Could I borrow your pseudonym for awhile? I mean, I like mine just fine, despite the obvious challenges of trying to be taken seriously while impersonating a dead dog. Still, I'm not complaining. The old sweater really does feel pretty comfy, if you know what I mean -- and I know you do. Anyhoo, I was hoping we could come up with some kind of barter arrangement whereby I might borrow your moniker from time to time in exchange for, well, maybe delicious low-fat recipes, since I have followed your fine example and embraced a healthy new Lifestyle Adjustment Program. (It's going great, thanks, but do you think there is any correlation between blogging and the need for such adjustments? I have found myself wondering about that a lot recently, while pedaling away on the stationary bike in the basement and not blogging.)
Here's the thing, Dr. C.: Life feels pretty fricking Crazy right now, which is why I'm thinking your pseudonym might be right at home here in our quirky little corner of the blogosphere. If we can't have your name, maybe we'll just borrow a mode you use from time to time of ticking off a list of things you have to do. Your lists both impress and exhaust us, but I'm realizing that my own calendar lately has been jam-packed with meetings, tasks, and Super-Important Things to Do. For instance, in the last week, I have:
- Attended a meeting of the Committee That, Despite Its Best Intentions, Will Probably Not Resist the Temptation to Micro-Manage Syllabi in the Process of Restructuring the University's General Education Program.
- Attended a meeting of the Committee to Assure That All Incoming Students Read At Least One Fracking Book in Their First Year of College.
- Met with two fundraisers to talk about a range of things I did not learn about in grad school.
- Met with dean to discuss ways to make my program more better and excellenter, despite recent news of still more budget cuts.
- Planned for upcoming meeting with new super high-level administrator on campus, whose positions on Excellence Without Money (™RW Enterprises, LLC) and diversity have yet to be ascertained.
[T]he Madwoman With a Laptop has discovered the lure of publishing outside the usual channels as someone other than her (public, official, professional) self. Her words are, by design, un-authorized, disowned, but it is from this self imposed otherness, this cultivated marginality that they derive their subversive force. Her speech echoes the ravings of the hidden hysteric, the whispers of the churchwomen after the service, the gossip of friends from girlhood, the raunchy wisdom of middle-aged women talking sex, pleasure, menopause. There is a lot of Emily Dickinson in this postmodern Madwoman, playing fast and loose with identity, reveling in the space opened up by declaring oneself a delighted “Nobody” rather than a dreary “Somebody.”Here is my bottom line on the matters of trust and truth that always seem to come up in these discussions of pseudonymity: A liar will lie even if his real name is attached to the words he speaks. (See, for example, Reagan, Ronald W., who once accidentally declared that "Facts are stupid things," the only true thing he ever said.) A truth-teller, on the other hand, will tell you the truth no matter what he calls himself. (See, for example, the searingly honest books published under the fake name of Mark Twain.) When it comes to evaluating the veracity of what you read in the blogosphere, you'd be well advised, as D. H. Lawrence might have said if he had lived to surf the Interwebs, to trust the blog, not the blogger. ("Never trust the artist, trust the tale," Lawrence wrote in Studies in Classic American Literature. "The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.") Truth is more than mere facts, and a slanted telling of the truth may be the most effective means of conveying it. What's in a name? A lot, but nothing close to the whole truth.
And yet: The comfort of my assumed name is not enough to permit me to speak freely of those bio-familial matters to which I alluded earlier. Not yet anyway, not even here in a world called into being nearly five years ago by love and the threat of loss. Bear with me, darlings. I don't mean to be cryptic or coy. I am trying to explain why posting has been light around here lately. I am edging my way forward on what feels like new terrain, trying to figure out how much I can or should reveal in this space of public/private intimacy. It isn't easy. In fact, it's a little Crazy-making.
For now, I will let a picture stand in for all the words I am not prepared to write. It's borrowed from a 2007 piece called "The Impossibility of February," from artist Maira Kalman's gorgeous illustrated blog on the New York Times website. I offer it with love for a woman who, alas, does not have a little dog to be her faithful companion in illness. We got your back, Mom. I swear to dog.