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Transforming the Imaginary

Local Hub Sites
Created: January 12, 2001
Latest update: January 12, 2001
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Transforming Local Discourse:
Moms and Us and Schizophrenic Identities

On Thursday, January 11, 2001, Gale wrote:

"Hi all -

Sorry to be away so long, I did however talk to Susan yesterday. You know, everything with an elder parent is a crisis. So I got down to Illinois, was taking care of things and forgot to take my meds and ended up in the emergency room myself. I was so worried about my mom, that I forgot about myself. Like, Mac - for myself, I wait until it's REALLY bad. And it takes a while to get your 'bod' back into the grind of things after a setback. Sorry! Got home late Monday night and was wiped out - just rested up on Tuesday.

All the plans for the trip sound GREAT to me. I can pretty much go long with whatever you plan. Like I told Susan, I'd be happy to drive everyone to O'Hare, we can leave my car at the airport and not worry about catching a bus or having someone come pick us up. Mac, where can we pick you up - can you have someone drive you to a location close to the interstate and we can pull in, pick you up and get back on the road? I'm not sure where Grayslake is? Are you close to Gurnee? I know we can work this all out later. But, like I said, I'll be glad to drive everyone - we'll all fit in the KIA.

The room is fine with me. But, I'm with Mac - a jacuzzi, only I'd like a couple of wine coolers (I'm a cheap date) and a stocked fridge! . . . My downfall is snoring! Although I've never heard - I've been told it can rattle walls. Don't worry about sleeping - I don't have the best of sleeping patterns either - so it's no problem for me. And thanks for the 'no smoking'. Although I do take a drag every now and then - I too don't like to live in the smell. Nothing worse then being with someone who smells like an ashtray - unless of course you're in a bar and EVERYONE smells like an ashtray.

Boy, I went through all the email that has stacked up and met Tina and Marlene(the queen). It was nice to meet you guys. Mac is right - it will save a lot of time getting all these formalities out of the way before Reno. I have to say the artwork on habermas was great - I really enjoyed seeing everyone's handiwork. I wish I was that computer literate so I could participate in that sort of thing. I'll have to be shown how to do that sort of thing. As one of the education professors wrote in my recommendation for teacher's ed - my computer skills are rudimentary and I need to bring myself into the future of education. That computers are not going away. Fortunately for me they still need human beings to run them. Do you suppose that will have an affect on whether I get into teacher's ed or not? We'll have to wait and see. The continuing saga of Gale.

Jeanne - I just love the art work on habermas - how cool is that!? What was that your students said "Do Me, Do Me". It's hard to do someone that you haven't had a lot of conversations with (meaning me). But I'm curious what you're intrepretation of Susan would be? Any thoughts? Or is it harder to do something like that when you've met them face to face already and you've known them for many years? Have any of your students met Susan or conversed through email with her? What would their interpretation be of her? What about Mac's interpretation of you? She's had quite a few conversations with you - certainly more than me. I'd be curious of her interpretation of you, never seeing you face to face, taking any of your classes or talking on the phone. What do ya think?

I CAN'T believe that they actually have a site for - I know very well that I will have to refer to it more than once over the next few months. Maybe, if I get really frustrated - I may just send a whole email in netlingo!!!!!!!! SO THERE!!! LOL!!! I'll have the time to do it - I only have 10 credits this semester to graduate in the spring. My two independent studies and one formal class. How's that for an easy last semester? Wish I could help you out a little Mac - this is not going to be easy for you.

After talking to Susan - I plan to have all my thoughts and notes from all the classes put together by the time we get together. Is that still going to be after the 31st? I can meet any MWF and I only have one class on T/R 12:30-1:45, let me know. I'm flexible.

Have a great day all GTG Gale

On Thursday, January 11, 2001, jeanne wrote"

"Glad you're back with us, Gale. Gee, I don't think any of us has ever put off taking care of ourselves till last *smile*. You made me want to rush over to Corel Photo House, but would you please bear in mind that I'm trying to discipline myself to get the site up? I have done Susan, but not in Photo House. Real sketch on real paper. I think I scanned it in and put it up, but can't remember. Will have to hunt for it. I once did Elise in oil, before I learned very much about how to do portraits. Remember, I'm an outsider artist. I was planning to put up instructions to go with the guelphs. Instructions you could use on your pc with freebie programs.

"I was really grateful that you're all enjoying the art. I was afraid Susan was gonna kill me for wasting good work time. I have a schizophrenic identity: it does what it wants and needs to, but is always sure it's gonna get yelled at for doing it. Sounds like typical American parenting with built-in structural violence, hmm? Luckily my Mom was weird, too, so she left me pretty much alone.

