On Being Quoted

I saw the name of a guy, Mark Bracker, that I know who writes about teaching, literature, and psychoanalysis in an email announcement, and I sent him an email just saying hello.  His return email indicated he had published a book, Radical Pedagogy, which I didn’t know he had published.  So I checked to see if it was in the UCSB library, and it was, and I asked Carol who was going to the library, if she would get it for me, and she did.  When she got back, she said, my book, Self-Development and College Writing, was mentioned a number of times in his book and did I want to hear what he had written about it, and I said, OK, why not? 


Turns out Mark had quoted from my book several times at some length.  It was odd and funny hearing myself quoted in that way.  I liked the quote best where I write:

            One is trying to write and to think in a way (to gain entry to that closed society [of academia]) that cuts one off exactly from those audiences from which one most desires recognition.  No wonder students become enervated.  No wonder they write things they don’t care about or don’t understand.  The psychological roots of BS run very deep.

I liked that—the psychology roots of BS—that sounded like me, alright.  And I didn’t remember having written it, though when Carol read it, I knew I had written it.  It has been almost 3 years since that book was published.  I haven’t opened it since even though I spent four years working pretty assiduously on it.  I think writing it wore me out; I don’t know if a single sentence from the first 300 page draft ended up in the book.  Also I write real fast and maybe because of that don’t always remember what I have written.   Maybe I write so fast as a way of hoping to hit the material down below my censor.  That censor is an evil guy who cuts me off at the knees and fills me with self-doubt.

Mark writes a lot more intellectually than I do.  My book gave him some sort of psychology of the writing teacher raw material to work with.  It was nice of him to quote from my book, and I was happy that what I had written was of use to him.  I was feeling blue and Carol cheered me up some by reading from Mark’s book.

 Above—that’s a picture Cousin BC a geologist by education, sent along of some gypsum crystals found in a cave in Mexico during a mining operation.  Those crystals strike me as pretty spooky.  They could be living things, that grow in the dark, like what a potato does when you leave it a dark place—those pale tendrils come out.

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