accounting again and again for myself – i am scholar, only sort of, it is an unreconcile fit

MORNING MUSING. i find myself accounting again and again for myself as i navigate rendering myself legible, viable, particularly in the realm as scholar, even neophyte scholar. i find myself brushing up against conventions of scholarliness and bristle at my inability to access, to walk within its framing structures.

the most obvious categorical excluder is a lack lay in the area of memory function. even in neophyte state, my peers capacity to recall sources and lineage of their thinking is uncanny. this arena of precise recall will never be a strong point for me. not because i sabotage myself, of course i do but not in the sphere of memory. my noggin has excelled at forming relationships, seeing patterns, grasping concepts even as a punk ass scrawny kid. but never have i excelled at rote recall, names, dates and labels slip from mind. it was a problem noted in my academic performance as early as first grade as i floundered over forcing vowels, dates, and listings of the states off my lips. in this day had i wallowed as i did it would be catalogued as a perceptual anomaly, a learning difference. hmmm, a handful of recent empirical studies even suggest that my brain memory/language function increase the odds that dementia is a likelihood.

of course, i did not begin my doctoral studies to don the label scholar. that i might bare up under scholar was inconceivable. yet, i have been told this is what i am moving into by my advisor, that i am to navigate my was as scholar. WTF, me. i came to tech with a burning question. applications filled out, documents requested all and submitted with the intent to unearth the meaning of the pattern i see. to follow my gut i entered this academic domain to flesh it and put meat on the bones of my ideas. i did not come so that i can spew theory. now, surely, i can spew theory particularly if it aligns with observations i had already made. and i toy with my expanding vocabulary.

anyhow, this lack of recall rubbed me sorely last night. i was reviewing some of barbara bolt’s writings. sigh she is both artist and scholar. how do i know? well besides her website, her writings are littered with evidentiary trail of sources outside of herself. she accounts for her notions through the vehicle of the who is who of others suppositions, giving them their credit. she dredges the archives for scholarly carcasses to justify her thinking, her lineage, and does it well.

sure i have begun this practice of culling the archives but it is a battle with my “essential” (ha) neurological [dys]function. and to compound that reading is a bitch. i break out white cards to isolate lines on the page, to cut the textual clutter that pulls me into the white gutters. and then  i may spend several days lost in one paragraph. well only if it rings both true and important (mild exaggeration) the rest are lost to me. i mull the ones i latch onto through my lived experienced. i dance with them, pushing this way and that, allowing then to have their way with me. eventually i loose the mental tether to the source. the notions melds with my own fully assimilating within my mental constructs. resistance is futile (thank you 7 of 9…so, i do have some recall). and, sure i have been quoting the shit out of judith butler and others, but it is in the moment of reading a line at a time. looking at the lists from bolt and butler as they correlate their ideas with the plethora of those who thunk them thoughtfully before them and question how i possibly can consume that much textual data.

RECALL and READING differences would seem to exclude me from the category of scholar. so i lean heavily on my identity as artist in which i am allowed, even encouraged, to be my own primary source. bolt is also artist. damn. this makes it difficult for me to claim artist as a viable excuse for accounting my skirting of full emersion into an identity as scholar. her ability to live close to the convention of smart and artist leaves me undone. of course it would not do so if i thought she was a textual bore or her art was in the vein of bluebonnet paintings. double dang.

now on the other side, bolt supports my notion that visual artists working intentionally or not to bend conventions also have a writing practice! thank you, barbara bolt. sometime during my academic research the next few years i will be contacting you relative to your writing and making practice. i have already added some of your texts into my writing samplings for psycholinguist analysis…which is uncovering interesting patterns…this i find fun. and do not worry for i do not hope or intent the “colonization of the arts by cultural theory” nor to disappear arts very materiality has disappeared into the textual, the linguistic and the discursive.” I do not hold that “art is constructed in and through language,” nor thatThere is nothing outside of discourse” with “language is its vehicle.” (Barbara Bolt, “Introduction.” Carnal Knowledge: Towards a ‘New Materialism’ Through the Arts. 2013.) I definitely am of the mind that art arises in carnal knowledge.

pattern seeing is one area of huge overlap between artist and scholar, regardless of citing sources. both artist and scholar to be viable are dependent on seeing, processing and interpreting patterns. perhaps the combo of my questions and being pattern seer is why i think i can have at least a toe in the scholarly realm despite the damnation i experience in recall and reading. ha. wink!

image: incessant thinking and incessant thinking again, 2012.


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