I've been going through boxes of papers, dating back all the way to high school, but mostly consisting of my graduate school work. So, I find notes from classes I took and classes for which I was a teaching assistant. I find the papers from some of my students, which I kept because they were excellent. I find my own papers. And here, on the other side, as a doctoral program drop-out, those papers are an emblem of a life that I can no longer live, a career path I can no longer follow.
I should throw them all away, each and every paper. But instead, I am working to consolidate four boxes into one. And what I am keeping are my students' papers, some notes about topics that still particularly interest me, and my own writing.
In my first year of graduate school, I had a mental breakdown. It was the second quarter, January through March, and my mind was just not quite my own. Yet still, as with my other breakdowns, I managed my schoolwork even as my emotional life flailed.
I was in a very engaging class called "Passing," in which we read and analyzed texts such as The Island of Dr. Moreau, M. Butterfly, and Passing. Animals passing as humans, men passing as women, blacks passing as whites.
I got interested especially in Dr. Moreau, and from that became interested in anti-vivisectionist movements in the nineteenth century. I gave a presentation on my research, and opened by saying "Before I begin, I want you all to know that it is a miracle of modern medicine that I can be with you here today." Then I passed around my bottle of anti-depressants.
It seemed like a good thing to do at the time. And the professors (there were two) liked it, probably because it was less boring than the usual introduction of a graduate student presentation.
Anyway, in going through my papers, I found a paper I wrote for that class, which is titled "sex, lies, and vivisection, or Fuck Black Beauty."
As I said, I was having some "issues."
I also found my handout for my presentation. I reproduce it here for your consideration.
This was during the first Gulf War, and so here are close-ups of some bits:
And here is my "Fun Words" list: