and feelings about what is happening currently is irrelevant and dismissed. 

I've been wishing I was working as a classroom teacher with youth as school starts again. I would absolutely let them write, speak, listen and read about any current events they deem worthy. Educational administrators and local officials gain nothing from stifling the voices of their constituents - young and old. I'm grateful that #FergusonSyllabus has entered the Twittersphere as a hashtag around which to gather resources and strategies. I hear the refrain of white privilege echoing in my head from all the writing I've seen which says that the Black community (not that it's singular) and the protesters (as if they're not peaceful) are creating a divisive landscape. 
That's simply not true. They are responding to violence, to brutality, to a cover-up of misinformation. 
Moving toward calm requires understanding, something that can't be achieved if ignorance is the first reflex. 

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