Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Revising the Hen

I'm currently revising the Gallina paper so that I can see about publications. The outgrowth of this particular revision process is a need to find out about Latina writing ancestors to see what if any connection gender and ethnicity play in the discourse they produce. While doing a preliminary search I ran into the issue of class. Even as long ago as the middle ages class influenced the writing women could do. I especially like the motif of submissiveness evident in much of the writing I've looked at so far.

Theories of power/gender/language will be revisited to see how to write a brief history of Latinas' rhetorics and poetics.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pre Semester Meetings

I've completed all but putting the portfolio materials together and purchasing fruit for our meeting. I just received the handbook and am a bit flustered as it's getting late and I won't be able to read through all of it.

No writing of my own accomplished as work on directing program and center has me very much occupied.

However, I am hopeful that we can begin developing a writing program that is rhetorically driven and thus serve students in our department and college and across the disciplines.

More later. Must read the handbook.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Television Rot

I have to break a terrible habit. I watch television too much. So I will have to go cold turkey starting tomorrow/today.

The news is like a soap opera that is repeated and the actors are not that good looking, intelligent, or even decent. Monday during class we were discussing a character in Erdrich's novel, Tracks. This character is not unlike too many people today who go around greedily eyeing other people's possessions and lusting after them. Sometimes my age shows and I worry that I talk about the changes in societal goals to increasingly consumption oriented. Of course, that is how the system is set up. I often wonder how a being can grow spiritually and intellectually in this environment. We are all enthralled with the toys; I'm using a computer that can travel with me. I use my cell phone for travel and long distance calls. I'm almost as greedy as others, especially about books and cds. If I did not pull back every once in a while and read or keep up with professional readings, I'd be lost in the mists of gas that seem to mesmerize a good portion of the population.

However, watching some younger people I get hopeful. I hope the social conscience of these good young people continues to grow and learn and keep itself healthy because there is so much to counter act.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Para Damian

I've been away from writing and thinking about my project. My problem is that I like exploring and writing about history and women and somehow linking those to stories to today but I don't like to have to limit my writing to composition. So there I go.

Some of my ideas and conflicts about hybridity stem from my life and the sense of not really fitting in anywhere. This is true particularly when it comes to academicSpeak. Also, sometimes people get enamored of the "exotic" differences between themselves and minority or class groups they "study" without somehow wanting to appropriate those ideas and making their use seem trivial or worse undoable, even when well intentioned. For example, in '97, Bizzell spoke about teaching a hybrid language. Now really in this country is that really going to happen? I don't think so. We have to teach standard uses of language despite any idealism we may have. Also, Cultures and Communities create the hybrid languages. how can that be taught out of contexts where languages grow and prosper?

Also, Bizzell did not speak about this until after she read some selected essays by one or two Latinas--Anzaldua and Maria Lugones.

Anzaldua's stories are about the changes in communities that occur when cultures clash and mix. She writes about speaking her indigenous indian, spanish, and english(es). At least we can see the differences between formal language for those in the academy and the englishes from texas and mex-tex, in additon to the more formal spanish and indian languages or her moving from one to the other.

Chela Sandoval a Chicana who came to speak at the UofA when I ws there spoke about the ability to move between languages. she used the word differential which reminded of a part of the automobile that makes it possible for shifting to occur and that metphor has always stuck in my head.

Also, Maria Lugones talks about the inabity to truly remove elements of your identity/language when attempting to "assimilate" and speak a purely "proper" english. I am putting those words in her mouth because I don't have her article in front of me now.

So as a teacher and now as an administrator I once again must dance that fine dance between encouraging freedom and creativity in my students' work and getting them to the point where they can engage with other academic fields of writing successfully. I still need to address the departments' needs and the students' needs. Usually they just need more time.

Hasta luego!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Breaking old habits to start anew

Having moved from those near and dear I find that I've developed a new relationship with old bad habits. Now is the time to break them as I pursue fitness of mind and body and work on my responsibilities at work.

No new bad habits will interfere with my goals for the writing center. Next is a grant for funding but we need more space.

