I work primarily at home. This morning, since my studio was been cleaned (hurray) I spent an hour reading at Starbucks. The rest of the time is spent at my kitchen table/desk (www.casatarami.blogspot.com). I make goals for the week (I have a how-to-make-goals sheet I can give you if you want) and then divide them up into my planner by day (orange book in the photo). Then I do them.
In honour of the beginning of the week, I will share some thoughts on what these things are. In other words, work. I think our society has a limited definition of work, and it fails to recognize hours of unpaid work at home, raising children, largely done by women, the work women are expected to put into maintaining a specific image (more on the second and third shifts and my impressions of gender in Mexico in a future post). Our society also elevates some work over others, and some sectors will understand some jobs better than others. I, for example, have a hard time understanding what an actuary or a stay-at-home parent does, because it is outside of my experience. Society greatly rewards the actuary (financially). Society does not greatly reward the humanities grad student, the artist, the custodian or the garbage collector.
My work (as a graduate student) is something I enjoy: someone is paying me to read books (Rulfo and Sanchez Prado which you see in my picture), and write about them. Specifically, to prove that images of grotesque or monstrous bodies, feminized men, re-enacted crucifixions, alternate family relationships, and miraculous healing in novels and short stories from 1940 to 1980 point simultaneously and paradoxically to oppression and the possibility of social change; that these images in literature provide avenues to think about similar topics in Mexico’s political history and contemporary reality.
I have a sneaking suspicion the Ontario government, in its pursuit of a knowledge-based economy, did not set out to endorse my specific thesis; rather, its actions are justified through some macroeconomic analysis. The Mexican government may also fund me in the hopes of increasing relationships between the two countries, and, even though someone read my proposal, still thinks that it can form part of its development agenda.