Mourning and Melancholy


I have taken a longer than usual break from the blog.  Not a break really.  More like being overwhelmed again.

These big winds kicked up off the ocean and stirred up all the dust and my sinuses started acting up and in addition to my usual gloom I started feeling pressure around the eyes and dripping slightly from around the eyeballs.

Anything like this seems right now to me a sign of my immanent departure from this orb.  Paranoia and the death thing—acting in concert.  I know what’s going on—sort of—I have an over identification right now with Brother Dan and his upcoming procedure and what may befall him or not. 

Freud says in “Mourning and Melancholy” that the living person becomes the dead person.  That’s what identification is. Not exactly the most emotionally healthful thing.  Different from empathy which implies some recognition of the person one empathizes with as a separate person.  But this is the kind of stuff—identity stuff—that goes on in a family (the family of my childhood) that was largely dysfunctional or maybe just really screwed up.

In any case, I have been overcome by identifications.  This applies also to my students.  I identify with them through my experiences as student, and the importance of being a student, and of education to me more generally.  For that reason perhaps I most especially hate grading.  I would hate to be a judge who identified with criminals.  Sentencing a person to death would be like executing yourself.

I really—and I mean really—have no Idea how students feel about having me (Nick) assign a grade to their writing or how they feel in general about being graded.  Maybe they don’t have any feelings about the act of being graded generally; they have known that all their lives, but are concerned only with the particular grade they receive. But I do know that every time I put a grade on a paper I feel as if I am grading myself.

Well, the grading is nearly done, and I am not dead.  Today I consider that an accomplishment.

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