Monday, December 29, 2008


I’ve never been a fan of the random music function on my ipod. Call me a control freak, but I like to know the order of the songs as they play. Lately though I’ve discovered the joy of random music. It started with the 200 CD disk changer that we put on random and listened to each evening for the past month. It’s fascinating to sit and listen to the mix. We have lots of music of women with guitars and a fair bit of classical music, some blues and some jazz. Frankly, it’s great to have a musical treat each evening. It’s also like reviewing so much of the music of my late teens and twenties. Who knew I would be nostalgic for early Melissa Etheridge? Then, in the random music world, I received a new ipod shuffle for our anniversary. I waited a long time to load it up for exactly the reason that it only plays music randomly, but my old ipod only could hold a charge for about eighteen minutes, less when it was cold. As my runs have gotten longer, that last twenty to thirty minutes of no music was painful. So I fired up the new shuffle and that, too, has made me a fan of random music. I love it, in fact. Best of all, I learned the forward button so if a song comes up that I don’t particularly want to hear and isn’t part of my running groove, I just click that and we are on to the next song. Don’t get me wrong, I still fantasize about creating perfect playlists for every occasion, but without the time to pursue such activities, for now, I’m a fan of random.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lest We Forget

Amid the excitement of Harvey Milk’s life story on the big screen (which is wonderful), we must not forget that the first elected gay or lesbian official in the United States was not Milk, but Elaine Noble. She was elected as a state representative in Massachusetts in 1975. You can read a great interview about her here.

Marilynne Robinson's Home

Last weekend I read Marilynne Robinson’s newest book, Home. I’m a Robinson fan having first encountered Housekeeping in college and then her brilliant book, Mother Courage, while researching anti-nuclear writings. Mother Courage is really an under recognized book. When Robinson’s book Gilead was published, to the acclaim of critics and readers all around (it was eventually awarded the Pulitzer Prize), I was eager to read it and while I enjoyed it and marveled at what an incredible prose stylist and storyteller Robinson is, I wasn’t profoundly in love with Gilead. I am, however, profoundly in love with Home. This book is the finely-crafted storytelling that I remember from Housekeeping. It is filled with characters that are interesting and sympathetic. Robinson’s pacing and control of plot is astounding. I was riveted by the book from the minute I started and so in love with her writing that I took breaks from reading just to make it last. Robinson grounds this book in a very particular year and historical moment without directly telling the reader what that time is but still letting it be exposed by the thinking and words of the characters while simultaneously spinning a tale that seems transcendent - even timeless. This is part of her power as a writer. Perhaps my affection for and joy about this book is a consequence of truly enjoying one of the central characters, Glory, who at thirty-eight finds herself returned to the home where she grew up to care for her ill father. I found Glory an incredible character and her struggles and questions profoundly resonant. If you haven’t read Robinson, start with Home and then explore her other works. If you already know Housekeeping and Mother Courage, but haven’t read the two most recent books, skip Gilead and embrace Home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Days with Miss Gertrude Stein

In this squib from The New Yorker in 1934, there is a delightful portrait of Miss Gertrude Stein and Miss Alice Toklas. I would like to have a bathtub especially made for me, but I could do without the cows, preferring sheep instead.

Read it in The New Yorker.

The Talk of the Town
Tender Buttons
by Janet Flanner, James Thurber, and Harold Ross October 13, 1934

Gertrude Stein is "pleasantly pleased," she wrote to a literary friend a week or so ago, that she is coming over here to lecture. So we guess she's really coming. In fact, she's already written her lectures, she said in her letter, on the following subjects: Plays, Pictures, What Is English Literature, The Gradual Making of Making of Americans, Portraits and Repetitions, and Grammar and Poetry. They are all, she says, about herself. In case you're interested, we have learned a few things about her that she may not tell in her lectures.

