|Virtually Yours:||Carolyn L Burke|
My Cognitive and Physical Landscape
... From The Beginning
Breakfast is ready... another Sunday morning at the terminal. It's fun having a guest here. I thought it would be. It's only 7am now, and I've been up for an hour already. There are these incredible storm clouds brewing. As the sun rose, instead of getting bright, my window view turned a glowing grey. Fast moving and high up, I expect that many a turkey consumer will meet these clouds in water.
I read a book on the diaries kept by women over the years, frankly because it was in the "New Books" section of the library and I got curious if online diaries were in it. :) What I found was your typical academic rhetoric, highly analytical and without a lot of the original diaries' works. Not surprising. Hackneyed themes formed the seed of each chapter's growth. I guess I ought not to write down the title or author after that claim! Anyhow. Now I do know some of the hackneyed themes known about diaries and their ists.
Some of the themes, like not writing about having a period nor about sex nor the bigger events in the world, seem to naturally come about in my opinion. Who would be interested in the former (I'm sure not), and the latter are covered eveywhere else. [Still no cats here. miau] Many of the themes though suround the issues of writing privacy and of the lack of time in one's day to write privately. Apparently many diarists kept the fact of their writing secreted as well. What better way to prevent others from hunting for a hiding spot. I suspect the book I picked had quite a feminist lean to it though, and as Carlo has pointed out in a letter, this really misses the point. Our common humanity is more interesting thenour common gender.
I noted yesterday in conversation [being one of quite a number of heavily introspective persons who talk together quite a lot for that type of person, what is considered egocentric in polite society's company is considered basic politeness in ours] that I am perhaps best described as refusing to be discriminated against. Name a type of discrimination and I have successfully never been the target of it. There are some exceptions .. and these are marked occasions for me.
Having many long conversations about the future is interesting. I've been examining and exploring the several opportunities that others would like or would like to build and I come away with some thoughts on the whole enterprise.
It seems to me that when a person of hype is involved in the information flow, realism goes by the wayside for awhile. This is good for building [my fingers are too cold to type] enthusiasm and excitment and a sense of possibility -- in the short term. As the reality of the situation settles in though, everyone involved becomes cynical. The reality will compromise the dream energy that was used.
I would persons of hype to be able to pull things together better. And I think there are reasons why they might coexist with such pullings easily. The hype itself is not entirely reality based - fair enough. That is why it is hype. It wouldn't get people's enthusiasms going if it consisted of simple factual describings.
It is known in the study of how and why science works to accumulate the results it sets out to get that there is a big distinction in methodology between the creating of ideas and the investigating of them.
...to be continued...
It's funny how people write to me when I'm sad but not when I'm happier. I wonder what it is about reassuring me that spurs others on to do so. Well, good thing that I'm not so happy now. I feel a bit isolated, and a bit forcefully so. It's like I don't want to enjoy things, and at the same time I want to do them anyway. Perverse.
I wonder what I want. I know what I want. A person to love and be close with and like and play with and feel attracted to and interested in ... all at the same time. Yeah right. Or many people who don't take their stresses out on me easily. We all have them. Let's keep them private to some extent.
I need some more flowers. It's that simple.
I was thinking about world views last night. Mine isn't one I like a lot -- that is a good sample of what it is too. I remember with such fondness and lingering desire the time I spent in Pittsburgh. The really crucial difference is that for that period of time I insisted on really creating my world. I talked to people I admired, and otherwise didn't much talk to people. I did things I enjoyed, and pursued actions in what I still regard as flagrant and obnoxious. I feelthat I was more bold in taking the position in life that I wanted then then I ever have before or since. I'd like to do that again. It is not as easily clear to me that I know what to do in the compromised situationI am in currently.
compromised situation: I know people suffiently well here to allow myself to cowardly involve myself in things that do not feel brave to me to do. I have friends here who are easily accessible if treated well, and places to go without having to hoof it. I know that I am placing the limits of complacency on my life strucutre. I'd rather not. I want the strength to do this brave creationof life without needing the cheat of moving to a new place to do a new thing. I think I should be able to do it here andnow, to uncompromise the situation through brazen strength applied directly and consistently to my own choices.
