... which is really only about six inches away from here:

Amateurism, sentimentality and kidney stones.
I'm back in the hotel room after the conference. There's an informal next steps meeting tomorrow, but for all intents and purposes this very strange odyssey, which hasn't been a year long, but which I keep describing that way, conflating, or perhaps reasonably dating even before it had conscious intent, my work for this conference to the events of "Day 4" in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

I don't, yet, necessarily have a lot to say about the conference, but I took copious, though perhaps somewhat incoherent notes, which I'll type up and put here under general lock in the next few days while I can still make sense of my admonishments to myself to relate this or that random phrase to this or that random thing.

One of the many themes that emerged today was that of exile, which was something we came to from multiple places. This felt personally resonant for me in a way that's hard to articulate without going into a very long and somewhat boring narrative about my 20s but is, trust me, central to my essential melancholy.

Exile from normativity, from acceptable levels of fascination, from narrative, from desire, from home, from the idea of home -- all of these came up over and over again, and, in a discussion at dinner got related back to the idea of secrets, which aside from the personal resonance, I thought spoke to particular elements of my paper. To condense drastically, it would be fair to say the fictional mourned have secrets and are exiles, and those who so mourn have secrets and are exiles for doing so.

Among the many remarkable things about the conference was the degree to which for most of it I thought the anxiety that I often see from institutionally affiliated scholars about the seriousness, reception of, or personal involvement in fandom was largely absent. This was refreshing, but somewhat peculiar, although I found it not less aggrieving when those anxieties ultimately did bubble up to the surface at the end of the day.

I recognize, that in all and any things, being out is a privilege. In regard, particularly, to fandom activities and academics there are a number of issues in play including the sexism of the Academy that must necessarily make women work harder to prove their seriousness and make women more easily judged for and harmed by any and all indications of sexuality or lack there of.

Having stumbled on my own history and proclivities more than once, I now live a necessarily, sometimes uncomfortably, public life. Nothing is more dangerous to my mind than secrets (except perhaps heights, cobras, certain species of jellyfish, and large dogs), than having something someone could hold over my head, ever and at all. Of course, I have the luxury of making that stand, being without institutional affiliation wherein everything from my grief to my sexual expression to my gender identity would make my words and my intellect suspect.

Being out -- about anything you feel you need to be closeted about -- can be a hard, miserable thing. It is not always safe or pragmatic. But if we treat our passions, our intellectual fixations, our modes of being as shameful, we are in exile, from our selves, from our kind, from those we speak for, and from our fellow travelers, no matter how different from us they may be.

If, in the scholarship, we continue to disguise, misrepresent and masque our fannish investment when doing work about or through the lens of fan studies, we are creating work that is suspect because its originating perspective is, often obviously, obscured. This impacts not just the quality of the finished product and its reception (because thanks, I can tell when a paper is produced by an acafan trying to hide that fact and it muddies the work for me), but also impacts the scholarly relationship with fandom which is already damaged and toxic due to a history of bad actors.

Coming out, in this regard or any other, comes with costs. Always. But in all this talk of exile and secrets today and all this time I have spent with fictional men without faithful friends, consistent lovers, and loyal families, all I can ask is that you think of what truth remains unoffered in your life and offer it. This is, perhaps, the only thing I know how to ask on behalf of the stories I love, but it feels, right now, very important to me that I do so.

We all have secrets, and we are all in exile, but we do so many so much honor every time we choose to speak and come a little bit closer to home.

plan

Jul. 9th, 2010 06:50 am
About to get dressed and go do an errand. Then I'll come back and pack, head to St. Katherine's Dock, get food things, then head to the station for the train to Bristol. On the train to Bristol I'll do some work, which I'll send when I have Internet when I arrive at my hotel there.

Then I'll type up the notes I made for my response (btw, that analogy is really the devil, it's nearly impossible to avoid, I'll explain at some point because it's so comical) and then meet Kali and her partner at a pub.

At least I got my fucking WIAD done.

And while both of these things without specification make my life sound WAY more glamorous than it is, hey, there's nothing like the sweet smell of contracts in the morning. And talking TV production. Yayish.

Zoom zoom zoom.

zoom

Jul. 3rd, 2010 02:58 pm
By now, even with her brother's speed and efficiency, Patty should be safely on her way to Ohio. It's just for a couple of weeks to see everyone, but I've gotten particularly used to having her around.

For the many new people who may not know, Patty's an archaeologist, which means she generally spends 8 - 12 weeks a year (all in one burst) somewhere isolated and remote. By isolated and remote I mean no Internet, no phone, sometimes no address. She's been places where I couldn't mail her letters and places that read her letters before they go to me. So that can be tough. Considering that she left on one of these digs three weeks after we first started dating, I am more or less used to them, however.

That said, I've been spoiled lately. After a very small gap (a couple of months) between trips to Syria (where they read our letters) and Oman (where she had no address and got pneumonia), Patty's been home for more than a year (a few visits to her family aside). We'd thought she be away this summer, but once it became clear she'd be in Cardiff their academic calendar has meant she's more or less home until late September this year. And Cardiff is civilization -- phones and email and letters and packages and everything. And I'll be able to visit and she should be able to meet me over in Europe when I'm on a business trip in the fall too. So in the scheme of things, that's going to be easy, even if the gap between this trip and the next one (India) probably won't be more than a month (and that's optimism, I know).

Even so, I miss her and Patty worries (I always cry at the airport when she goes off on her long trips) because I certainly feel like sometimes I can be pretty dysfunctional. Also, she likes me. Right now, though, I need to be focused on finishing work that must be done before the Bristol trip and the Bristol trip itself.

My plan is to make all the annoying calls this weekend: my bank, my mobile company and print out all my itineraries and reservations/receipts, so I'm not making myself last-minute panicked on Wednesday (I leave directly from my office that night). I also need to prepare my response paper for the article I'm paired with, and it probably wouldn't hurt for me to figure out where my brain is about the whole of my own research which has been a strange thing to live with over the last several months.

As for the event itself, I'm excited. Full stop. But the coinciding of the trip with the one year anniversary of a fictional fact central to the paper's theme is bizarre to me, and since nothing about this work is about my uninvolvement with its subject, I keep waiting to be hit with something other than the rather extreme compartmentalization and sense of having a damn job to do that I have about it right now. Not that that isn't fitting. It's fucking fitting.

My trip is, for now, as planned as it's going to get (and perhaps as planned as it is possible to get), and although I may really find myself regretting going to the Imperial War Museum when I've been on a plane all night and am high strung and have probably slept dubiously, that's what makes the most sense in my schedule right now. Knowing myself, and my history of solo travel, it's also perfectly clear to me that I am trying to make this hard, because I find solace in that.

Right now, my only real quandry is whether to take the small suitcase that will make the constant moving around on this trip easier, or the giant suitcase, so I can fill it with gluten-free bakewell tarts on the flight back.

May 2016

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