22 January 2021

0 truly, they do not know my life


for real. 

have the people producing the curriculum for these courses and fellowships on online teaching ever taught online? are they online right now? is teaching this online course on online teaching the extent of their online teaching experience? is that why all the articles about online teaching in this online teaching course are from 2019? 


this is not breaking news! this is like year old news at least. 

i update my syllabus approximately every freaking day. c'mon. 

every class makes one or a number of arguments. these classes make the argument that "we here at [institution X] care so little for your time and your success as a teacher in a crisis attempting to support 100 students from your bedroom four days a week that we're not even going to go through the motions of making this class applicable to the reality of your life." 

people, that is unkind. 

people, i have no patience for unkindness. and carelessness. no patience at all. tbh, i have no patience for much of anything right now. 

i cried today. over annoying, medium-sized beans nonsense that unkindly triggered a parade of past horrors, which was real fun times. 

but the cry was good and necessary. maybe not adequate to meet the needs of the moment and the approximately 19 MAJOR THINGS that have happened in the last three weeks, each of which warranted a proper cry, but it was something-- if not entirely a start. 

burvil is scheduled to get her vaccine today. there were two positives in her facility last week. 

this month has felt like 4,000 years. 

time moves so slowly and yet it's all over so fast. things cannot happen fast enough and then they're over and it feels like they never happened. 

howard started this week. already, it feels like the third week of school. 

there was a tweet that said it's as though we've spent the last four years with the music at high volume and now the music's off but we still hear phantom notes in our heads. 

it is simultaneously so loud and terribly, frighteningly quiet, like just after a snow. 

four times yesterday, i talked with a group of 18 and 19 year olds about the inauguration, anger, and michelle obama. again and again and again and again, each group slightly different, each discussion arriving at different ends. four versions of the same show, each shifting slightly to accommodate the changing audience. 

in the latter half of the last class, claude crawled into my lap and looked at me with WHY O WHY eyes then laid down his head and put his polkadotted paws over his ears.

four years. longer than it took to do my phd. 

four years, three cities, at least ten different homes. an unstable period in more ways than one. 

this was january 2017. my 2017 emphasis on The Peaceful Transition of Power has aged especially well. thank god though, garebear and burvil have both lived to see the end. 

the thing is time is so slow but then things happen so quickly. 

in a two day period last july, multiple jobs-- collectively equating to a livable wage-- fell into my lap. 

the times have changed but they also haven't changed that much. i have now spent the entirety of the trump presidency trying to write an essay about kim kardashian and lost time!! 

wherever you go, there you are

debo's sends me links to op-eds in the new york times that talk about what will happen to our country and don't mention the phrase "white supremacy" once. 

a student makes eye contact with me on her screen and critiques the "uncommented upon nationalistic overtones" of biden's inaugural speech. 

it is the same, but it is flowing forward. the future is coming. 

i've a postcard purchased during a 2017 trip to margate that reads: "MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE: HAVE FUN NOW." they weren't wrong. 

increasingly though, admittedly, i have no fucking clue how fun looks in 2021. 

for now maybe, it's just a walk with K tomorrow along the mall, seeing the fences come down, the army moving out, and the city putting itself back together, reconstituting itself to bear the awful losses that lay ahead regardless of who's in 1600 penn.

this post has no ending so i'll just leave you here. 

17 January 2021

0 these two sentences are what i have for you:

i went on a date and we had ethiopian, and it was my turn to buy dinner and i gave a $15 tip, which was more than 25% of our bill but also didn't feel like it was that generous, but when we went to pick it up the woman, when she heard my name, she was so visibly and effusively verbally grateful for that $15 in these hard hard times, and, ever since, i cannot block out her face, i cannot stop hearing her voice, as i kissed him i enjoyed it whilst also harboring in my mind that i really would've given more because i knew it mattered but, even though i knew it mattered, i did not know it mattered nearly that much, and if it'd known it mattered that much i would've tipped $50 or maybe even $100 because the world is shit and there are troops in my city and i feel like the only thing we can do in these hard hard times is identify the individuals in our orbit for whom we can do something and to do that very small thing. 

so she felt i did something and i feel like what i did was sorely inadequate, and now i sit here pondering if maybe i can order ethiopian again on the same day of the week in order to figure out who she was because i feel i can't just call the restaurant and ask for her venmo, because even though i don't have a lot of money, i've an unrelenting longing to give. 

