I’m making a commitment for November to write 30 minutes a day, every day (that’s 7 days a week). Right now my plan is to do this writing first thing — even before I check my email — though not before I make coffee. We’ll see how that goes. I’m talking about it in public because I want to accountability, plus I want to explore though weekly blogging about the practice of writing every day. Because my blogging also doesn’t get the time and attention it deserves.
This goes against the way I’ve generally written. I’ve always been something of a binge writer, writing in intense bursts when either inspiration struck or deadlines loomed. Yet I know that’s not the most productive or healthy way to write. One of my Twitter compadres, Raul Pacheco-Vega writes every morning for 2 hours. His daily discipline inspires me.
My other thought is that by writing first thing in the morning, I’m paying myself first. That is, I’m putting my research and writing ahead of everything else, from grading to job search work. This relates to some of the advice Wendy Belcher gives in Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks — that the grading will get done, but for many of us our writing gets a lower priority and ultimately never gets our time.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but the plan crystalized as I read Ryan Cordell’s “Writing 20 Minutes Every. Single. Day.” and the more recent “Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June” by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson.… Read the rest
Not a video game.
This is a busy time for me. Yeah, yeah, Annemarie, I hear you say. We’re all busy. And I’m sure you are. But right now I’ve got three huge piles of grading nagging at me, job application deadlines and revisions to an article on Betita Martinez that need to be done.
So what has sucked up 6 hours since Friday? Trying to find a way to deal with spam traffic on this domain.
Mostly I don’t think a lot about spam. In fact, thanks to the ease of using WordPress and the general greatness of my host, Laughing Squid (how can you not want to host with a place called Laughing Squid?), I don’t think much about my multi domain install. It does what I need it to do, which is let me set up blogs for my classes and accounts for my students and then we do our thing. Askimet does its thing and, when I think about it, I empty the spam and delete the crap that hasn’t already been filtered.
I didn’t think I was in an arms race. I didn’t notice my numbers creeping up across all my archived course blogs. Then on Friday afternoon I got an email from the Squid help desk saying that since my domain was using close to three times the allowed “compute cycles” my hosting plan allows that they were moving me up to the more expensive plan. But even that wasn’t going to be enough. In addition to Mega Squid hosting, I was going to need two tacked on packages.… Read the rest
This morning on yet another one of my social media spaces, a friend commented that as much as Facebook is creepy, LinkedIn is even creepier in its suggestions of people users may know or want to comment on. Her comments reminded me how annoying I find that that LinkedIn is always trying to get into my address books, making it much harder to say no than yes.
Then I started wondering, why do I even have LinkedIn?
Basically I have it because LinkedIn tricked my mother. One day I opened an email that said “Rita Perez wants to connect with you on LinkedIn.” This seemed possible or even probable. My mother works in the business community so her using LinkedIn seemed reasonable. I pictured her at her desk using the business acceptable social media time waster. It could be fun, thought me and so I opened an account.
Once I did, I realized my mother did have a LinkedIn profile, but that she didn’t use it, that it had harvested her Gmail account and emailed (or emauled) everyone in her address book. We never exchanged a word on LinkedIn, though I think we endorsed each other.
But now my account was set up. Trickles of notifications started coming in from former editing clients and students wanting to connect. I was pleased — I’m always pleased to see my former students and their endorsements were like little pats on the back, especially when they endorsed me for skills I didn’t know I had.… Read the rest
This was a good morning. I was surprised and very pleased to find out that my paper for MLA14, “Our Kind of People: Textual Community and the Latina Edited Anthology” was accepted for inclusion in the Chicana and Chicano Literature Division ¿Anthologizing Latinidad? panel and that the roundtable special- session “Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students,” which I’m on with Liana Silva, Abigail Scheg, Lee Ann Glowsenski and Tara Betts, was also accepted.
