"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Sunday, January 04, 2009

English majors

i am beginning to wonder if my interest in significant others has found basis largely in the fact that, on some level, i know what i want and i know what i lack.

it's my way of interpreting the knight-in-shining-armour myth: i'm not looking for someone to rescue me, but to provide those things i'm missing in my life.

it occurred to me this evening, as i was reading a book review written by a fresh-out-of-college English major, a little older than myself. i found myself envying her, spending her working life reading books and writing snappy articles about them, this is the life i want. her writing seemed easy, relaxed, honest. i read my blog posts from the last three years and sense distress. my writing has taken on the clunkiness of function: burdened with academese and pent-up sentiments. never really beautiful. i wish i had the literary rhythms of someone who spends her days and nights reading and writing about literature and poetry. i spend (most) days and nights studying or teaching from textbooks, examining education law, feeling miserable.

then i found out this person whose article i was reading was recently "laid-off." and i recalled my mother's voice telling me when i was a teen: "you can't be an English major. you need a specialized skill no one else has. anyone can read and write." fast-forward: i find myself getting certified to teach special education. it's tedious, aggravating, soul-sucking work, but at least it is specialized.

when i think about all my relationships – only 3 so not enough to be conclusive, but enough to suggest a pattern – the allure, in all three cases, was that they were literary. the first boyfriend was a poet, the second a journalist and creative writer, my third and current boyfriend a rhetorician, creative writer, English teacher, aspiring journalist.

this somehow makes perfect sense. i always wanted to be a writer, my oldest and most consistent memories are of writing short stories, carrying hand-made books and pamphlets around in my pockets, trying to start novels. but now i will never be a writer, not in the literary sense, and so my fascination seems to have found other outlets. my early lust for literature, redirected.

i'm sure there's a Freudian interpretation for such a phenomenon, but i'll settle for Lacan instead, who used to say: That missing love—that lack—is a wound that drives you to fill its emptiness. None of this drive has anything to do with true love, except for the fact that, in all the arousal, true love is missing. (source)

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