Dis 4, 2005

The Pack

Thinking over what I've written. What a pack of lies intimate journals are, particularly if one tries too hard to be truthful.

Charles Ritchie
December 4, 1941
Diary entry

Too many things now. I finished a story this morning. Within it moves an old-style circumcision, an elder who speaks Spanish when drunk, and a neon-green spider. I'm in the middle of editing the eight-page monster. It's in Filipino, and only the second story in a span of a month that I wrote in Filipino. The first was a translation for Myke's intents and purposes. Vlad gets the original English. There was a week's space between both versions.

Also, two poems yesterday, both of inferior quality. But sacred. It's something I must go through to make sure I'm not pushing my students through anything more than half the work I'm in. They're writing two poems? Two poems and two stories for me. Reading a novel and six poems? A novel and an anthology.

See, whenever I draft a module, I tend to get excited. I want everything on the reading list. That takes less than a day. Most of the work comes from pruning the list, making it more feasible, more humane. To keep this balance, I must myself go through a proportionate module.

Gadamer's revival of Aristotle's phronimos comes to mind. In a crude sum, they're saying that against the clean precision of techne, the craftsman works with the vicissitudes of "feeling through" and endless adjustment that defines phronimos. If you have not experienced it, says Kant, you don't know it.

Again, I'm not working in the best of circumstances. Things could be worse, yes. I'm just glad that at this juncture, I have the luxury of both sides of a written page.

We've started the cycle of PANTAS's workshops. If the coming stories will not go far from the pitch of the first eight pieces, then it's going to be one hell of a semester. And I mean hell in the best possible way, as hot as cool is (or vice versa). I hope I'll be in this sem a hundred percent. My body just isn't. Damned head. Damned gut. The will must push.

I'm tempted to say: "if I don't get a life over the holidays, I sure hope a life is out to get me." But why should I say such things?

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