Not wanting to disappoint anyone here so I’ll complete the collection of IIML exercises today. Five is a much better number but the fact remains: we did six. Deal with it.
You don’t care, I’m sure, but the delay is justifiable. Completely. Yesterday, about an hour before class, I finished the first draft of my folio project for the year, tried (and failed) to make 11 copies of my 140 page beast, and ultimately relied on the very generous school administrator to relieve me. (Katie rocks, by the way; she is the superhero of wannabe writers.)
It’s for the best that I have six more months to work on it. By Thursday, my poor, overworked and over-lifed classmates, with their babies and jobs and gestating little ones, have to suffer through the excessive emesis I’ve barfed onto the page for them. You’re welcome. I feel like I’ve asked them to spend a week with my vomit and report back on things other than its stink. They’re a nice bunch, fortunately. I don’t anticipate knives or other sharp objects but I suppose I wouldn’t blame them if they find other ways to sink a few barbs in.
Here’s an excerpt from Exercise Six and the bigger bunch of hooha that everyone in my class has every right to hurl at me on Thursday. I wonder if kevlar has created fashionable and warm tops? Safety first.
There was that kid called Minik that Naomi once studied. He was an Inuit from Greenland– the unlucky son of an unluckier man removed from his people and brought to New York by anthropologists. When his father died quickly of tuberculosis, a museum pretended to bury him but instead stripped away his pelts and tissue to display a skeleton to curious eyes. Would Minik have wanted to revisit that scene of his father’s rushed decomposition if he’d had the means? Is it something that helps or hurts—to see life fall from the bone?
She types Eskimo, scans a page and learns that the word may mean something like a raw meat eater. She tries to decide if this is actually pejorative or descriptive or something that is completely irrelevant now that the ice caps are melting. She’s had the raw flesh of fish and horse and, because her mom had a taste for it, also minced cow. Her chin rests on her palm. Food for thought. She hates herself briefly.
Still, she’s hungry. She would die quickly if she had to bother with the blubber of seals to survive.
Also, today I finished Open City by Teju Cole. An interesting read that struck me for its abundant earnestness. Sort of an encyclopedia in prose, which is unnerving as the knowledge all spews forth from the mind of a single, wandering man who isn’t even 35. Toward the end, the narrator thinks, “[e]ach person must, on some level, take himself as the calibration point for normalcy, must assume that the room of his own mind is not, cannot be, entirely opaque to him.” Earlier, discussing mental illness, he had asserted that “the mind is opaque to itself, and it’s hard to tell where, precisely, these areas of opacity are.” And yet, this is a man who fails to respond emotionally to some startling events, choosing instead, in once instance, to recall obscure musings from Camus’s journal– complete with the four tongue-twisting names of a sixth century Roman hero. This may be the asberger anti-hero we’ve been waiting for. He is the flaneur with the facts, and he isn’t even wearing those google glasses as he wanders the streets of Manhattan. As such, he’s an incredible witness– just as dislocated as we are. Apparently, Cole is coming to NZ to meet us. I wonder if he’ll know the architects of Wellington’s buildings as his narrator would?
In any case, for the twittering tweeters among you, check out Cole’s small fates project. NPR called it condensed news, but it’s more than that. It’s snapshots of the metro news– out of modern day Lagos, Nigeria and New York City circa 1912– that show the texture and absurdity of those everyday events that give contour to a community. I’m bad at the twitter thing, but I think you do something like put an @ in front of tejucole and voila. Maybe yes?