The abstract for my talk:
“Our Kind of People: Textual Community and the Latina Edited Anthology”
Readers see the authorial decisions as definitive while editorship remains invisible. Within a text, editors are seen, to the extent they are seen at all, as serving a generally administrative or organizational role. Yet in reality editors act as facilitators, filters and / or gatekeepers — albeit sometimes uncomfortable ones — deciding who and what is included and excluded, encouraging writing that otherwise might never be published or even written. By making these decisions, they decide whose thoughts merit inclusion, which ones belong and which do not, controlling how and if a subject or author will be presented. Still further, editors decide through which point of view or lens an artistic, social or political movement will be viewed. Discussing the role of editor, Norton editor Alane Salierno Mason, wrote “[e]diting a literary anthology is like forming a social club — you get to decide who are ‘your’ kind of people.” This paper focuses on anthologies as textual communities made up by women of color — especially Latinas.
… Read the rest
Disclosure: I finished my Ph.D, in English in 2011. Since then I’ve worked as a freelance editor, writing consultant and adjunct.
There have been a number of articles lately in Slate and The Chronicle (and elsewhere) expressing regret for the time spent getting a Ph.D., feelings of failure, warnings to others not to go and generally expressing what, to me, reads like a great deal of
entitled exhausted (?) angst. In response, Emory Ph.D. student Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote an excellent blog post on reasons why students of color should look at getting a Ph.D. and the power said degree has in helping one make their way through a white world.
Yes, finishing my dissertation and getting my Ph.D. were the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yes, there were bad times, including moments when I was sick, out of money and (the worst) faced with racism on the part of my fellow graduate students who openly expressed their suspicions that I hadn’t gotten where I was on merit but was a product of affirmative action (which, whatever my merits, I am). But getting to work on my Ph.D., becoming the first in my family to be called “doctor” was and is the greatest privilege of my fortunate life. I got to spend a decade studying literature, mostly Chicana/o literature, which continues to inspire me to tears at its beauty. Along the way I got to teach, advise and edit undergraduate and graduate students. I got to do all this while my sister worked cleaning houses, serving food, doing retail and generally working at whatever she could to get by without health insurance or any security, asking me to recommend books she could read for thirty minutes or so before she goes asleep.… Read the rest
This is a sketch of a proposed project I’m working on with Lizette Gurerra.
Inspiration: This project draws inspiration from several sources. One classic archival assignment is to bring students of history or cultural studies into the archive, randomly assign them a box and ask them to write an essay or construct a historical narrative based on the materials. At the same time, there is also a tradition of archivist traveling to classrooms and bringing with them a “trunk” of materials for students to handle and examine.
Project Summary: The purpose of this project is to facilitate the construction of narratives, making use of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center archive materials through the creation of virtual boxes that can be explored by educators, students, scholars and community members. The narratives created by the “box” users would ultimately become part of the archive and the boxes’ history.
Project Rationale The ability to work with archival materials in order to research and construct historical narratives has previously been limited to those with the privilege of accessing the archive in person. These institutions rarely are the same ones designated as “Hispanic serving.” This project would allow educators, students (6-12 as well as college and university students) and community members to have the powerful experience of opening an archive box and working with the original materials.
How would it work: Boxes should be able to both be randomly assigned by teachers and / or users so as to create a sense of surprise and adventure, especially in a classroom situation. … Read the rest
About a year ago, frustration over the banning of Chicana/o writings by the state of Arizona, and the hate of all things Latino that seemed to be spreading across the country became a topic of conversation on Twitter and in essays written by some of us for Aztlán Reads. This might have been the end of it were it not for the energy and organization of Santino Rivera of Broken Sword Publications. Santino put out a call for writing, welcoming both poetry and prose and encouraging all of us to contribute. We brought the call to NACCS, making an appeal for Chicana/o scholars to contribute.
I have to admit, even at this point, I didn’t think the anthology would happen. There’s so much to publishing and editing and I’ve seen too many projects die from the complications of life intervening. I did send a contribution — something theoretical on the mythology of Aztlán. I don’t think it was what Santino was imagining, but he wrote me back encouraging me to expand the autobiographical section of my essay. I happily did so, watching via Twitter as Santino edited the collection, got artwork for the cover and, sooner than I could have imagined, announced that the anthology was going to press.
