dolphin water guns

this is my cousin, Jesse (left) and my sister, Emily. the photo was taken years ago (clearly) in the Florida Keys. we used to spend every summer there until we had a nasty boating accident in 1973. that ended it. but i love this image, the dolphin water guns, Jesse's innocent expression and Emily's outrage -- i don't know what it's about. once, when she was raging mad at my sister, Carrie, she looked at her and declared w/ near-combustible fury, "S, . . . N . . .O . . . S . . . N!" Carrie looked at her cooly and replied, without affect, "snosn?" Emily stood exquistely furious and unable to speak or move or do anything. it was indescribably sad, but, yes, we all laughed -- which made it unspeakably worse for Emily. she had been so certain that S-N-O-S-N meant something . . . which is maybe what i'm thinking about, the things we say and do with some sense that it's important; maybe we're not sure, but we fling it out there, trot it out for display, reactivate our associations with it and imagine someone vibing out on its potential in some time and space (too groovy, you say? snosn).

the latest picture i have of Jesse is from his work in Baghdad (Jesse is in the military); he is standing with a local man with whom he'd been discussing neighborhood issues while drinking chai tea for an hour (an hour's worth of Iraqi chai?! i'll bet that was some conversation . . . ). Jesse used to do this rap when he was a kid. it went, "my name is Jesse/ mmmmm . . . I do not mess around, ha-ah/turn around/ touch the ground/get back up and boogie down, I say peace, peace . . . peace, peace . . . " it was hysterical. now, it's weirdly poignant and hopeful. Emily is now a mother of one and pregnant with her second child. her first daughter, Fiona is my lovely little niece who likes to say "i LIKE it" about everything. it's adorable and innocent and childlike and hopeful, like squirting each other with dolphin water guns and getting bowl haircuts from mom and NOT wanting to have your picture taken because your image is yours and not for the taking, not just now. when i'm ready.


chris said…
you def need to keep blogging.

i like reading your stuff. it seems secretly apropos - coded-like; applicable to our life as academics, yet still connected to the real: you know, the stuff that keeps us sane, the "other" stuff we "do/live."

what do i mean? it's like the word snosn. a lot of the academese that i "appropriate" means to me the same thing as "snosn" the first few times i employ it. like the concept is important and i should know it, but i'm not sure... i "fling it out there." but that's what we do... we fling shit (ideas, feelings, hunches) out there...

and that's what makes us nervous sometimes: putting our snosn out there, our "image" out there for people to see. "because it's our [snosn] and not for the taking, not just now." but that's how we grow as scholars/intellectuals/inquisitors - by putting shit out there, playing with our ideas, getting feedback (or not). that's what Vygotsky and Dewey and Merleau-Ponty would have us do: play/experience our SNOSN.

yup, SNOSN. tell Carrie i totally feel where she's comin from. with her snosn and her cereal she's such a philosopher...
thanks, Chris. i'm glad you see the connections that were resonating for me . . . i always hope for this kind of response. i feel so sad sometimes at Sundance, watching filmmakers get up at their (hopefully brief) intro, and there they stand, feeling that they have to explain everything. i want to say, "they're a smart audience; they're here to support you!! just let Brad start the film. there, there . . . " and then at C's, i did the same intro/apologia thing (and, god love my husband, and Christa Albrecht-Crane, my friend and colleague, and Victor Vitanza . . . because they all said to me on separate occasions that I needn't have said anything at all. when do we start hearin our own advice? ha!). back to DWG, i have to be clear, to "attribute" SNOSN to Emily, who will enjoy (i hope) that we're blogging about her. she had SO wanted to continue her studies in Literature, and she had been a really smart student, but instead, she went to Law School. she was the last of the 5 children (all girls), and my father (a lawyer) had with palpable hope wanted one of us to follow . . . and so she did it. she made it through . . . and several times along the way (i was a TA at the time), she would say to me, "i want to do what you're doing," which broke my heart. and she was not the very best student, which broke hers. i remember now, that, in fact, Jesse had wanted to study Literature as well; i remember talking w/ him in the parking lot of my sister (Carrie's) apartment . . . he had recently joined the Army, and he was preparing to do this horrible (horrible, to me; i'm sure it's necessary) test of wills thing they do where they drop 2 guys in the desert w/ practically no food and water (maybe it was *no* food and water) and sort of hope they learned their survival skills well enough to last something like a week. i remember sitting on a parking block (those cement slabs), trying to rekindle his fondness for Literature, and he still liked it, but he had found his calling; he was sold on a miltary life. and from the way he talked about his unit (the first level of military devotion), i could see, his whole affect, . . . the military was for Jesse (he do not mess around). now, interestingly, they keep using him to talk to the media (so those language skills are serving him well). i've asked if i can share some of the clips and photos here, but i want to wait for his approval for all kinds of reasons i'm sure you can imagine. so but back to Emily: when she finally got her first case, it was so heartbreaking and horrible . . . she really hated being a lawyer. so, she went to work for Kelly Legal Services, where they place parallegals and help lawyers out. she liked that. she met her husband there. so, thanks again for writing, Chris. glad there was something in it for you :)
i ended that in a weirdly abrupt way. i was simply done. sorry ;)