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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Default to Bum

My default attitude toward myself is to see myself as a bum and impostor. When I am forced to undergo a review and have to produce these documents of self-promotion I discover that I am not a bum after all. I am not a modest person. I believe I am smart enough, etc... But I do believe that I am shiftless. Then I discover what I've done and it seems as though someone else had done it, as in Henry James's story "A Privste Life," where a writer has two selves, one a shadow self back in his room writing while the social self socializes.

So even when I write the summary of what I've done, which is pretty much a laying out of what's on the cv with some embellishment, I feel I am lying. Sure, I've done this, but how could I have?

The opposite is the person who thinks of himself as accomplished, but the cv doesn't back it up. I could easily be that person, with a high opinion of myself but little to show. Through some accident of fate I am the lazy person who's accomplished much instead of the hard-working person who's done little.

Maybe I am hard-woring and just don't know it?

1 comment:

Leslie said...

No, you just have decent working conditions. When I visit with my Tulane colleagues, for instance, who have a good library and good teaching load, I am amazed at how "shiftless" they are, how much time they take off, how much money they spend, and so on. They also get more done than I do, that is more visible things.

In my opinion, you *have* to be "shiftless" to get things done. You need time to rest your brain and let it stare off into the distance. That is to say, contemplative time that is inward focused, when you are thinking your own thoughts but not trying to "work" in the sense of produce. I am myself engaged in an attempt to become more "shiftless."