As exciting as it was to get my copy and read through the diverse contributions, what Art Meza has organized for tonight at Cypress Park Library is even more exciting. Tonight a number of us will do readings from the anthology and sign copies of the book for the public.… Read the rest
Sorry this blog has been so neglected. There’s been a lot of blogging going on over on my Chicana Feminisms course blog. I had the intention of blogging here weekly about the experience of teaching this class, but well, clearly that didn’t happen.
I’ve definitely enjoyed teaching at LMU — the students have been great and the Chicana/o studies department is wonderfully supportive. So I’m excited to say I’m going to be teaching two courses in the fall. One class is going to look at Latino Los Angeles through its depictions in popular culture. The other is a class on Latina coming of age narratives. More details will be coming soon, but I wanted to put this much up so it’d be clear the blog wasn’t quite dead. … Read the rest
In the midst of Christmas celebration, I was forwarded an email from South End Press with the subject line Imagine Your World Without South End Press asking for donations to keep the press running. If you can, donate, they need and are worthy of our help.
The plea for funds included the following paragraph
Regretfully, we don’t have to imagine a world without one of our most important movement presses; Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press shuttered in 1996.Kitchen Table was cofounded in Boston by, among others, veteran activist and movement intellectual Barbara Smith—three years after South End Press’s 1977 launch in the same city. The founding spark was a suggestion by Audre Lorde, who said to Smith, “We really need to do something about publishing.” Kitchen Table was among our first movement presses, “an activist and advocacy organization devoted to the liberation struggles of all oppressed people.” And now it’s gone, the press itself and yes, even some of its most beloved books: In 1986, they published Audre Lorde’s groundbreaking work I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities, now out of print. As is their landmark publication This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Unimaginable as it might seem, This Bridge will likely never be published again; even used copies are extremely difficult to obtain.
That last sentence leapt out at me because, getting ready to teach a course next semester on Chicana feminism, I’ve been trying to figure out ways for my students to read This Bridge.… Read the rest
[This is my attempt at creating a Latino/a studies (well, so far mostly literature) course. Do let me know what you think. If you have any ideas for films that could be included, please say! Thanks!]
While Chicano/as and Latino/as have been integral to U.S. history and culture, why have they are frequently and consistently been depicted as either outsiders or foreign and how is Chicana/o and Latina/o identity negotiated? In this course we will examine Latino/a and Chicano/a cultural production and its relationship to both larger U.S. culture and other U.S. racial and ethnic groups. We will also question the development and / or existence of Latinidad — the relationship between and common culture among Latino/as in U.S. culture and how it manifests itself through cultural expressions such as literature, music, films and social media. Our readings focus on writers from various Latino/a groups.
Through readings, screenings and other multimedia sources, our goal is to use recent literary and cultural theory to understand the paradox inherent in U.S. Chicana/o and Latina/o culture. Our topics will include: migration, language, the body, gender roles, sexual orientation and identity politics in the works of authors and artists. The requirements for this class include the creation of a public blog as a course project, adding to the discussion of Latina/o literature as part of the recent project AztlanReads.com.
- Michelle Habell-Pallan and Mary Romero Latino/a Popular Culture (ed.)
- Julia Alvarez, In the Name of Salomé
- Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima
- Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera
- Black Artemis, Picture Me Rollin’
- Angie Cruz, Soledad
- Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
- Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban
- Ana Menéndez, Loving Che
- Ernesto Quiñonez, Bodega Dreams
- Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets
- Esmeralda Santiago, When I was Puerto Rican
- Helena Maria Viramontes, Their Dogs Came With Them
Schedule of Readings
Week 1 Defining Chicano/a and Latino/a
“Historical Contexts of Latino/a Presence in United States” Juan González “The Latino Imaginary: Dimensions of community and identity” Juan Flores
Week 2 Chicano Landscapes
Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima
Héctor Calderón,”Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima: A Chicano Romance of the Southwest.”… Read the rest