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Towards Day 7 (T, 9/23): Homing In

Anne Dalke's picture

everybody in both sections gather in Taylor E (Anne's classroom)

I. visit and invitation from Mikayla Holland, a writing center tutor

II. while we are together: pair up w/ your writing partner,
and form a "critical friendship" w/ another writing group--
tell each other what you have proposed to do with your project;
get feedback/take notes...

things you might listen for/touch base about:
* what was it like writing together?
* how do you imagine sharing the work of the project, going forward?
* how can you rooting this work in your own patterns of consumption?
* what is the project's scope? what can you reasonably do in 10 weeks?
(Anne and Jody expect you to put in 1-2 hrs/week, knowing this will vary)
* do each of the steps seem do-able?
* (if not: how to revise?)

III. peel off

finish the naming "test"

begin discussing Exile and Pride:
what are the keynotes, the key words, the key concepts?
(write these on the board)
[place, home, body, pride, exile...what else?]
talk about some of them:
what does Eli tell us/has he taught us about these ideas?
what puzzles/intrigues/bothers/stirs you here?

* for Thurs, finish reading the memoir,
looking out for other words that may come up,

which surprise you/which you might want to understand better--
i.e.: crip, freak, impairmen (vs. disability)

before you come to class: pick one of these words (=concepts),
brainstorm (and record) your thoughts about what it means;
then do a simple etymological search for the history of the word--
(the on-line version of the Oxford English Dictionary,
available through Canaday Library, is GREAT for this,
but there are many other sources, including Urban Dictionary...)
then begin to take some notes about how Eli Clare uses the term....

We'll take some time in class to work w/ each other
on generating a paper topic out of these materials.
This is all preparation for your fourth web-event, due by 5 p.m. on Fri, 9/26:
a keyword analysis of a single word that is central to Exile and Pride.
The focus here will be on working closely with the text, quoting from it, analyzing it...

Some talking notes....
What happens when you start identity work with place?
What role does environment play in the construction of identity??

Eli Clare had to leave home to become himself:
his desire for community, for physical safety, for emotional well-being and psychological comfort compelled him to leave.
Being queer, being abused, being working class, having cerebral palsy--these were all reasons for him to leave.
Re-locating himself in an urban area enabled him to claim an identity as a working, cripabled transman.
But that meant exile from the forests of southwestern Oregan, his "home"...
This is the deep story he tells: choosing exile in order to become himself, to make his body "home."

Eli choses a very unusual form for a memoir: he puts the setting first, brings it into the foreground,
and then shows us what happens to the self, when gender, disability and class identity are 
contextualized in this way, "when embodiment is represented as emplacement."

The book as a whole is dedicated "To the rocks and trees, hills and beeches."
What's the effect of doing that? What happens to the self, when the
issues of gender and disability and class are contextualized in this way?
Focus on "Losing Home," pp. 31f-->
p. 36: "my desire for community, for physical safety, for emotional well-being and psychological comfort compelled me to leave.
Being a queer is one piece of this loss, this exile; abuse is another. And class is a third..the most confusing...if I moved back,
I probably wouldn't find work...I left because I didn't want to be poor...My loss of home, my exile, is about class."

Eli replaces that "home" with another one, the "home" of his body":
He repeats the refrain "The body as home" five times over 3 pages (pp. 11-13):
"The body as home, but only if it is understood that bodies are never singular,
but rather haunted, strengthened, underscored by countless other bodies."
"The body as home, but only if it is understood that
place and community and culture burrow deep into our bones."
"The body as home, but only if it is understood that language too lives under the skin."
"The body as home, but only if it is understood that bodies can be stolen,
fed poison and lies, torn away from us."
"The body as home, but only if it is understood that the stolen body can be reclaimed."

What does it mean to call our bodies [rather than a place] home?
What do we need to make a home?
What multi-issue politics might make your home possible?
How might locating ourselves @ home--or away from home/in exile--
be useful in doing activist work?