Wednesday, 9 March 2016

wow, where did February go?

Feeling kind of dumb today. I can't get one of my readings to open (Bennett) past itty bitty tiny, tried in google scholar and it only opens some of the pages, and only part of the first chapter. That I can read is a whole lot of academic bureau-speak. Feeling a bit over my head today.
I have been feeling a bit over my head a lot this term.  A couple of things have struck me over the past few days though, and I'm beginning to feel my head clearing of the fog. Brene Brown's interview on Empathy, Compassion, and Boundaries really struck a chord with me this morning.

I have been questioning my place in this PhD program.  I have a core group of classmates that I enjoy being around, that I enjoy conversation with.  This core group are challenging all of us to think outside the box.  I think of them in the same way that I think of another classmate in my MA program.  She left that program and I was beside myself.  Her choice to leave was valid, and I applaud her for it.  I stuck things out.  I felt alone a lot of the time.  The only thing that got me through that program was my family and my advisor.  I had no cohort.  With this degree, I finally feel like I have a cohort.  It is a small one.  Most times, I feel like we are the misfits of grad school, the nerdiest nerds.  I love them all.  I stick it out in class because of them.  I want to be with them.  I want to engage in conversation with them.

Then there are the 'big fish' of grad school.  The ones who can create words seemingly out of thin air, the students who can engage in academic bureau-speak.  With these classmates, I feel frustrated.  I feel stupid.  Some of these classmates have exclaimed that we are the 'upper echelon of the academy', and I'm going 'what?', 'Where?', 'Howdidthathappenagain'?  I'm not feeling upper of anything.  I'm just trying to figure out what my readings are trying to teach me this week...what does that word mean again?

I could feel frustrated and stupid, or I can just go and be creative.  So, once again, I have cut out a bunch of new garments and am going to engage with the Zen of pocket construction this afternoon.  Each painfully tedious step from marking with chalk, to basting, welt construction, pressing, I am going to engage with them all.  Then I am going to Hong Kong finish all my seams, or maybe not, depending on the sample I do, and if it creates too much bulk with the seams.  I am going to engage in topstitching in contrasting colour, this jacket will be topstitched to within an inch of its life.  And then I am going to engage with the Zen of the buttonhole stitch; that meditative thing that I enjoy the most about garment construction, hand sewing.

Maybe I should then write a reading response to my professor.  The performativity of my own artistic practice, and my own concept of agency (Jones). 

I'm givin' er.

Jones, Amelia. Material Traces: Performativity, Artistic "Work," and New Concepts of Agency. MIT Press, The Drama Review, Vol 59, No. 4, Winter 2015