Friday, July 25, 2008


I'm trying out a new name for my blog: l'astronave. (The url stays the same.)
"GuGeo" was never meant to be its permanent name.

In the fall of 2007, when I started this blog, I had just quit writing geography books. Four years of writing to spec at a 7th grade level left me unable to write words more than two syllables long without adding a definition.

(Similarly, after I got my BA in Classics, I couldn't write sentences free of Latinate constructions, of which I remain very fond.)

I wanted to signify my new freedom to rove in the world of writing and thinking; so I chose the name "Guerrilla Geography."
Someone else on blogger was using that name, however, and I was so stuck in the publishing-world mode, it didn't occur to me to use it anyway (with a different url).
I shortened it to GuGeo--a place-holder until I could think of a better name. It grew on me, though, sounding as it does rather like an Italian fashion designer (like Giorgio).

Over time, what I wanted to happen happened:
my brain shook off the tightest of the work-imposed bonds.
I also shook off the idea that I should work in public service of some sort.
This shows how far I had gone away from myself. Anyone who knows me knows I would be dreadful in any kind of work that involves committees. I just get sulky, to put it mildly.

It was only that I was so sad about how awful the world is, after looking at it closely every day for 4 years, that I even thought of such a ridiculous idea.

Making Star Trek vids this past month was one of the biggest brain shakes.
Here was the breakthrough:
A & J came over for gin-and-tonics a few weeks ago, and I showed them my first vid, "Don't Touch Jim's Flower."
They laughed out loud.
I was shocked.
And it flashed on me at that moment that I could do more for the world by doing what I love, even if it's silly, than I would working on worthy social tasks, such as placing stop signs.
See, I know from experience that sort of contact with my species feeds my just-under-the-surface contempt for us. Not to mention self-loathing.

The other thing about "GuGeo" is that I don't actually like the word guerrilla, which means "little war."
Here's an example of a "little war" mind-set that I know well:
Just yesterday someone of a radical political orientation said they refuse to read Toni Morrison because wealthy, makeup-wearing, liberal, white women like her novels, and in the speaker's eyes, these women are worthy of contempt.

Do I ever personally recognize the pain behind that contempt.
God help me, if I were in academia with people who worship Toni Morrison but never ride the bus, I would be out in the cultural bush with a Kalashnikov, shooting my nose off.

So, since I've blessedly been lucky enough to have a choice, I've always chosen to be poor and unimportant rather than powerful and bitter serving worthy institutions.
I have worked as a janitor in them, and basically I do a variation on that now:
bits and pieces of mopping up other people's writing. I like it OK.

At mid-life, I don't know where I'm going with paid work...or unpaid work either.
But I know I don't want to feed the cynical part of myself--and definitely not the part of myself that grooves on being cynical. (Because, you know, that carries its own social rewards.)

Coming from an academic family, I do suffer some pangs that I have turned out to be a Star-Trek loving janitor.
But what the hell, it makes me happy, and if that translates into making people laugh ever, that is a good thing.

I always thought eventually I might change this blog's name. When Anna Francesca sent me the Italian for "These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise," I was caught by the word for "starship."
L'Astronave. (Italian, so that's "ah-stro-nah-vay".)

I'm giving it a try as a name. Even though I predict that I will not keep writing about Star Trek forever, I will keep looking to the stars.
And it's not too terribly dweeby: I can even give its classical etymology.
Anyway, everything is temporary.


momo said...

TAke flight!

momo said...

just yesterday someone of a radical political orientation said they refuse to read Toni Morrison because wealthy, makeup-wearing, liberal, white women like her novels, and in the speaker's eyes, these women are worthy of contempt.

This stuck with me. I see so much of it and it seems like self-mutilation: "I will surrender my power over my own experiences, tastes and judgments to the people I hate." Gah.

ddip said...

I love the new name!

fresca said...

I'm pleased people are liking the new name. Mostly with the name "GuGeo" people just let me know they were puzzled.

Momo--That example stuck with me too, because I'm sorry to say I recongize myself in it! Not so much as I am now (I hope!!!) but I used to be a lot like that--very scornful to the point that scorn actually impoverished my own life.
The scorn mostly arose from my own fears and sense of powerlessness.