Yup, that's what I think. Is it going to happen, I ask myself not too gently. Probably not. It's so easy to stay back a little and be second, not a trail blazer, the second person on the trail. I'm not the last or even in the middle of the exodus to new spaces. I'm second - specifically the easiest place to be for me. It's an exciting and fun place to be to a great extent. BUT, going first trail blazing straight to where I want to be is ever so much more satisfying. [I hate how adjectives modify perfectly good words into exagerated nonsense.] Satisfying = living fast and high. Exciting = fear. Fun = foolish and silly. Etcetera.
I shall have to do this again though. I know it is what makes me happy, and perhaps more importantly it makes my past memorable to me.
I've wanted to simply eat a lot lately. Tracey says I'm going through man withdrawl. Very possibly. Still, I think I'm really sorta ready to just do something more.
[Just another mode of communicating: Bye Niels.]
I am miserable right now. A friend of mind basically told me I am a waste of time. I don't think I took it too well. He's probably right. I don't like him very much, but we are really close, and old friends, and we still do a lot together.
But this diary thing is getting unfair. I try to write truth and people take my down feelings written there more seriously then what I do in person which is more often than not ( much more) very positive.
I am very hurt inside now.
I really hate people who just let things build up inside and then explode without warning. I try really hard to read their goddamn minds to outwit this stupid strategy. Yeah right. It's a fucked strategy in the first place.
So I have to Pollyanna here or demand that they stop filling my life with lies and bullshit. I make the demand. I am sick of liers. I am sick of feeling that ... that ... [tears]
As the clouds blow past high up in the ligthening sky, I wonder.
I had a really long talk with Richard last night about his thoughts - finally. He always tells me at the end of a serious and deep conversation, when we really get to the heart of matters, how much he enjoys this. But he doesn't initiate this. He keeps his thoughts isolated in his mind and before finalizing conclusions, says nothing. [The sky is so many colours mixing and churning. It reminds me of having done T'ai Chi on the beaches of Venezuela last winter first thing in the morning.]
Then I get a pronouncement from him about this and that. Why do people choose to keep to themselves this way? Why did I have to be told I am a waste of time before he was able to talk more rationally later on? He said that he was losing his bargaining position as he calmed down while we talked. I suppose so. And yet a bargaining position is worth something only if bargaining is required. I don't want a bargain personally. I want everything that I want, and I want the other person to have everything that they want too. I really believe that there is a way for this to occur most (I believe all) of the time. [Should I get another cat yet? I just don't know. The ache is there about Neko in the background blurring these past two months a lot. And I need the warmth layer of living with a furry friend. The feeling of sharing my space, and watering the plants with someone. And putting a little milk out and watching the tail go up even higher.]
On getting what you want:
Greg and Eamon's analysis linked from the future (Dec 1995)
Sunrise and Sunset the highlights of today.
I was off with Peter and Hella to dinner at the CN Tower. The revolving restaurant at the top has the most stupendous view of Toronto and the lake. It sits on the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the largest lakes in the world (the third or forth). We arrived before dusk, and over the course of an hour and a half, we watched the sun set over the city while rain fell.
Mist covered the whole of west Toronto, and with clouds above, sun beamed through them onto mist covered buildings and misty glistening streets. Fairytale city in the sky. Ahhh.
We spent most of the time watching the view, the lake and then as the restaurant revolved, the urban sprawl to the west. Then the city core running north of the lake, with buildings almost as tall as the tower which is half a kilometre. From high in the sky, looking down on the manmade wonders, it seemed clear to me that there can be no one person or organization really controlling all of this. Perhaps a principle can govern men's minds, but another man cannot. Not with these splendors.
Peter, Hella and I talked about visiting Israel next spring. They lived there for 4 years after escaping (through legal channels) Rumania. Still they have many relatives there. I think it is one of the more interesting places to visit in the world. A country built as phoenix rising from the ashes of millenia of running. Landed persons celebrating landing. 40 years later the celebration, do they continue, or is it finally just another of the mere 260 countries in the world.