13 January 2021

1 i do not know what to tell you

the helicopters are back. 

they were notably absent on the 6th. 

it was weirdly quiet. every time i'd think the sirens were out my window, they were actually on tv. 

all of it was on tv. that was not true in june. 

there was a hearse, right? a black hearse, parked in front of the capitol. i saw it. i noted it to debo on the phone and she saw it and asked what it was and i said that is a hearse and there is a poster on the windshield with nancy pelosi's name

i've not heard anyone mention that. 

did you see it? 

truly, i do not think i made it up. if so, it's a delusion into which i carted debo fully. 


there was a time in london, early on, when i was grief-stricken and wounded and those are the times, i find, when it's ok to watch horrific things, to fully let one's self submerge in the horror so you can write about the horror. because you're already there, in the horror, yeah? so why the hell not. 

i was Writing then. i am not Writing now. 

this was really early days. i didn't even have a desk yet, but was using the coffee table that came with the apartment, sitting on the floor in an L shape with my back against the plastic sofa and my feet under the table. 

i wrote assignments #2 and #3 of my phd in this pose. the chunk linking jackie to 9/11, which years later became this article

and watched the entirety of the CBS and NBC coverage of the jfk assassination and the CNN coverage of 9/11 in this position. 

"the fog of war" mcnamara called it. the way the story is told when we are in it is how i apply that same notion. 

we don't know how it's going to end, nor when. the outcome is unclear. we narrate as best we can, but the details slip through and later, weeks on, slowly in a trickle, they come out. and we learn the panic buttons were disabled and congresspeople were giving tours on the 5th. 

i wonder about the hearse though. because you know that took planning, some level of coordination. children are not allowed to sled on these grounds and these guys drive a hearse up to the capitol steps? 

when lindear and i talked the other night, we workshopped worst case scenarios for the coming week, in an effort to neutralize our fears. our scenarios were pretty brutal then. today, they seem rather quaint. 

i would say the situation is evolving. 


i went on a date last night. twas a trés trés 2020/1 DC date. 

we walked from my house down past the white house and the mall and over to the korean war memorial and up to the lincoln memorial, all heavily fenced, all surrounded by military. 

it was so dark it felt like 11 o'clock. it was 6 pm. 

the police seemed to be closing roads behind us on the whole walk back up. 

there were more helicopters today. maybe one every hour or 45 minutes. 

there was a proper plane late last night, as i lay in bed reading a book about the splintering of the republican party. a distinctive and inappropriate noice that made me clench my jaw so tight that it was still sore this morning. 


i spent late last week so grateful that i wasn't teaching during the putsch. joke's on me! i get to teach next week. TWICE. i have to paint my face and costume myself and explain this to 80 people, aged 17-19, approximately. lord, be with us all. 


K and i have been going for four mile walks around the mall on sundays. this coming sunday is cancelled due to the insurrection. 


my grocery order came today. i've planned ahead so i can make burgers and homemade pretzels and mulled wine and tofu katsu. 

odds are high i'll be living on cereal. 


the helicopters are back. like, casually. circling. surveilling. throughout the day. 

i don't know why that's the thing but it is. 

they're flying high so it's nothing like june. 

nothing has been like last june-- which isn't a consolation but an indictment. 

june was hellish and that hellishness was unwarranted. this, THIS is hell and hell has not been brought to bear. 

they drove a hearse up to the steps of the capitol. 


my aunt texts me that i should order printer cartridges because there's going to be a shortage due to people working from home. 

i feel like this was a story that went viral last april. i text back that i'm focusing on food in expectation of a curfew and an inability to leave my house. 

she tells me that there has been violence on both sides and its overblown and she just wishes people would stop being so political. 

my sore jaw clenches. 


i'm teaching a class on anger this semester. in constructing the welcome email to tell my kids it's going to be ok and that i'm aware there's a pandemic, i wrote that i hoped the class would help them process their feelings over the last year. 

and then i realized that was not enough. 


it is a LIFETIME. 

of grief and violence and discrimination and anger. 

pelosi's staff knew to cut the lights, block the door and get under the table. 

that is what we are working with this semester. 

they are 17, 18, 19. this is their first year of college, second semester. this was their first election. this is their first "peaceful transition of power." 

my anger, it is capacious.


the helicopters are back. my jaw is clenched. my plants, they are all stationed nearer to the sun. they do no longer try so hard. spring is coming. that man at the end of the street is moving out. the fence is probably gonna be there for a long, long while. the fencing surrounds us, we fling our embellishments upon it. 


i do not know what will happen. like you, i do not know where this will end. 

to be clear: i do not think it has ended. 

and that is a fucking terrifying thing to sit with, to write with, teach in, live in, date in, cook dinner in, go to sleep in and awaken to.

not that statehood is a cure or anything, but seriously, for real, c'mon: #DCStatehoodNow.

03 January 2021

0 i wrote a thing

about the fence, that i forgot to plug here

the white nationalists are coming back to town this week, protesting the vote certification on the 6th. if you're looking for ways to support people on the ground in DC, violá

01 January 2021

0 truly, not where i saw the year starting