Peace has barely been imagined

January 23, 2007

The semester plow through pages-athon has already kicked off with a vengeance by this the third week. The final section of Richard Ford’s Lay of the Land is languishing unread right next to the second novella in Suite Francaise, both having given way to Maxine Hong Kingston, Helene Cixous, various and sundry po-co (post-colonial for those of you not in the biz) theorists, and way way too much antiquated reading on the theory of archiving. You read that right, the theory behind putting old papers in a room. As I explained to The Future Psychologist this morning, I really don’t get why I need to read 200+ pages in the first week of class about how to keep some stuff, throw other stuff away, put it in a closet, and if anyone every wants to see it (doubtful) give them the key. Okay, I get that archives are our collective “houses of memory” and that future historians are counting on us to keep track of the s@#$ they are going to need to write theses and get tenure. I am sure that this is all very noble and worthwhile. But I am not so sure I really want to be involved with it. I hope that none of my fellow library students ever knows that that’s about what I think of it so far.

On more exuberant notes, MHK is pretty rocking. If you have not already done so, you will not be sad if you pick up Woman Warrior and give it a try, and after that China Men, and if you are brave I can now guarantee that Tripmaster Monkey is well-worth the effort. I am presenting on the latter title for my US Women Writers of Color class  this Thursday, and in the course of my background research I learned that she graduated from Berkeley with a BA in English in 1962, got married, moved to Hawaii, and didn’t publish WW until 1976. So that just goes to show that you do not have be freakishly precocious to make a lasting impact on literature. Also, check out this synopsis of her most recent book, The Fifth Book of Peace. Blending memoir and fiction in a book that describes both your real life and the novel that you literally lost when your house burnt down during your father’s funeral: the epitome of making lemonade out of those lemons.

Oh, before I ended this I was going to mention where the subject of this post comes from. It’s from the closing passages of Tripmaster Monkey, and I think it pretty much sums up my thoughts on how a country can spend billions on war, far fewer billions on education, and nothing on what it would take to create a world with less violence. What you imagine becomes reality, right?

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3 Responses to “Peace has barely been imagined”

  1. LCB Says:

    Is The Future Psychologist the person I lovingly refer to as “Gouda” on my blog?

    Also, I feel like I remember AH talking about MHK. Are you two in the same class? Am I the only person in our little blog triumvirate not studying postcolonialism? (I guess it’s actually a quatumvirate if you include Lusciousity, which, incidentally, I can never spell.)

    Some day I promise I’ll actually comment on the substance of one of your posts, and not ramble on about trivialities.

  2. LCB Says:

    Also, I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting “quatumvirate” (or quatrumvirate?) is a real word. I should have set that off with some ellipses or something to convey doubt and the fact that I was totally making it up as I went along.

    God, I’m shutting up now. Why am I such a tool? (Don’t answer that.)

  3. AH Says:

    Although I’m currently in the middle of way too many books and getting nowhere in any of them, and Woolf’s Orlando just has to be the next book I commit to, I went ahead anyway and checked for Woman Warrior in our library. Remember our conversation a couple days ago (wait, maybe that was yesterday) about our crappy libraries? Yeah. We don’t have Woman Warrior. Now, I recognize that this is a British university, but still. C’mon people.

    Second, oh the joy of the archive. I had to do a research paper on an archive, specifically, and archival practice, generally, last term. It was amazing stuff. And by that I mean, I was amazed at how many cliches re: preserving our heritage and our history for future generations that I managed to fit into the final paper. Yes, indeed. I haven’t gotten the grade on that one back yet (despite having turned it in in November, and the next term starting on Monday), so no word yet as to the swaying power of cliches on the professors of this fine institution. If they react as I suspect they will, I won’t need to worry about the massive book list my Women in Ireland, c. 1760-1960 professor just mailed me. ‘Cause I’ll be packing my knives and going.

    Anyway, about that history reading list: I guess this is a master’s program, but goodness! I’m jealous of how fun your courses sound. Mine are interesting, but they’re lacking that excitement a really good lit class can generate. I keep trying to convince myself that I’m doing the right thing studying what I’m studying, but doing the right thing isn’t very fun sometimes. Right. This is a really long comment, so I’m gonna stop now, while I can.


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