I said something about swimming in the dead sea which made them both chuckle. Apparently it is rather itchy? Then, Peter mentioned that it would be easy to take a bus and visit pyramids... in Egypt. That made me really want to go. Amazing! To sit a top the CN Tower, and want to be seeing the pyramids! Heh. They will be rather short by comparison, I would guess. But more miraculous.
Anyhow. That has been my evening today. And I wanted to share it with you before going off to bed. I've been up since 6 today.
[G'night. I am seeking
other online diarists to join in a project I have in mind. I wonder if
I can find them.
I am seeking other online diarists to join in a project I have in mind. I wonder if I can find them.]
Sage and Willa were kind enough to point out to me that all of us seem to have sucked this week. :)
I'm going to make arrangements to bring Moppin here to live with me. She is incredibly exotic, a mystical cat. Her first person, Laura Halling, someone I learned a lot from when I knew her, was magical. At first Laura was a tenant of ours (mine and Peter's ). She saw our house and said that from the street she could see it had goodcolours, orange and swirly purple. She said she could tell we were good people.
She and her roommate moved into the apartment above ours for quite awhile. Her trip then was in trying to live a straight and normal life, the boyfriend executive withthe shiny red car and a short hair cut. The job at Phantom as a girl Friday. The attempts not to channel Seth even though he was persistent. Very few transparent skirts, and her beautiful golden brown hair tied up in a bow.
The boyfriend, Sheldon, lasted the summer, the same time that I got to know Laura well. Peter was trying his hand at running his own law practice (yup, he actually is a lawyer). He had an office down on college shared with a school mate of his, very close in fact to where I live now. Peter went off every morning in a suit ( the same one every day!), and I went into the backyard with the cats and my graduate coursework, a jug of lemonade and a bikini.
Laura's conventional job attempt didn't last as long as the boyfriend. After awhile, though we both thought of each other as creepy wierd, we got to talking in the sun. I ended up having one of the best summers of my life. Laura, much like Peter's present fixation, was a bit of a story teller. A lot of one, but with a really sincere heart most of the time. She really tried to do good with everyone. Peter and her were shamans -- interesting. Shaman tricks were shared and discussed, passed between equals, while I listended inand tried not to laugh. This was in the evenings after he got back.
During the day, she and I talked about her past growing up in Brazil in a convent, her German parents concerned more for her virtues than her education. She explained the crazy scars over her body as resulting froma childhood accident with flames, and a year in intensive care as a 4 or 5 year. She talked about the trees talking with her, and the earth as mother gaea, and when I went up to Tracey's cottage with Peter andsome friends, she asked me to bring her back some magical plants.
They had a wigi (there's a word I have no idea how to spell) upstairs, and used to talk with Seth and other spirits. Moppins was Laura's beautiful fluffy black familiar. She was spooky. She still does stare into your eyes with an eery confidence, a startling recognition of person in her. She was a vegetarian, and assisted in channeling Seth. Moppins grew up with Laura when they lived inthe Ottawa valley with this fellow, Richard Allen. They lived a fantasy in the wilderness alone in a cabin. Richard's dog, Mishka, and Moppin's grew up together with these two people socializing them to respect human ways strongly. New age ways in essence.
Laura had a charisma rating off the scale. When you met her for the first time, you feel as if you've had fairy dust sprinkled on you. Eventually Richard started hanging around -- he missed her. He was a carpenter by trade, and an idealist. He hated me and Peter even though we were also idealists in many ways... We couldn't be idealists for real since we were landlords, and Peter a lawyer! Heh. Eventually, Richard superceded Sheldon. He climbed the balcony one night and broke into Laura and Louise's apartment. Eeeery. She took this in stride screaming. But he did win out in the end because Laura respected his stubborn idealism. A while later the two of them moved out to BC to fight the clear cutters, etc.
She saw reality as filled with energy. Strands of colour circling everything that was alive. Laura was a brilliant mind without any 20th century ideas laid over it. She lacked our modern man view of how things are. I learned from her how to see the ancient forests in the streets and buildings coexisting. I can see them clearly now as I sit, the bole of a great maple sighing to me a few feet away.
