August 4, 2020:

I am struggling with Althusser.

I feel confident there's something there, some important insight or technique or approach which will help to resolve the specific questions which were my reasons for attending university. Yet its density, its foreign-ness, the way it wants to make complex the things I've been taught to take for granted — What does he mean that we don't know how to read?. Overwritten and overdetermined and overlaid/overladen by the tapestry of my many overlapping internal voices, my ADHD choir, so that maintaining focus on the voice of the text is a struggle of its own.

At this time there's no-one to help me. My prime resource should be our Philosophy professor, but I am not among the circle of favorites he chooses to assist, or the somewhat larger circle of undergrad females he chooses to pursue. I don't think he'd be useful even if he did make the attempt. He and his partner the Literature guy are married to their ironic pose, where questions are answered with a smirk, an ellipsis, and the implication of a wink intended to imply, "After all, we're all in this together."

There's a secondary resource I spend much time with, not because he's helpful but because he's at least read the book. He's a walking and ever-talking blinking neon advertisement for that style of free-association which leads ever and always to oneself. Ask him any question, his answer will be about him. The technique then is to let him ramble for several minutes, then steer deftly back to the question, with the hope that if we can land for a minute or two on the letter of the text perhaps there'll be insight, no matter how incidental. In its way it's like fishing. Let the creature run free with the line, then slowly, deftly reel it in.

There's a circle of grad students not that far away, Riverside and Pomona, but this is the era before instant ubiquitous communication. There's no email or cell phones, there's really only postal mail but that's too cumbersome to be realistic at my neophyte level. To be enabled to progress I need the answer now.

Thus I'm on my own, with my colored markers, my good intentions, my lack of resources, and the voices in my head.