reaproacching tech feelings, ranting about literature
reapproaching tech feels weird. first of all, tech was pre-transition stuff, so there’s gender stuff involved, feeling like I’m regressing. but I have learned to deal with those.
then there’s a sense of defeat; I spent the larger part of the last, let’s see, 15 years or so trying to move from tech into humanities. at some point I succeeded; only to run back to it with tail between my legs seemingly at the first sign of trouble. have talked with therapist about this at length: it wasn’t really "at the first sign of trouble", it was some pretty big trouble, it was full disillusionment with academia, and also I’m not the person I was before, I don’t have the same values, goals, needs. for the place I am right now, a stable tech job is a much better deal than the exploitative positions at academia; there’s nothing wrong with that.
one thing that never went away, though, is the sense that I in some sense just fit better with the humanities crowd. this was in large part due to the lit folk being woke and politically aware, while the techies near me were all chauvinistic (u.s.-style) "apolitical" "libertarians"; esp. the experience of Google made me very aversive to tech culture. literature, by comparison, was like finding an oasis after a desert.
post-transition, turns out a lot of trans folk are into tech and you can feel like you can relate to them, at a tech level at least. so even if you’re tired of techbro culture you can vent with people who understand you, or see them venting about the same things, and it doesn’t feel nearly so bad as it did for me back in 2008.
but there’s still that sense of solitude. there’s a kind of wall of incomprehension I hit whenever I get too much humanities, usually in the form of the familiar words: "but what is the *point* of this? what is it all *for*?" and I just fail to convey the magic, the music in the words, the poetry of it. and I can’t help but miss them, those professors who sparked with enthusiasm for the thing-in-itself, for the thing without further purpose than sheer delight; the one who was into Greimas and the one into Barthes, the one into Valéry and the one who taught me to think about Poe, the one who did erotic shunga gravures and the one who went over 8th-century Classical Japanese poetry with me, word by word, as slow read as it gets… browsing the green Loeb editions of the Odyssey without knowing Greek, for the sheer joy in the musicality of the song, discovering Foley’s "How To Read An Oral Poem" by chance…
the girl who taught me about polyamory. she was literature incarnate. the extreme fascination she caused in people, me included, the briefness of our affair, my distant longing for years. she still watches my Instagram stories, never interacts. me reading Mélusine thinking of her, me reading provençal poetry thinking of her, me listening to her songs thinking of her, White Stripes, "Fever", I still think of her, every time… she probably moved on from that stuff years ago, I have no idea what she’s up to these days, it hurts to look. her sincere respect that I expressed our breaking up with song. how I loved her for it. how I still do.
I won’t go as far as saying that the whole of my literature studies was chasing my early 2000s polyamory activist lit girl, but she was a catalyst in my life. I would sing to her, song from her band,
> Then something else came to mind, that was the mirror
> …And it might sound a little strange for me to say to you
> But I'm proud to be you
> And I'm slowly turning into you
> And I'm slowly turning into you
> And I'm slowly
oh if only we knew.
I am not 19 anymore. I know how to relate to people now, how to make contacts and build community. I have at least a couple people to talk about theory, at least one person into Greek stuff, at least one person into art, at least one person into philosophy and math. but I seem to have no one to share enthusiasm about, say, mid-20th-century Argentinian literature, or phonæsthetic theory in artlangs, or stream of consciousness. ("I tried to read Orlando on your account", said my ex, back when we were together. "I couldn't make head or tails of it." and also: "hearing you talk is like reading Virginia Woolf". I've never felt so simultaneously proud and lonely at a single remark.) it’s like this whole section of my life was buried – ok that’s true of the whole pre-transition life, all buried under the sea, but this was the part I _liked_, academia never worked as well for me as it did during literature undergrad, previous me’s golden age for sure.
this peculiar sterility of tech life.
if I am to do this, I can’t forget to feed my lit side. I am, technically, an award-winning writer and fiction translator. gotta do something with that, if only to keep sane.
get in touch with the scene.
during my lit period, I kept playing with tech as a hobby; now it should be the other way around.
I will write poems.
Elilla’s personal server.