She learned that my overeducated mind and sharp tongue, my lack of a gentle feminine demeanor was also strong and female, and powerful. In a different way. We never became friends. I don't even know if she remembers me at all; she meets so many people on her journey with high charsima.
Moppins moved downstairs with our cats and us that summer. She was the magic cat who wanted her freedom. Laura knew and I knew that Moppins had made a choice, a hard one for all of us. And we all respected the frienddom of one who speaks with a different tongue, and with her feet, to make this claim. When Laura left, she had two new kittens with her, and Mishka and Richard. The crab apple tree on the front lawn was blooming its one week a year bright pink. And the moving van took these interesting friends away on to new adventures.
And Moppins is stil mostly a vegetarian. I think she'll like it with me here.
Oct 18. I'm 30.5 today. I've always celebrated the half birthday rather than the full one. Better time of year to celebrate, and with the exception of the this year, my full one always ended up on Easter, Passover, exam day,... No fun. And I get my own tradition brewing.
Today has been a disaster overall. Something clicked in me and I simply couldn't take the the voice echoing in my head that I am useless. It's like for the first time in my life there is no part of the environment that says I am any better than average. That's not true entirely. Friends think that, and people I meet get blown away a lot of the time. But there is more to it. I am suffering from institution withdrawl. Finally.
I watched Richard go through this process after he received his Ph.D. and then didn't get a grant scholarship right away. He felt cast out. Of course he got a grant not so long after, and now has no lack of institional and other praise and respect.
Later... Working away trying to make business float properly. I'm sure it will.
Decisions. It's hard to write when I'm working, especially with others about and their business vibes.
Ah well. I believe that Peter suggested that he might, if he has time, drop by this evening instead of doing the normal poetry reading rituals. He said he had "pushed aside" his normal schedule to visit me. :) Nice. But I am majorly more cynical then that. I think he didn't push anything aside, but has learned how to make himself sound a little more worth while being around. Important guy with important things to do. :) Yeah well he does have a lot of things to do. But he doesn't get enough sleep, and he eats wierdly, so it's like he is on mild sedatives most of the time.
... suspended authority ... anarchists ... traffic cops leaving trails behind them ... hotels with that not lived in smell ... clocks and calendars ... prints ... holier than thou constructs called museum ... bytes trafficking in stale grey information ... the gentle ticking of chimes in the wind and a siren ... city light glowing from the windows ...
... golden opportunity ... silver lining ... platinum blonde ... copper tone ... bronze body ... wooden posture ... glassy stare ... steel heart ... leaden feet ...
... thinking spinning weaving twirling stop ... feelings of grandeur and hidings of strategy ... want ... opportunity ... stuff into stuff ... a process spiral ... godel points on godel points ... companions waiting in the corner ... the ghost of a cat ... orange red dark ... an idea ...
I've been having a wonderful time with Peter after moving away. He and I so explicitely agree to treat each other well.. and the space gives us room to be other than well without effecting each other badly. It is really very nice. I guess in classical nomenclature, he and I are having an affair now, while doing the settling down stuff with other people. :) I find this amusing, and Athena [ooops, I set my computer to automatically respell whats her name's name to Athena so that I wouldn't err here... seems I am not to utter her name in vain easily!!] something to complain about at Peter! :) What a nasty person I am to create such subtle revenge!! It seems to have worked nicely too!
Me cynical?? Is cynicism the opposite of idealism and hope? Or simply the lack of them?
A year ago I had a lot to say. Now I feel that I don't. Should I stop there?
I've mastered what I will all first order cliches. At the drop of a pin, I can let one fly. And accurately too with ones I've never tried before. There is some little decision I need to make to use a large morpheme like that. And I encountered another interesting problem. There are second order cliches! And I cannot use them yet!!
The one that's relly been tangling me up has two parts. After I've made the decision to say that somethign is opaque to transparent to me, I do not know which to say aloud. I end up stopping in complete bewilderment in the middle of one of the words. This cliche has a second necessary decision -- which part of a contrating pair of words are to be used in the cliche. The cliche is: "that is _______ to me."
