I am concluding my series of memoir-notes posts. The last of these will probably be it for a while. I have been focusing on the time up until I was officially awarded my Bachelors degree in philosophy which was January 7th 2000. I was at the time 28 years old.
I first had the idea of writing something like a memoir back in my Sartre class in 1998 (when I found out about Existential Psychoanalysis). I was by that time scouring SF book stores trying to find interesting philosophy books. I remember coming across The Story I tell Myself and I was instantly jealous that I had not thought of that title first. But I felt extremely uncomfortable actually doing anything about it. People I talked to seemed to have had very different experiences from mine (in differing ways) but I thought it was presumptuous to think about writing something like this. Who would care? Maybe once I finished my PhD, I thought, it might make an interesting story. And so I put it on hold.
I didn’t really do anything about it until I moved to New York in 2003. I moved in the summer and had some time to kill before the semester started so I thought I would use that time to start writing a rough draft. I still thought that if I ever did actually get my PhD then the story might be worth telling. I wrote quite a bit of what is in these posts that summer. But doing so brought back all kinds of bad memories and actually made me doubt myself. It really forcibly brought home to me that it was just me, the runaway juvenile delinquent burnout trying to pretend to have profound ideas. I had to stop writing.
I started writing again in 2011 or 2012 but the same thing happened, this time worse because I was doing pretty well professionally. It wasn’t like I was trying to hide my past but I was trying to ignore it and I don’t remember thinking about my past much those days. With the help of Facebook I rediscovered some of my past self but at that point I was worried about getting tenure and I did not want to advertise my past too loudly. I was asked to do an interview for a documentary to accompany a book on education after incarceration by a colleague of mine at LaGuardia and after that I felt kind of obligated to get serious about the project. Plus I realized that I was forgetting some stuff. Even getting this far has been difficult and I am sure there are many errors. Once January 2017 came around and I realized it had been 20 years since I left the mortuary and transferred to SF State I figured it was time to stop stalling and face up to my past.
I had at one point been thinking of this series as part 1 of a larger work. At this point I plan on coming back at some point and writing about the time between January 7th 2000 and roughly September 3rd 2018 (the 10 year anniversary of my successful dissertation defense). That would cover my two years of graduate school at SF state (and the forming of Mob-L), one year of graduate school at the University of Connecticut (and my stint in a Hindi band), 5 years of graduate school at CUNY (and my helping to found the New York Consciousness Collective) and then 10 years of being ‘on the scene’ in New York philosophy (and the Qualia Fest in the New York Times). That is a very different story than the one I have been telling!
But I probably won’t get around to that until sometime around 2038!…In the meantime I’ll be editing these posts and trying to turn them into an actual narrative (and correcting the five billion typos), maybe even look into doing it over a Sabbatical…ah, that’d be nice!
As always if you know anything about these events let me know! I am sure half of this is wrong and the other half is misleading!