Next continue writing/revising the gallina paper and break it up into its various parts. Also read the theorists I mentioned in the new pieces so that I can punch up a lot of the material and most importantly---find a focus.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Momaday, Silko, and King

I've been reading posts from Patrisia Gonzales whose stories of family blessings, matriarchy, etc resonate for me. While she has native american roots along with her mexican heritage, the similarities are uncanny and I assume this is due to the transculturation of Spaniards' Catholicism and indigenous practices. I emphasize the difference between USAmerican Catholicism and Spanish Catholicism because there are great differences.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Native Americans and Language

I am making an effort to resurrect my initial writing impulses I began rereading and expanding on my collection of Momaday and Silko materials.

I found many books, including a children's book by Momaday. I still find his discussions of identity and language powerful, metaphysical, and totally in line with my thinking. Language is more than a tool with which we communicate. Per Momaday, "Man" is made of words. The words and the stories are what we leave behind along of course with memories we make with people. Most of our identification comes from the tribes we belong to and those of us who do not feel as if we belong to any particular group or who feel as if we do not fit with any group can tell our stories as a way of creating our identity within the universe we inhabit.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Losing Books and Going Mad

Okay I 'm supposed to be reading for my projects and to develop the second summer session course and so I had a pile of books around. I stacked a few and put some on shelves. Now the Kingsolver book I was reading and the Antonio Gramsci Prison Notebooks have disappeared. I am retreating into old habits and can't seem to find the dang things. I suppose I'll have to clear out the offices before succumbing to buying new copies of the books. What ticks me off is that my lovely butterfly bookmark which was in High Tide in Tucson will be a casualty.

Nonetheless, planning for courses to be taught in the future has engaged my mind with ideas in the dissertation. This is good as it'll get me focused.

Paula told me my work seems to focus my mind and so I should really consider using work as a way out of the labyrinth I sometimes get lost in.

Tomorrow will respond to Rorty as means to get going on to intuitive knowing. Found an old Murphy book which addressed that and so I placed it among my history of rhetoric books.

More Later,

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Writing on the Blog to Clear the Mind

I have put off writing and reading for writing. However, I feel the main question I should ask myself is how do I now define transcultural rhetorics? To that end, I've been going over the texts that helped me during the dissertation. Native American studies had helped me stand back and see how the crossing and blending of cultures take place and though historically the ancient Greeks were evolving from a predominantly oral culture, they had writing available. The writing of many Native American tribes were not through the letters with which we are familiar, but pictographs that look very much like ancient writings in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Sumeria. So there were ways to write down some Native American ways of organizing their worlds.

More later.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

First Day Off

Thought I'd take a few hours off to get out of the house and spoil myself a little. Had a pleasant time shopping and driving around. Found a short cut to Oakland/Somerset Mall and I know the way to Wal-Mart so I'll be able to get out and buy what I need or get out and look at scenes other than my very pleasant apartment when I get to feeling confined.

Building up my perfumes again and should have a full stock by early summer.


Have been of the blog for a few days. Grades are due in and I am distracting myself from completing all of my goals. I did go to the women's meeting and had a good time. Nicole Guevarra, one of my students, did a remarkable job of writing and presenting her writing and I was very delighted to have taken the time out to hear her. In fact, if she's still around next term, I'd like to ask her to present to one of my classes.

Attribution Theory is a new version of an old idea that I'd like to pursue because it may very well fit in with my ideas of psychological affects of language.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Jane Fonda

Recently I've caught interviews with Jane Fonda and feel drawn to what she says. She's promoting her new book -- an autobiography--in which she shares many of the same issues I went through. Her analysis of issues of child molestation is dead on right. I especially like her explanations because I've been dodging the reclamation of my own power. In addition, I never quite figured out the self loathing that frequently is a part of the residual effects of early childhood molestation. I have come a long way with my problem but am saddened to realize that this issue also gets transmitted to my children. However, I cannot do any more except to be available to my children when they need me. I have noticed, however, that I'm not necessarily availble to them as I want to run away from problems that resonate with me on a personal level and that I have no power to effect. It could be a lingering or residual consequence of my molestation or it could be that I understand that adult children frequently dismiss parental advice. Rather than revisit my own issue over and over again, I need to learn to help others without rehashing the event, the consequence to my lack of self confidence. I'm not famous like Jane; however, I, too, must move on and make a difference for women and others on the same journey of taking back ourselves and building our self esteem.

