desiderata and despair

| 4 Comments | 3 TrackBacks
I know that Desiderata is a fake. Nonetheless, this segment has always stuck with me.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater
and lesser persons than yourself.

As I sit here today trying to put together my paper for AoIR, I've been slipping further and further into bitterness. There are so many people out there who have said what I want to say better than I can say it myself. And I'm by turns left appreciative, envious, grateful, bitter, and enriched by what they say.

I've added two new ("new to me," as the used car sellers would say) blogs to my blogroll as a result of today's research, reading, and futile attempts at writing. One is Jeff Ward, who has written some wonderful pieces on the Bourdieu/blog connection here and here. His posts led me to Alex Golub, whose posts on People as Filters and Blog: Genre, Text, Technology were equally wonderful.

But the problem with reading wonderful things, for me, is that they often don't inspire me to greatness. Instead they leave me wanting to get down on the floor and cry out "I'm not worthy!" Which probably isn't a terribly healthy response.

I think that means it's time to give up on this (for now), and go home. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel smarter.

(I feel particularly foolish for having taken this long to realize how good Jeff's stuff is, really, since he's tracked back to me on several occasions.)


Update (5:38pm)
Gerald has convinced me to stay the course. He points out that if I'm having a difficult time explaining to him what the smart people I've read have to say (which I was), that means there's still a need to bridge a gap, to write about what they say, and about what Bourdieu says, and connect the dots rather than drawing new dots. (Not his words, exactly, but that was the gist of it.) He rocks. He also points out that my complaints about not being able to do this sound a lot like my complaints when I go back to working out at the gym after a long hiatus. In this case, it's been nearly six years since I've had to exercise my "mental muscles," and it's showing. But that's not a good excuse for giving up.!

3 TrackBacks

Monkey business from Blog de Halavais on October 5, 2003 5:38 PM

While Liz may find herself questioning the force of her arguments while finishing up the AIR paper, I myself have... Read More

As I've said before, I need to work on patience. I hate to fail. I hate to feel mediocre. I hate to be rusty. But I try to step outside my comfort zone and do things I do not yet... Read More

on liz lawley's AoIR despair... from judith meskill's knowledge notes... on October 8, 2003 11:13 PM

link aggregators or electronic yentas? people as filters haitech haiku™ ©2003 judith meskill inspired by liz lawley's reference - in her desiderata and despair post - to Alex Golub's people as filters essay.... Read More


when i get stuck like this, i try to change modes, usually i only get stuck with words when writing, so i talk it out, and usually by the end, i have something.

I think worrying about being "not worthy" or "not smart"--basically a fraud--is something that mainly afflicts very intelligent people.

I've never thought of myself as "not worthy" or "not smart." I wonder if that means I'm dumb. Oh, wait, I think I just doubted myself. Cool, I'm smart after all :).

Don't worry Liz, I'm sure once you get a gander at the other papers on the panel (mine included) you'll be back to feeling well above-average ;).

Lisa, it's a theme that comes up over and over again in research into gender and technology. CMU's Unlocking the Clubhouse book has an entire chapter on the subject ("Living among the Programming Gods: The Nexus of Confidence and Interest").

One thing that has helped me a lot has been when people whose ideas and writing I respect have let me see _their_ insecurities. There's a huge relief in knowing that it's not just me battling the "I'm a fraud" feelings.




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on October 4, 2003 4:57 PM.

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