I discussed the whole thing with richard yesterday while he grinned very much. I'm dyslexic in some way about this. To me eithe ruse makes sense in either context .. just differently. If the thing I'm talking about is what I an see clearer, then I am tempted to call it opaque. However if I am talking about that which obstructed my view of the thing, I will call it opaque. Similarly with transparent. Richard simply declared that there is a convention to making the second decision -- always talk about whether the obstruction is transparent or opaque. I don't know if I remember this in the right way round though.
I used to treat the "drop of a pin / hat" cliches in this manner too. The secondary decision problem. Hmmm. Perhaps my understanding that I am picking a single morpheme (the smallest unit of meaning in a language) is incorrect. If there is some internal sturcute that varies then there is some, perhaps unique, grammar in the cliche.
Mewtaphors are more fun because although there are standard ones, there seems to be also an allowance for making your own up.
I should be getting my head space back into external doings and out of avoiding them. Communicating with others, now that I have the diary, has become an external doing. Someday, maybe I'll meet a person with whom I can let communication feel internal and safe again. I hope to, but do not hold my breath - or even look.
Many people push a lot when they like me. I've always been of the philosophy that if you want a cat to move, you dangle a string in front of it and let it move according to its own rhythms. Most persons I know try to pick cats up to move them.
Then again, most people don't have any string. And I have lots.
Then again, I have striven to make myself into string, and perhaps I should not be cruel when people follow me.
I put my personal life first, before anything else. I have always done this, and I expect that I should continue to. I don't simply use this energy to through tantrums or whine, narcissitate in a mirror or polish my car 200 times. I use it to make myself different, improved, augmented, learned, beautiful, interesting to me.
As the call of the world uses the nice little tagline professionalism to orient us worldly types with each other, my pesonal time and space seems to be absorbed to this end. Professionalism means meeting schedules shared with others on time, it means filling other obligatios that persons I associate with rely on. I suppose it means becoming a reliable cog in the system, predictable, isolated in doing attributions.
But what of the professionalism I excercise towards being a person. I am a professional person, and to ensure that I do not seem like a naval gazing, useless waste of time, leech, I had better be pretty good at it. And I am.
Being a professional person used to be called being a renessance man. That famed old person, usually a man who did everything admirable by that society's standards (ahd certianly those of history) and also dabbled in the today less admirable sexual and creative worlds, has motivated many of us to persue every possible life choice in one lifetime. Most of my friends think of themselves in this light. Perhaps this is a symptom of our generation, or of our education level. Perhaps I simply seek out and attract such persons who may be otherwise quite rare. Hmm.
Being professional aboutsomethingin this age where jobism is the dividing force amongst us [snapshot: I am an engineer. Do you have a higher education too? I'm in the fashion industry. So what do you do, I mean you, not your job? What do you like? Oh you are in the newspaper business. What do you do there? .... ] [which jargon do you speak? Is it more or less comprehensible then the one I've been trained to use as the god given way things are to be talked about always? Less? Indeed it is.. you see, I can speak yours without training and you cannot mine. Clearly you have an inferior job. It's clear to us both that I could do what you do easily. You are an inferior mind as a consequence, because surely you, like me, tried to get as high as possible. What a silly and incomplete jargon is used in your area. And your subject matter can be so easily discussed by any layperson. Surely you are not considered as much of an expert as I am. Surely. I won't really bother with you now. But if you do get a promotion, dolook me up. You are not completely out fothegame after all, just a tad slow. Is that George over there? I hear he just got a promotion! Ta ta.]
jobism promotes professionalism. it requires use of the jargon properly. conventions of dress, meeting, conversational topics. professionalism lies inthe willingness and successfullness of fulfilling others expections about the job... not hte personin the job. the person is sublimated to be the job.
I recently met a potential client.. a department of a multinational corp represented in this meeting by two persons, an engineer, and a marketing fellow. I understood the engineer. She was to the point, sincere, direct, and silent unless she had something meaningful to say. The marketing fellow was more intriguing. He represented a marketing degree background flavour for hte company. He presented their current stuff and left me with a feeling that the big corp cared about its marketing image.