Miss Stein gets up every morning about ten and drinks some coffee, against her will. She's always been nervous about becoming nervous and she thought coffee would make her nervous, but her doctor prescribed it. Miss Toklas, her companion, gets up at six and starts dusting and fussing around. Once she broke a fine piece of Venetian glass and cried. Miss Stein laughed and said "Hell, oh hell, hell, objects are made to be consumed like cakes, books, people." Every morning Miss Toklas bathes and combs their French poodle, Basket, and brushes its teeth. It has its own toothbrush.

Miss Stein has an outsize bathtub that was especially made for her. A staircase had to be taken out to install it. After her bath she puts on a huge wool bathrobe and writes for a while, but she prefers to write outdoors, after she gets dressed. Especially in the Ain country, because there are rocks and cows there. Miss Stein likes to look at rocks and cows in the intervals of her writing. The two ladies drive around in their Ford till they come to a good spot. Then Miss Stein gets out and sits on a campstool with pencil and pad, and Miss Toklas fearlessly switches a cow into her line of vision. If the cow doesn't seem to fit in with Miss Stein's mood, the ladies get into the car and drive on to another cow. When the great lady has an inspiration, she writes quickly, for about fifteen minutes. But often she just sits there, looking at cows and not turning a wheel.

Miss Stein always drives, and Miss Toklas rides in the back seat, squealing and jumping, for they say that Miss Stein is the worst driver in the history of automotive engineering. She takes corners fast, doesn't put out her hand, drives on the wrong side of the street, pays no more attention to traffic signals or intersections than she does to punctuation marks, and never honks. Now and then Alice will lean over from the back seat and honk. They haven't had any accidents. One writer who visited her had a fake wire sent to him from Paris calling him back, because he was afraid he'd be killed in the Ford.

Miss Stein spends much of her time quarrelling with friends—always about literature or painting. The quarrels are passionate ones, involving everybody, taking hours to get under way, lasting for years (like the one with Hemingway). Nobody remembers after a couple of months exactly what the quarrels are about. The maid at the Stein house in Paris has to be told every day who will be persona grata at tea—it all depends on the quarrel of the night before. Gertrude sits up late, talking, arguing, and laughing; she has a rich, deep, and warming laugh. Afterward she wakes up Alice, who goes to bed early, and they go over the talk of the whole day. Miss Stein has a photographic memory for conversation.

The lady wears astonishing clothes: sandals, woollen stockings fit for a football-player, a man's plush fedora hat perched high on her head, rough tweed suits over odd embroidered waistcoats and peasant tunics. She also wears extraordinary blue-and-white striped knickers for underdrawers. This came out when she lost them once at a concert given by Virgil Thomson at the Hotel Majestic. She just stepped out of them somehow and left them lying there on the floor. She thought it was very funny and laughed loudly. ♦

Roy Blount Jr. on buy books - orgiastically

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves.  Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

The Guild's staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We're spelling BOOKS!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Muriel Rukeyser

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It's the birthday of poet Muriel Rukeyser, (books by this author) born in New York City (1913). In 1931, when she was still a teenager, she drove from New York to Scottsboro, Alabama, to cover a controversial trial of nine young black men accused of raping two white girls. She devoted the rest of her life to activism and writing. Over five decades, she wrote more than 15 collections of poetry.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Journal Review: GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies

