While still in grad school and still at the onset of my research project, I came across this workbook authored by Wendy Laura Belcher entitled ‘Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success’. The title is very catching and captivating especially to those want to pursue academic publication. To borrow the words of Spivak, to be published is something ‘one cannot not want’.
To pursue publication is a very daunting prospect because writing can be a very scary, painful and frustrating process. Yet, the title of the workbook somehow seems to insist that, on the contrary to what one might think, writing a journal article is not only possible but also relatively easy. It does not only guarantee that one can finish a journal article but also Insists that it can be finished on the 12th week.
As part of The Study Game, I was reading Judith Butler’s work entitled Bodies That Matter this morning. The Study Game refers to the exercise I perform where I retrace and relive the years I have spent in graduate school by studying the texts I have read one course at a time.
Like Gender Trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity, Butlers work on Bodies That Matter is very difficult to understand. I did not fully grasp the ideas conveyed in these text when I have first read them while still in graduate school and little has changed since then. As I revisit these texts, I still do not understand them.
As I have said, I was reading Bodies That Matter this morning and to put it via Candidly, I do not have any clue what Butler was talking about or at least I find it difficult to discern the connections of the different ideas being addressed in her work. I can sense a barrier almost so palpable between myself and the text. It is like hearing a conversation in a different language. When we do not understand the language being spoken, we hear a nose instead of a conversation.
Mad Men is one of my favourite drama series. When it has become available on Netflix, I have watched the whole series that were available as fast and as much as I could. I could not stop watching it the first time and watched the whole series couple of times more.
For obvious reasons, I smoked more that I usually did while watching the programme. I was still a smoker back then. The plot of the story is after all premised within the time where smoking was not yet frowned upon.
In that programme, smoking is associated with strength and smokers are presented in the light of success. The underlying message is: smoking cigarettes makes us strong and courageous. It helps us not only to get through our difficult life but also to thrive in it.
In the beginning, I was just merely watching the sitcom hit in the 90s entitled Friends. The more I watch it, the more I find myself to be studying Friends and treating it like a case Study. In this blog post, I intend to reflect upon my ‘addiction’ to watching Friends, but also how this addiction has made me immune to the humour of my favourite sitcom.
Since ‘Friends’ becomes available on Netflix, I cannot stop watching it. Last weekend for instance, I have spent the whole Saturday watching its episodes after episodes. As much as I do not want to be disrespectful to the experiences of those individuals who are actually struggling with their substance addiction, my watching behaviour last Saturday mimics addictive behaviour if not a symptom of addiction itself. I have lost control and this has already happened in the past.
Unlike the more structurally scheduled programmes on local television channels, Netflix offers us relatively more choices and freedom to watch what we want, when we watch them, and how much of it we want to watch in one sitting. As David Brook once wrote in his book entitled, The Social Animal: ‘freedom without structure is its own slavery’ (2012:58). While my face was glued on the screen watching Friends the whole day last Saturday, I was quite aware that I was being a slave of my own freedom.
An empty page is quite intimidating. It is daunting to look at empty, blank, white page whether it be a word document on the screen computer or a piece of actual paper on one’s desk. To paraphrase Fredrich Nietzsche: ‘when you gaze long into an empty page, the empty page will gaze back into you.’ For a couple of days now, I have been staring into a blank empty page and although it is Static, it has a life ad will of it’s own. The empty page can reciprocate the gaze and it does look down at me.
A professional writer I am not and perhaps I will never be. I do not possess the necessary talent, creativity, and discipline to become a published author or to earn a living from the craft of writing. Although writer I am not, writing I love nonetheless. There is nothing more gratifying, at least for me personally, to strike an empty page with words of my own expressing my thoughts however incoherent these thoughts might be.