In the new position at this university, I finally feel that I can act with confidence and I do hope that feeling confident will grow as I continue to act with confidence on the development of myself as director.

I owe Ms Jane Fonda many thanks for speaking out about her life, for there are many of us who are on the same road--behind or in front of her--working toward wholeness in our physical and mental health. Let the scourge of child abuse abate or end--That's my prayer for today.


Sunday, April 03, 2005


LA Times Coverage of Pope's Passing and the Washington Post's Coverage:

I'm finding myself reflecting on my own life as this man's death is discussed and televised. Oftentimes such events can be a catalyst for reflection for growth, and the hope that we can improve our lives. I'll have to go back to early teachings which I now think are truer than many things I've learned about over the years. Basically doing good for others, developing and living out on a set of moral beliefs, and learning a kind of humility in life, but not one imposed on humans by people in power, can lead to the kind of inner peace that will draw us closer to our maker and ultimately lead us to greater happiness regardless of our life's circumstances.

After I arrived home from a brief outing, I found a wonderful email from Raul Sanchez who always trolls the web for news from or about Cuba. The latest related news about possible successors to John Paul II from the area of Latin America. So even while I try to stay chastely nonpolitical at this time, I am reminded that politics invades every space, including that of the institutions of religion. Of course, this has been a fact for centuries, and I often wonder how Jesus Christ would handle the church founded in his name.

While I want to focus on this topic, I must be off to work on handouts for Tuesday's classes. The semester grinds to an end and I have to be ready for all kinds of papers.

April 4, 2005, Raul once again sent an interesting news item concerning Cuba and the Il Papa's Passing. I've attached it here because I want to reflect on the spirit of change that seems to take place when a powerful (whether great person or small or great to those who know them) passes from the scene of the living.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

April 2 2005 - Pope's Passing

This week has been one of much news. For many days the news media has been mentioning the imminent death of John Paul II. While I see many of his pronouncements as detrimental to the very causes he espouses, he has been a strong and consistent voice for the Catholic Church during the past twenty-six years. So at 9:37 Italian time and 2:37 Eastern Standard Time, the pontiff passed and I pray that he meets with God.

Moments like these are the ones when I wish I had been able to retain some of my earlier blind faith. It seems that faith can provide people with comfort when they can not control much of their lives. In the end, how much more power do I really have? Am I better for my acquired education? I know the answer is "yes" but some how it feels like a "no." Perhaps this is because much of what I 'd hoped to accomlish in my life is not yet accomplished. However, I think the process of my life has taught and continues to teach me to continue even when I am uncertain of the outcomes of my actions. Listening to the news reporters talk about how John Paul would not contenence fear reminds me that he learned as I am learning that fear keeps us from doing whatever it is that God wants for our lives.

Because we are all so immersed in our own lives, I hadn't noticed in recent pictures of the pope just how frail he'd become. I remembered the young pope he started out as and how strong, attractive and personable he was. Then as the reporters catalogued all his ailments I can understand the reason they equated his suffering as a model for us to follow. I imagine he thought that he could endure suffering as Christ endured suffering. In fact, his suffering seems to have begun at an early age with the loss of the people he loved -- parents and siblings --by the age of 20. However the adage "if God gives you lemons, make lemonade" seems to have been something he understood. One of the reporters mentioned a John of the Cross who had written about the need to go through dark night in order to understand an appreciate the light at the end of the long dark night. The dark night of the soul is how the reporters mentioned it.

Even Cuba's Castro allowed coverage of Pope John Paul II's passing:

More later as I can't get the kinks out of this message.

Monday, March 28, 2005

English Language History

I'm reading Do You Speak American? for my Modern American English class and must laugh at the politics of language education. The need for people to be pretentious about the superiority of one language or one dialect over another has been going on forever. Or as one of the writer's put it since the Tower of Babel.