GLQ is a quarterly journal published by Duke University Press. Ann Cvetkovich, a professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and Annamarie Jagose, a professor of English at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), are the current editors. The editorial board includes a wide range of scholars in gay and lesbian/queer studies including Sara Ahmed, Lisa Duggan, David Eng, Rod Ferguson, Judith Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz. In addition, there are editors for Book Reviews, currently Noreen Giffney for books in the Humanities and Martin F. Manalansan IV for books in the Social Sciences. There are two “Moving Image” Review editors, currently Alex Juhasz and Ming-Yeun S. Ma. Current issues of the journal contain three to six scholarly articles, a few full-length book or film reviews, and about a dozen brief book reviews.
GLQ was founded in 1993 with Carolyn Dinshaw, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and David M. Halperin, a classicist at the University of Michigan, as the original editors. When the journal was founded it had an explicit mission to advance “queer theory.” The types of scholarly articles featured in the journal are eclectic in their methodology and intention. Articles include theoretical pieces, histories of queer identity, and historiography. Many books, which have become central to queer theory and scholarship, were published as articles in earlier forms in GLQ. The journal came to Duke University Press beginning with volume four in 1998.
In addition to the collection of scholarly articles, GLQ includes “The GLQ Archive” which is “a special section featuring previously unpublished or unavailable primary materials that may serve as sources for future work in lesbian and gay studies.” These materials are often transcripts of conference discussions or original documents and when featured are generally a large portion of the journal.
The journal positions itself as an interdisciplinary journal and authors are from a wide variety of disciplines with an emphasis on disciplines in the humanities particularly history, English, and cultural studies. The journal is consciously international in its approach, and in recent years focusing more on transnational queer scholarship. Although there is more focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, GLQ takes a wide historical perspective. A recent archive entry was a debate about applying the term lesbian to Greek, Roman and Medieval practices from a history conference while another article was a statement from contemporary lesbian activists in Mexico.
There have been a number of special issues of the journal included “The Transgender Issue” edited by Susan Stryker which features early articles from Joanne Meyerowitz’s book How Sex Changed and Judith Halberstam’s Female Masculinity, “Thinking Sexuality Transnationally” in 1999, “Men and Lesbianism” in 2001, “Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization” edited by Jasbir Kaur Puar in 2002, “Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies” edited by Robert McRuer and Abby L. Wilkerson in 2003, and “The Work of Friendship: In Memoriam Alan Bray.” These special issues reflect the evolution of queer theory to new areas of engagement, particularly examining transgender issues and other areas of scholarship that expand the name of the journal and the disciplinary space as well. Special issues also function as ways to bring a greater diversity of scholarship—and scholars—to the pages of the journal.

PhD Reflections #6

In many ways, it has been a semester of theory, and I realize as it comes to a close how much I both enjoy theory and have a vexed relationship with it. For me, theory in its most basic form challenges what I already know. With its capacity to step up a level and out to a larger perspective and interrogate both the why and the how of things in the world, theory is invigorating and exciting to me intellectually. At the same time, given my work in the queer movement and the non-profit sector, I’m always asking myself, how does this theory affect people’s material conditions? The answers are not always clear and that generates the dissonance of theory for me. In my reading this semester, I’ve come to admire profoundly scholars who are able to make strong theoretical connections to daily life. I think in particular of Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions, Chela Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed, and Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas.
A few full days at the library this past week confirmed for me that I want to spend more time doing archival research. At one point, I thought that I might be ill-suited for that type of scholarly work, but increasingly I find that sort of work to be what really excites me and motivates me. The joys of discovery really light my fire intellectually. Archival work also reminds me of the necessity of putting in the time for the work. It’s similar to being a poet; poetry requires time and the discipline of sitting down and writing even if it’s bad, inelegant, and mundane. Each day, that work is important. Similarly, the archival work is reviewing folio after folio, mining for the gems and taking notes and remembering various tidbits with the hope that together they might glimmer as a whole. So one of the things I hope to do during the break and next semester is build some archive and research time into my weekly schedule.
New directions for my thinking are harder this week. I’m aware of the necessity of focusing in on the projects at hand to drive to the successful completion of the semester. Things that I may have explored more fully earlier in the semester are now shunted to a future task list in service to fulfilling the work that is immediately ahead. The one area I’m mulling and struck me especially during my review of GLQ was the importance of transnational frameworks for queer scholarly work. This was affirmed as well by Kathy Davis’ book, The Making of Our Bodies Ourselves. I want to think more about that as I move forward.
My biggest dilemma continues to be balancing that need for broad, expansive, and ambitious thinking with the realities of producing things, whether they are papers or book reviews or bibliographic annotations. I think that keeping that dynamic tension foremost in my mind and my intellectual practice is important and doing it effectively is a recurrent dilemma.
Though I should have known better, there was the image of coming into graduate school as a giant vessel waiting to be filled. That, of course, isn’t the case. Yes, my mind is a giant vessel, but the process of filling it is different than that of a carafe beneath the faucet. Filling the vessel of the mind is an active process; there is the persistent desire to think that someone, some great and prescient person, will take responsibility for pouring in everything that is needed, but in fact, there are many people engaged in that process, and I am an important one in it as well. Ultimately, nearing the completion of this first semester, I feel many of my expectations – and hopes and dreams – about graduate school have been fulfilled and at the same time, I feel very in media res. As though I am in the first act of a Greek play – hoping the elements of comedy and tragedy are all present – before we reach the final scene.

