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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spanish Professor

Part of my image of myself as a writer and scholar depends on my ability to function as a scholar in Spain: to give talks there, to maintain correspondence with Spanish academics, to write in Spanish and publish articles and reviews written in Spanish. Even though the bulk of my works are in English, I still need to feel that I can write in Spanish when called upon to do so.

Other components of my identity include a certain relationship with poetry. I need to feel that I can write a poem when I want to, even though I don't teach "creative writing." And even write a poem in Spanish.

It is also important for me to own fountain pens.

I discover, then, that I need to cling to certain features of my identity as a writer that might seem inessential. I write my scholarship on the computer, mostly in English, and entirely in prose. Yet my image of myself as a writer is one involving Spanish, poetry, and fountain pens. Hmmm... I'm not sure how to explain this. Perhaps there are certain markers of identity with a symbolic importance.

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