Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Projection and Conceptual Projects


Can I just take a minute to talk about how conflicted I feel about most of things that I end up posting on this blog? For instance the post previous to this one titled "I'm in this". In that post I attempted to appear flippant about my publication in Vanitas when I do sincerely feel proud to be published in it. I hoped that by stating the fact of my publication in the most blatant way I could think of "I'm in this" my awareness of self-congratulatory and self-promotional acts like this would be apparent, that the irony of my doing so would be apparent, that you might chuckle and forgive me for wanting to: share my pride, make you aware of a publication that I respect and even convince you of my importance, that my goals would be met and none of my fears realized. I was afraid that you would think one or more of the following things: that I was bragging, that I was playing coy, that I wanted to show you that I've been published alongside names you might recognize, that this is a desperate attempt to establish my validity and necessity in a community that I have neglected, that it's a wonder that anyone takes me seriously, or nothing--that you wouldn't care.

I was just telling John Sakkis on Monday how being published in magazines like this doesn't have the same satisfying impact on my personal sense of self-worth as a poet that it used to but then the very next day I get on Facebook, see that Vanitas #4 is out and that I've been published in the same issue as, I'll be honest, some names, and I felt reassured. I felt like maybe someone out there who didn't take me seriously before mightl take me more seriously now. I wish I didn't care but I do. One poem in one magazine and that is where my mind goes.

Let's take the piece that's been published in that magazine too. It's problematic. I translated the traditional Vietnamese folk song, The Ca Dao, homophonically from a recording by John Balaban on Ubuweb. The results are very sexual and scatalogical. Questions follow, right? a) what's this white girl up to translating a Vietnamese folk song? b) is she making fun of the Vietnamese language? c) does she just have a super puerile mind? d) would I hear the same thing? homophonic translations, who cares (that's SO been done)?

What am I doing here with this post? Why do I feel the need to expose myself? I should save it for therapy. I should save it for a real piece instead of barfing it out half digested onto the internet. I should consider my audience. I should stop considering my audience so much. I should stop considering myself a blogger with an audience (I mean, really). I think of specific people as I write, knowing to some extent who might read it and drop a line or two in for them. Maybe one will like me more because I've exposed my neuroses, maybe one will like me more because I am being vulnerable, maybe one will be reminded that I do think about these things--that I am not a ditz, maybe one will like me more because I remind me of her/him, maybe one will respect me more because, maybe one will like me less because I am being vulnerable, maybe one will respect me less for second guessing myself, maybe one will like me less because I am not like her/him.

I want to be the person you want to see and that is a problem. Thankfully, I want you to mirror me too. I'm not so totally screwed.

I was going to post some conceptual projects below but this post has got long enough, I think, and I don't think anyone would read them if they were all the way down here. I want you to read about my conceptual projects. I want you to think that they are smart and in turn me.

1 comment:

mark wallace said...

I think the feelings and conflicts you're expressing here seem very thoughtful and, you know, for what it's worth, reasonable given the circumstances. I would wonder more if someone didn't have responses like these--I distrust about equally "publishing is wrong because it's all about vanity" and "Of course I want to succeed in my (ahem) career as a poet and so promote myself relentlessly." I feel like when we acknowledge the complexity both of our feelings and of the mechanisms of publishing that are connected with them, that we're really talking about what's at stake in the situation, and not just using the issue as an opportunity for pompous moral judgment or unconsidered self-promotion.