Gonna go finish syllabi: I need closure. And I'm gonna put up some new stuff on Habermas and the imaginary from the Habermas list. More later . . . love and peace to all, jeanne

On Thursday, January 11, 2001, Gale responded:

"Hey - if we were all concerned with getting yelled at, would anything really get done? It takes the few of us with the fortitude and self motivation to go ahead, without the worry of backlash, to get things rolling. Unfortunately my mom was not a supportive mom and I was more concerned about her opinion rather then what I could accomplish. She is the epitomy of homebased structural violence. Moms - gotta love 'em! It wasn't until I returned to college, a whole state away, that I realized that I had the motivation and 'smarts' to do it and do it well. I'm lovin' every minute of the learning process today and almost regret having to graduate in the spring. I once told Susan that I'd be happy being a life-long learner. But, we must move on!

By the way - what is a guelph? Something on the computer I imagine. But, what? It's great that we'll be able to get freebie programs on the pc, but if I don't know how to use them, it doesn't matter if it's free, right? I admit to being a remedial computer student. From the 'old school of thought' I guess. Got to get into the 21st century. Movin' on - have a good one.


On Friday, January 12, 2001, jeanne pulled together some impressions:

What I noticed in this set of e-mails was the way that we each slip into and out of the conversation as real people, with feelings very close to the surface, how we reassure one another, and grant permission by our social acceptance of those feelings. The only things I've edited out are the rare references to someone that we might unthinkingly embarass.

I started the guelphs just before this dialog began. Didn't know exactly why, but don't usually ask that of my art. I knew I was thinking of Michael Planck because his hair came through on that first guelph, and Michael is the one who's been so focussed on identity and peacemaking solutions to the adversarialism of the dominant discourse. But I felt comfortable taking the identity search on for myself. I didn't need to interpret Michael's position. He's an artist. He can do that himself.

Oh, Gale, you should find guelph explanations at Guelphs I was amazed at how easily Gale and I slipped into a comfortable aside to the structural violence of dominant discourse parenting, and at our willingness to make the allusion and then let it go. To me that communicated tremendous acceptance, something that I would hope community could provide to those of us who have so little discretionary time and space. I saw Marlene's memo, in which apparently Moms came up, too. (I'll find it and include it here.) And I noticed Gale, who claims no major computer skills, relying on a virtual community to move her more quickly into a face-to-face community in Reno.

I was intrigued, too, by the role the art has come to play. I knew at a cognitive level that it was important in some way. But so much of this evolving community grows organically out of relationships, it continually surprises me as it takes on a life of its own. I've been thinking about it in terms of Bales' Interaction Process Analysis: socio-emotional leadership and task leadership. I'm not sure how to relate this precisely to Fellman's adversarialism AND mutuality, but I suspect that somehow a similar phenomenon is present here. Mac just wrote to quiz me on Jameson and postmodernism, surprised that I seemed to be playing with his work. And Susan just wrote to tell me that she had just picked up Habermas on Inclusion of the Other. We moved with unusual ease from academic discourse tasks to socio-emotional tasks. And the leadership that indicates authority and dominance was not nearly so apparent.

Gale and Mac and Susan began reporting in with daily messages: "Checkin' in on 1/12." Once again, Susan and I could see "consistency" coming to the fore. Susan threatened once to refer to Gale and Mac as "field mice," students we can't manage to hold onto, for they're always scampering away. (I'll have to find that set of dialog and put it up, too.) But if you looked carefully at the dates, it was over the weekend that Gale went to take care of her Mom! Maybe our standards are just a tad too high? I think what's letting this dialog work is that there is much more of an emphasis on mutuality than on adversarialism. We are not forcing each other to compete for limited rewards. We're actually trying to help each other.

Bales, in the 40's was it, was looking at the initiation and nature of behavior in face-to-face interaction, and trying to assess the observed behaviors in terms of leadership. But he was locked into an adversarial notion of leadership. Thus, those who initiated dialog, who introduced topics, who gave instructions, who engaged in initiatory behaviors could be effectively identifies as leaders. What about groups not based on the adversarial process, focussed more on mutual support and achievement? Maybe, just maybe, their leadership in all areas, in initiating dialog, in summarizing information, in group processes generally, maybe their behavior would look different. Maybe it's time to use postcolonial awareness in rethinking many of our conclusions over the last decades. That's what fascinates me so in the reinterpretations of Freud, of Marx. We've looked at these issues in literary criticism. We need to look at them in social criticism.

Gotta go back to work on syllabi. lnp, jeanne

Continue dialog.