February 6, 2021
I started rereading Mailer’s An American Dream this morning, as my novel course begins talking about on Tuesday. The first chapter is dense: it introduces all the major themes, illustrates Mailer’s experimental style—simultaneously gritty and real while also supernaturally surreal, and has Deborah murdered on the floor by its close. Rojack is Mailer’s experimental white negro protagonist: one who violently sheds the trappings of an emasculating modern life to discover his genuine self, no matter who or what must be sacrificed to do so. He lives for the existential thrill of life, eschewing all that attempts to control or define him. His actions are accompanied by the ever-present face of the moon, a familiar but but also unknowable symbol that stands sentinel over the concrete jungle of New York City. I wonder what my class will think?
I found out yesterday that my post-tenure review is this semester. This freed me from having to do the annual self evaluation, but instead I have to put together a portfolio that illustrates and details my professional life for the last five years. I think I’ll develop the persona of a schizophrenic scholar, standing in the intersection Arts Blvd and Science Way. This won’t be difficult, just time-consuming. I think I have about a month. I get to choose my own “designee”—I assume who will act as my advocate in the committee, and I have just the person in mind.
Enjoy your Saturday.