In a few minutes i go in to teach the children again. Yesterday i learnt that two out of the three of the mothers had complained – the 12-year-old girl’s mother said it was too hard, and one of the boys’ mothers said it was too easy. Nothing i can really do about that, it’s my school’s fault for putting a 12-year-old girl together with two 15-year-old boys. It’s not so much that her English is weak as that she’s still a child, whereas they are young adults. She can’t concentrate and seems to have almost no manners – for example, she spent Tuesday ripping up bits of paper, and then left the confetti scattered all over the table and floor. A moment of anger as i contemplated the mess, after she’d gone, and had it been legal i would have called her back and lightly whacked her across the head with my textbook. This kind of punishment was common at my school – it didn’t hurt, it was just a little humbling, without being humiliating. However, i would have then told her to pick up every piece of paper, individually, and construct a papier mache idol of Wittgenstein, and to read the Tractatus and present her 5 minute summary to the class. i would also probably have told her to devise a child-hurling catapult and then cruelly used it to hurl her across the Atlantic to Patrick Kurp, who i’m sure would be delighted to babysit a confetti-spewing 12-year-old German brat, presuming that she didn’t liquify on impact, covering Kurp in blood & viscera & confetti & bits of a papier mache Wittgenstein (what joy).
After only 5 units with the children, i felt exhausted & vaguely homicidal. i feel reluctant to see them again, though at least the school “assistant director” moved the girl to a group for younger brats, and i hope not to see her again (unexpectedly, she asked to stay in the class, so i suppose she enjoyed it, somehow). For these 5 units i will be paid € 65 – this seems like a lot of money, especially given i was paid about 35 pounds a day, after tax, in my office jobs. But when one factors in my € 550 a month medical insurance, anything less than € 20 a unit (45 mins) isn’t adequate, unless the school can provide at least 8 units a day. i work mainly for three schools, and over August i only have classes with one, a big chain which pays a measly € 13/unit. The school charges the customers about € 50 a unit, so they naturally expect high quality; but i find it hard to motivate myself to spend hours of unpaid time doing lesson prep, marking homework, finding supplementary materials, for € 13 a unit. When one factors in medical insurance, and the € 200/month i should be paying to the state pension fund (needless to say, i haven’t paid a pfenning), and the irregularity and uncertainty of the workload, €13 is equivalent to the 6 pound an hour jobs i did in England – that is, a subsistence wage.
Reflecting on my post-confetti exhaustion, i realised that, much as i enjoy energetic & successful human interactions, i feel stunned & horrified by insurmountable failure or rejection. This seems central to my nature. Perhaps because i am quite happy alone, reading, walking, peering at birds, scowling at dogs, examining trees, runing & crooning, occasionally even thinking & writing, and because i only had good experiences with human beings after my 21st year, i hesitate to involve myself with others – in any way – i do not require such grisly complication. Any involvement, and so any communication, is a difficult, fraught business.
This extends to my writing, and is the main reason i disabled comments, have no interest in publication, and why i very rarely comment on other people’s blogs; because my writing involves basic, not easily disengaged energies, the hostility i arouse is especially unsettling & irritating, leaves me unwilling to write at all, to anyone. i seem to enrage women in particular, though i also had at least two malevolent male stalkers (also a few lunatics), and the frequent drive-by boobies, a parade of patronising, abusive, superficial, arrogantly idiotic misreaders & dolts & vermin, human trash. Since disabling comments, the only feedback i have is from emails – and it is in the nature of the internet stalker, that if they cannot publicly spew out their venom, if they must deal with one directly, without an audience, they suddenly lose all interest, and are heard no more. And so the emails are friendly, courteous.
One of my malevolent stalkers, when i disabled comments, told me my mind would go stagnant without his valuable abuse. Likewise, Morgana became enraged when i told her i prefer to write in a vacuum; she told me i wouldn’t survive in academia if i was afraid of criticism and feedback, etc., etc. Well, yes. One more reason to avoid academia – just in this life i’ve had the unenviable experience of trying to explain myself to academics (in English Lit and Theology), who half-listen to the first few words, engage the relevant intellectual reflex, then rebut my point with something bearing no relation to my actual argument. i have no interest in talking to such great, tenured boobies.
This is the right path – away from the hectic silliness of any kind of fame, of crowd-pleasing, which must be a great dilution of force. i am uneasy with the tone of many blogs: at one end, the standing-on-tip-toes straining to please, or the self-conscious swagger; at the other, the hearty, self-satisfied camaraderie, the stout-bellied regular at his usual stool, surrounded by his usual, red-faced drinking companions, each with a loud opinion, each confident of their place in the world, of their belchings & mouthings. Nothing wrong with social gatherings – some of my favourite groups are more like a weekly get-together; but i won’t write like that. i do not require an editor, i do not need feedback from any human being. i could say, in Wodan’s words to his valkyrie daughter, when i talk to you, i take counsel only with myself.