So from this need to feel superior we have bans on nonEnglish education in classes
English only in various states
bans on Black English or Ebonics
Bans on speaking Spanish in the work place--even though laws do not alway agree with this stance. With so many important issues in education to work on people spin their wheels on making certain that English remain the language of the land. The people proposing these laws do not know the history of English nor do they know the facts about language use, growth, change, and history. I suppose I could spend a long time working on these issues without running out of things to do. I'm hoping that I can tie in these discussions with my self and the project of memories, language education, and rhetoric.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Response to some Readings on Memory and Writing

Four Cs was great and oddly I found myself mentally kicking myself for not having written more. My favorite topics were all the rage and I was not participating in the conversations. Memoirs or Memorias or Family Histories were a huge part of the presentations during the convention. Gail Okawa and Victor Villanueva made excellent presentations of their work recovering family histories. Gail's work on her recovery and reconstruction of family history through archival papers, pictures, etc was extremely well done. I found another piece of hers in a Journal of Teaching of Writing which really fit in well with her presentation. I obtained it in a panel with linguists and could see how she's been working at parts of the larger research that she presented at this year's 4Cs for quite some time now. What I noted about her writing is that she uses academic discourse more than Victor did. He uses it but he managed to hybridize it for the presentation. Gail's discourse adhered more to the formality of an academic presentation. Her writing too is more formal than other similar work. Could their be a difference between Asian culture and Latino/a culture that encourages greater formality from one group and not the other?

Francsico Tamayo-Rico did a fine presentation on Englishes and Spanishes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

To Reinvent or to Die

Well, I may be a bit dramatic but I just returned from teaching classes at the University. I sensed a need to have students evaluate me without their losing a sense of anonymity. AS usual my structure for the class seems to frustrate some students. I'll have to be more rigorous about that as poor evaluations will lose me the job. Who says that academics have no pressure?

I liked giving students a place and format to speak to me, and I noted that many of the early complainers are happily at work now.

I'm making a list of some of the theorists others spoke about at 4Cs. One such scholar has a website. Enrique Dussel was one of the men who discusses dependancy theory. Others are: Andre Gunder Frank, Samir Amin, Janet Abu-Lugod, and Immanuel Wallerstein. According to Victor Villanueva and Damian Baca these scholars add to postcolonial theory, address globalization and its impact on third world countries and in one instance or two can contribute to White Studies, which Joyce Middleton recommends as we work on diversity issues.

As I piece together my own work, I'll post any summaries of these to this blog in hopes that some where along the way I'll get responses to my mental tours of theories.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Gadgets and Things

I like gadgets and while reading a friend's blog found a site with smileys and other fun faces for writing.

Well off to the business of reading. Will be back tomorrow with more to say about the Rorty book.

Here is one of them: Here

Can't Figure It Out

For all the times I must plan classes and other events, I still can't figure out what best motivates students. They are all great people, and most of them are eager to learn, except for----.

Reading and writing. Yet it is my vocation to try to motivate them. I like to do so without resorting to the use of grades as the final reward, but so many of them don't get the need for thinking, reading, and writing. These young people are into "a job that will pay a good salary." Am I getting jaded? But then I realize there are so many distractions in the world today that I did not have access to when I was younger. Then it is I who must stop, think, and find ways to teach, have them work, and still maintain a harmonious classroom.

My classrooms are harmonious only in terms of people getting what they want and need from the experience. I do play devil's advocate to challenge students. Oh! I teach writing and that is both a wonderful thing to do and a challenging thing to do.

I teach at various levels now, but have taught first-year college students for a very long time. Over the years, I've observed and worked through a great deal with the future generations.

Of course, in this blog, I'll post observations like the one with which I started this post, but most of the time I'll have materials for my own use and the use of my students. I want to encourage the use of new technologies; hence, my jumping in and learning about websites, blogs, and other things.

One of the things that I can't figure out that affects teaching, teachers, and students is the mood of the country. I should say the perception that our country is so conservative, so fearful, that we its citizens must give up freedom of speech, laws that were enacted to protect minorities from the tyranny of majority rule and other things that have occurred during the past four years. I do love taking a poke at some of the issues that rise from the current situation but students have not been eager to challenge authority. They are concerned with money and status and materialism.

Where I work there are a lot of great people working to help our students see their responsibilities for others. This helps me teach community-based writing units and writing units that address the politics of power with the realities of poverty, illiteracy, and other social ills.