A while later this same fellow called the company up and invited us to another meeting ... at another comapny, his new employer. Curious as to his changein status, and to his enthusiasm about our stuff, I went to a meeting that all signs indicated would not be our sort of client. But the old corps flavour (or so I thought) still clung to this fellow. Howver, in the new job, he was little more than a shadow puppet. None of the other persons at this new company tended to respect his opinion, and he was undermined often. It was obvious that he was on trial at this new position, and that he was fantasizing about retaining the former glamour of his previous postion in a big corp. In fact fantasizing to the point of inviting us to come in when we were no longer a suitable entity for him to be doing business with. We fit with the big corp, not him. We fit with his previous job and not with his new one. I know nothing about this person. Only somethng about his satisfaction level in the two different jobs and companies.
In both, he reeks of jobist vibes. Unfortunately for him, the reek only fit in with the first company since the reek was of a particular flavour of job, not of general status. Poor guy. Ifeel quite sorry for him. He'll take years makinghte tranistion successfully, and he'll never really fit in upwards again as a consequence. It is obvious he'd like to try though.
If he was more professional, he would have been able to change the angle he was using quicker and easier, without the lingering regret that covered his handshake like stale cigarette smoke.
Now... a professional person is one who takes the doings and beings of being a living sentient creature seriously. As the business world asks me to become professional in it, and as the academic wrld similarly asked me to, I will have to decide whether the professional that I already am will tolerate this pressure on who I am. Really I already have.
I have put as a higher priority being a person. The default shifts to being a professional other thing when the necessary requirements are met for being a person.
Last week, Richard suggest that I was not behaving professionally towards some aspects of business (he and I are partners). He was correct from his view, dominated mistakenly at the time by a jobism perspective. I had to agree that I was some sort of second rate person (in my head I felt this way). Later though I realized that I am an incredibly professional person, simply though about other than business things. My strong character emerges from this. I really know who I am. And I know this not as a dogma but as a confidence that I take very seriously how to be me well, with interest, beauty, aesthetics, internal cleanliness, and future energy; that I take seriously the creating of these aspects of me to the depth and breadth of my being.
As I realized tha I am very professional, a conflict arose. How do I remain as professional about that which I care about, and yet simply not also fail to be less professional about other matters if I so choose?
Enter the MaryKay book once again. This woman, in her own way, argues that a personcan have it all. Indeed although I disagree about what the all is with her very strongly, I agree with her maxim, a person can have ita ll... if there are no conflicts. The goal then is to remove the arising conflict between professional personing and professional jobing. I think such a solution can emerge. I have a fucked up, half-assed solution already. It sucks, and I should move on to a better more same version.
So far what I do is unreasonably demand a few seconds (only) of complete recognition as a person from those close to me before I switch ove to the professional of the world. This demand is necessary, absolute, and if unsatisfied, a completely destructive force in the lives of all concerned. When Peter was going throughlaw school, every few months I'd demand that he completely quit. Only after he truly and sincerely agreed that I came first and that if it mattered this much that he be happy instead of over worked, would I be able to relax and smile andfeel important enough. Then I'd suggest quietly that I didn't need him to quit any more because I knew he could be a professional person still -- but I didn't put it that way. If I had, maybe he would have stayed out of the law business altogether. Maybe he would have developed an earlier immunity to bootcamps and to being called a useless naval gazer by his father. Maybe's are for fantasies though. :)
Now instead of demanding that close attention to being really simply people and not jobs, I can quietly ask that for a few moments we (whoever isthe current victim of my worldly partnerships) we repect being people -- professionally, and withthe addendum that people need worldly success of course too -- being professional about being a person requirs such honest acknowledgements.
Perhaps I willl make a little more sense to my friends, those who are people and those who are jobs, now.
Into the future further:
thoughts on professionalism
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All non-daughter writings of Carolyn's Diary are not copyright © Carolyn L Burke, 1995, and may not be copied without permission except for non-commercial gain. See what your lawyers can't make of that.