PhD Reflections #5

The collaborative paper for WMST 601 is now complete with the particular sense of relief, though it’s effects, perhaps unanticipated, linger in my mind. When I enrolled in graduate school for the MFA, the thing that I wanted most of all was time alone. This resulted from a disjunction for me in the year prior to graduate school. My work life had always involved being extroverted and gregarious and working not only with a team of people, but also with a large community of people. I excelled at this and external reports were that I thrived in such circumstances. In fact, all I hungered for was quiet time alone. The solitude of a room of my own and ample time to putter around, sort things out, clean when necessary, and write. The MFA program offered an opportunity to reorganize my life to focus more on this solitary act and less on the social of work. I consciously didn’t join any groups and had little interest in building a social life at school, particularly in the first year. Yes, I found new friends and invested in new relationships, but my focus was almost unifocal on my time for solitude, especially during the period where I worried that my two or three years in the MFA would be my only time in school, my only time to really have the solitude to write.
Moving into the PhD program has lessened some of my generalized anxiety of time limitations. I worry less that if I don’t have my required 5-6 hours of solitary time per day I will never get them back – or have them in the future. Though, still, even with four or five years stretching in front of me, I am protective of my solitude. This is why the dissonance of the desire for collaboration has been filling my mind.
As undergraduates, we all yearned for collaboration, though we didn’t label it that; it was, more accurately, the desire for a long-term intellectual, sexual, emotional, and lifetime partnership. We wanted to have sustaining primary relationships. It was the confirmation that there is something significant about social activity for human beings. As I and my friends from undergraduate school have gone out to the world, we’ve either built such partnerships or built and lost and rebuilt or found other, less traditional methods of securing such partnerships. In short, we’ve learned to satisfy our social and human needs in a variety of ways. I thought coming into graduate school, that those desires of human connection had been attended and would not be present. In some ways, I was right; I just didn’t realize how they would resonate on a different register.
I think that the desire for collaboration is related to this undergraduate experience, though it is different: less urgent, more focused on intellect and less on the social or carnal desires of post-adolescence. Still, it is present. I read the poems of Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton, all written collaboratively, and I imagine what would it be like to work with someone in such an intensive way to create poems? I think about the work that Martha Nell Smith has done with Ellen Hart on the Dickinson correspondence. How does one build such collaborations that now span decades? I think of Stan Plumly lifetime of study of Keats. Is that in some ways a collaboration even though Keats is a collaborator limited by what he can say to what has already been written? These things are on my mind about collaboration. On one hand, there is the persistent desire to simply be alone in a room, reading books, writing, thinking, and in that reflective solitude have the opportunity to create. On the other hand, there is that desire for social connection, for working in a meaningful way with someone to produce more than what one might imagine alone.
New directions for my thinking come this week from post-colonial theory which I find myself drawn to again as a useful location for dialogue with contemporary queer theory. The level of complexity that post-colonial theory offers for thinking about identity development in relationship to subjects is far greater than much of what I read in contemporary queer theory. I find myself returning to it and continuing to mull over the ways in which these two theoretical locations speak to one another. I’m particularly thinking about how each speak to Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. Bishop, who eschewed any association with the lesbian community and who lived a large part of her adult life abroad, not in a colony, but in a location alienated from her own nation, seems to me to present some interesting opportunities for reading these theoretical positions in dialogue with one another. I’m also knee-deep in reading Derrida’s Archive Fever and contemplating what that means for my own project of building a Lesbian Poetry Archive. It’s a beautiful, provocative book that I find much more accessible than other Derrida work that I’ve encountered.
I’m still mulling through the dilemma of ensuring that I develop my mind to think critically from multiple locations and not simply rest where I am comfortable. It comes with the recurrent fear that I become an intellectual like Daphne Patai or Camille Paglia or Charles Murray, but I continue to circle around this intellectual discipline.

