Naturally, the more work I have to do, the less inclined I am to do it.
And the less time I have to do something, the more I’ll procrastinate.
I hate my habits.
I have about 20 days left in the country — 15 days to write and do research for 4 papers and simultaneously read a novel and do research for a 20 page project, plus 5 days to pack up my things, run to the post office, make other final arrangements, and fly home. This is not even close to the amount of time I need. Basically: I should just give up now.
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Any regrets in this last stretch of time? Oh, loads. I regret not using my reading week to travel to the continent. I regret not seeing Scotland or Wales. I regret not taking the time to scout out a few favorite coffee shops when the days were longer and the weather less frigid. I regret not packing more sweaters. But I don’t regret coming here.
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In other news, if you remember this post on racial micro-aggression, cultural misappropriation, and related sucky shitfests in the lives of minority residents in the ‘western’ world (I hate that term, ‘western’…it really just refers to the part of the world descended from white Europeans, because technically any part of the world can call itself west…the world is fucking spherical), and if you’re still looking for a way to further develop your Decency as a Human Being, you could pick up a copy of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.
It deals quite realistically and heart-breakingly with what non-white immigrants to the UK or to the US deal with on a day-to-day basis. A UK-born Bengali child is asked in his music class what his family listens to ‘at home’, and when he responds with ‘Springsteen’, the teacher makes it clear that this was not the ~ethnic~ answer she was looking for. Another boy of the same family tells his friends to call him ‘Mark Smith’ out of the wish to be more similar to his chess club friends, and keeps this shame over–and confusion of–identity a secret from his parents. A Jamaican-English middle-schooler, convinced her hair is ugly after receiving a cruel note at school, tries to have it relaxed at a salon, only to have it all burned off in the process. And one of the protagonists is constantly told over and over by other characters that he is ‘Indian’, despite his Bengali background.
I haven’t quite recovered yet from reading it; it was far too on-point for comfort. It’s one thing to feel these things in life, and it’s quite another to see a skilled writer replicate for you the exact same struggles on paper. It’s horrifying. But it’s gorgeous. It’s upsetting. And it’s so, so touching to see it adequately addressed in a popular novel.
Or if you’re feeling like reading something vastly more confusing but with a few similar themes, go for this:
…And read through it slowly, because even after two 3-hour sessions of serious classroom discussion on that thing, I’m not sure I’m any closer to understanding it today.