"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Statement of Purpose

* I write because I can't do anything else.

* I cannot write very well. I used to think I could.

* I write because there's nothing else left.

* I am dissertating poorly, but I've actually been putting in real time, real work on it. This doesn't make me feel better, but it fills up time.

* I am writing as if my life depended on it. But it does not.

* I have entered retirement from writing poems.

* I still think about poems and post them to the other blog and sometimes to this one.

* I am, despite my depressive tendencies, a huge optimist. Things have to get better, right? People are basically good, right?

* I am deeply insecure about my ability to think. Another blogger poet made fun of me in a comment box a few months back, and basically reminded me what a moron I am. I think he was right. I am not a rigorous thinker. I am a cloudy, clotted thinker. My problem is the sorting out. I would often prefer not to sort, but rather, to let myself wallow around in ideas, not settling.

* I have ethical concerns about precision and control, which sound to me too much like rigidity, and the sort of resolve that drives armies.

* Maybe Callicles was right. I know I said this before, but the good fight takes good management. Maybe this is why I'm sloppy. I'm deliberately sabotaging my ability to "get ahead," to "be better."

* Even my loved ones tell me that I am at times rude, abrasive, arrogant, stand-offish, isolated. I know this and it breaks my heart.

* Why the self-examination? Why not?

* I just graded a stack of forty essays on "the sonnet." Two were particularly good.
I feel like a fraud because I subtracted points for sloppiness.

* Am I teaching students the very things that I deplore? Or do I deplore these things because I'm lazy and ineffectual and it's easier for me to deal with myself if I believe that I'm some sort of ethical rebel? Probably the latter, which makes me doubly fraudulent.


Michael said...

"I am not a rigorous thinker. I am a cloudy, clotted thinker. My problem is the sorting out. I would often prefer not to sort, but rather, to let myself wallow around in ideas, not settling."

I am this way too, and often wonder about my ability to hash out an argument, but then I remember it just comes down to common sense. I mean, think about the GOP or their butt-boys at FOX News: trying to talk with them is like being in a Monty Python skit.

This is why absurdity appeals to me (at least in Art, not in politics). You can say outrageous and weird things, but give 'em a wink and you can change your position constantly.

So I take to heart what Douglas Crase says: "Rearragement is morally and artistically more interesting than opinions, as rearrangement involves choice and commitment, while opinions are only held."

Sara said...

The intellect is highly overrated. An obsession with pointing out other people's intellectual "shortcomings" usually indicates an emotional childishness that stems from never being taught by fists or words on the playground that nobody really gives a fuck what you think or how smart you are. In the adult world, this is why no one wants to hang out with chess champions who will remain nameless. You, Tony, are, in addition to being smart, also funny as hell, kind, and not socially tedious, so who cares about the competitive game of intellect? And if your thinking is cloudy, mine is perfectly opaque. Smarts is not necessarily quantifiable and qualifiable in the way the competitive souls would like. I think people should think much less and fuck much, much more. It's good for the heart and gives you a rosy glow.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you learned that ethics only get in the way of doing what you want?
You can be a grumpy butt-hole. Everyone I know can be a grumpy butt-hole though. As long as you're not that way all the time, then we'll still love you.
I try to be a rigorous thinkier but I haven't read a book in over a year and would die without spell check. Thank god that hitchhikers book was made into a movie.
I might read the next Harry Potter book as long as cable and/or X-box do not get in the way.
Just be happy you're alive and doing fine. Imagine if you were in a country that needed liberated.

C. S. Carrier said...

Tony, I think everything I've seen from you suggests a rather sophisticated level of thinking. I don't know what cloudy thinking looks like. Don't be so hard on yourself. You make me look like a chump. Chris

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I am also an optimistic pessimist. People are evil but everything will turn out all right. People are basically good and by grace of their tendency to goodness that I live in a house and have pleasant books to read. People don't matter any more than butterflies. Etc.