PhD Reflections #4

For seventeen years my professional life was predicated on assessing and analyzing situations quickly and determining next actions and executing those actions with a particular smoothness and efficiency. In addition, I was almost always in the role of an advocate. It was my job to help to define what was good for “us” (usually queers) and to promote those ideas to the exclusion of the ideas of those who were against “us.” The truth is, in many ways, I like being an advocate. There is a sense of righteousness and justice in the position. Being an advocate, however, generally is predicated on a partial view and on constructing and advancing that particular partial view for others to adopt and accept. Given my experience as an advocate, I feel like the intellectual skills of advocacy are a strength that I bring to scholarly work. While these intellectual skills have important strengths in the world, they have particular limitations and weaknesses in the academic world.
Initially the weaknesses of advocacy were most evident in the rhetoric of my writing. As in, this is a little “too strident,” or to quote Keats as a beloved mentor did many times, “this poem has designs on me.” I realized through a painful struggle that the rhetoric of the advocate, while always a language I could be comfortable with and use in the right contexts, would have to become secondary to another rhetoric. Now, I am having parallel thoughts, not only about my writing but about the very nature of my thinking. I reassure myself that I’ll always be able to think as an advocate, if I choose to, and to appreciate that particular mode of thinking and being, but I want to be able to apprehend things differently as a scholar. I want to think more broadly and have a world less circumscribed by sharply drawn positions of what is right and how meaning should be ascribed at this particular moment. This has many consequences for me. First, this mode of thinking takes longer. In my previous professional life, I was paid to assess a situation quickly, articulate a position immediately and succinctly, and then work to make that position understood by a wide variety of constituents. In scholarly work, while there continues to be pressures of time, the time spreads not from minutes and hours, but to days and months. In scholarly work, the mode of thinking is about rattling around different ideas in a variety of locations and listening to different people and reading different people. This mode of thinking is about asking more questions and having fewer answers and fewer predetermined positions. In one way, I come to most of my reading in this program with an agenda, to determine what this reading can mean to me and my work, but in another way, I come with no agenda because I’ve given up the agenda of the advocate. I’m less interested in finding work that confirms what I believe or supports my position. I’m more interested in understanding what these other spaces and positions are about.
While ultimately I believe that this method of thinking is a productive one for me to pursue, it is getting me into lots of hot water this term. The other week in my feminist history class, we read The Politics of the Womb by Lynn Thomas. In this book, Thomas tells a history of Kenya related to genital incision and abortion. She does not take the position that genital incision or cutting are bad, what I would characterize as an advocacy position, rather she writes the history of how it happened and what it meant for people in the Meru districts. The book is almost denuded of any advocacy position. The material is difficult both because she is a trenchant historian and it covers an area and history with which I have no familiarity; it’s also difficult because of the content and Thomas’ refusal to label the practice as female genital mutilation, a move which would make the content more familiar. One of my classmates struggled with the book for Thomas’ refusal to reflect on the act of genital cutting; I’m sympathetic to her reading and her frustration, and I certainly understand this classmate’s position as an advocate. I know that advocacy position, however, so what I wanted to explore in my mind and through discussion is what does it mean to not take that position? What does it mean to not take an advocacy role or have a particular feminist conclusion about what is right and what is wrong?
        Well, part of what it means is that a lot of new information and ways of thinking come to the fore. This I like. Another part of what it means is that people make as a result of your/my discussion contributions particular sets of assumptions about your/my politics, and often your/my analysis of power. This I like less. I like most fancy myself as a person with a particular political analysis that will resonant with like-minded people. I find myself, however, less engaged in wanting to assert that resonance and more engaged with wanting to explore new ways of thinking outside the advocacy mindset. In the long term, I know that my political loyalties need to be explicit and identifiable by allies, but in the short term, I’m most invested in learning to think in new ways and outside the confines, for the time being, of the advocate.

