Was going to write about traffic

…but you only think that’s a good idea when you’re in traffic. Like it means something symbollically to be locked into the road with strangers everywhere…but it really doesn’t, and it’s really, really not a good idea to write about it.  But, what also isn’t a good idea is posting your dissertation drafts…which I am about to do…

So, I figure if this is a blog on education (or something like that) then I might as well be transparent about the process of my own education.  It’s a funny position being a student and a teacher: both telling your students how to approach writing or reading texts and then reminding yourself that you have to do the same.  It’s also a useful position because it emphasizes just how hard it can be to produce writing that you’re uncertain about, that isn’t perfect, with ideas that haven’t solidified, for an audience that may love it or cringe….I know that feeling with my students and with my own writing.

So, I figure, I’ll post my draft (don’t, I mean, really, don’t feel inclined or even tempted to read it...) because I wanted to remind myself and others that the dissertation and writing is a funny thing of trying to figure it all out…If you were to look at the draft, you would  see me trying to figure out West African divination practices and why they appear in a reading of an archival document (in a poem, at that)…And, it took me a long time to figure out what’s happening and why it would be important…And, it is important if you like to think about the kinds of histories that are told or not told, written or silenced, exhibited or erased…but that took me awhile to figure out.

Draft Photo

So, in my draft you would also see a lot of ellipses, places that say “CITE HERE,” or “NEED this or that,” or my favorite…”WHAT AM I DOING HERE?”.  I don’t know what I’m doing here half the time. Ironically, West African divination rituals are about asking what’s happening in your life and seeking counsel…because a lot of us don’t know what we’re doing and we’re just trying to figure it all out.  At any rate, I wanted to highlight the in-betweenness of all of this work, and because I feel really really good that I finally wrote this goddamn chapter….even if it’s a draft.

Here it is : KINGSLEY Chapter 2 NourbeSe Philip Zong


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