PhD Reflections #3

Sometimes to be a student is to be like a fish, unaware of the water in which you are swimming. Sometimes, however, there is awareness. In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the “water” of graduate schools: classrooms and teaching. I foreground this consideration with a reflection about the coursework from my MFA. I found the most exciting courses ones that were challenging throughout the semester and offered by the final two or three weeks of the course some sort of intellectual transformation. This “Aha” moment as I have come to call it was incredibly gratifying and made the struggle and uncertainty of the earlier weeks worthwhile. I know from teaching on course to undergraduates that, while it seemed to me effortless and magic when my professors did it, in fact to construct a course that way is challenging. I wonder if even the best professors are able to do it every semester and in every class. There is some sort of alchemy that happens among the syllabus, the professor, and the students; sometimes the outcome is magic and sometimes it isn’t. When the magic happens for me as a student, it is incredibly fulfilling. When the magic falters, frustration ensues. The path to that alchemy, that “Aha” moment, however, is not an immediate one; it is impossible to know how it will turn out in the end so all along the way there are interventions, reassessments, and new directions.
I’ve been thinking about how my professors this term are currently engaging in their job of teaching and about what I might do when faced in the future with similar challenges. Martha Nell Smith has responded in our Feminist Literary Theory Seminar to a group of students with both vastly different experiences and histories in feminist literary theory as well as in feminism in general and to different levels of engagement developmentally where people are in their degree programs, by doing “mini-lectures” during each class meeting. At first I was surprised by this didactic approach as she approached the seminar on the long poem that I took with her a year ago very differently. As the class has moved forward, however, the quality of discussion is reflecting her intervention of providing background information and thoughtful overviews of both the things that we are reading as well as broader issues in the field of feminist literary theory. On the other hand, WMST 601 suffers in discussion. I’ve not found a useful way to participate to build a more rich and nuanced engagement. I’m mindful that the interventions of the professors reflect their experience and their desire to contribute to that transformative alchemy. I am hopeful that the moment from which I write this is simply one of those challenging ones that will have an end of semester reward.
New directions for my thinking fall into two categories: thoughtful and mundane. In the thoughtful category, I read Siobhan Somerville’s Queering the Color Line and have been reading her scholarly articles as well. She is doing the blend of history and literary work that I want to do, and so both reading her work and thinking about how she puts together her arguments is gratifying. In the mundane category, I’ve been thrilled with Zotero, the free online bibliographic tool. It is giving me greater confidence in organizing information in ways that are useful and retrievable for future projects. The consequence of having a tool that I can trust for this is I feel more bold in my explorations of things and don’t have a perceived need to limit my casting of the net as I know I’ll be able to process things that I find.
The greatest dilemma of these few weeks is about collaboration in academia. We are currently working on our collaborative paper for WMST 601. Let me begin by saying, being collaborative is central to my identity as a person engaged in the world. While in the working world, I was always striving for decision-making and work processes that were collaborative. I think of myself as a good collaborator and perhaps more importantly as someone committed to this sort of process and work. Thus, it has been challenging to me to have a collaboration not go well, when I co-lead a class with another student in WMST 601, and to face the collaborative writing project with trepidation. This should be the thing that I am good at! Nevertheless, I have trepidation about this, which almost becomes anxiety because of the way in which the project was framed as challenging and difficult with little attention to rewards.