The Political and the Personal

Blogging is kind of a self-conscious activity because it’s completely available to the public, including many people that the blogger knows, but one also doesn’t know who’s reading it. It’s like being behind a one way mirror. But “they” tell me that it’s important to do it as part of getting my art out there (even if it feels a little weird), so I’m going to carry on. It’s always been hard for me to separate the political from the personal (and the artistic), so I’m not going to worry about mixing it all together. The crisis at City College has overshadowed the month of July for me and for others who work or study there. I was fortunate to be able to go to Oregon for the first two and a half weeks after the announcement that the ACCJC is revoking our accreditation. I’ve been back for about ten days. The first couple of days, I was just glad to be home. Then reality about the work situation set in, and I’ve been passing through all kinds of different emotions. Denial. Sadness. Anger. I haven’t gotten to bargaining or acceptance yet. Sleep hasn’t been great. Sometimes I feel hit with waves of exhaustion, but I feel fortunate that I haven’t been suffering from major insomnia in spite of the fact that my work/financial future is on the line. One of the hardest things about this “crisis” is the message behind the ACCJC decision that I, as a teacher, am of no value. When I am able to get out of my own little world, I can see that this attitude of “devaluation” extends to all of the students who need City College, particularly the most vulnerable ones. Often I feel helpless, but I know that there will be actions to fight for my profession and for the students. Art helps a lot. Cats help a lot. Walking on the beach right outside my door helps too. The other day, someone said that it is possible for us to turn this thing around. That the odds are heavily stacked against us, but it is possible. Artwise, I’m looking ahead to Zinefest on Labor Day weekend. In addition to my book, I have promised to sell cat-related art, so I’m working with cat images from my sketchbook in Photoshop, and I’ll post at least one of them here. Oh, and PS. We got paid today with our new 5% permanent pay cut. The irony is that it feels like a raise. The first six months of this year, our paychecks have been small and unpredictable. There was a temporary paycut and a retroactive paycut. (I still don’t understand how a retroactive paycut can be legal). Together that has equaled an 11% paycut. On top of that, for me, an additional $134 has been deducted from every other paycheck as some additional retroactive thing that I never really figured out. Also, “they” decided that it was a good time to switch from a biweekly to a monthly pay, and to transition into the new system we’ve had to wait a month and five days between paychecks. I guess now we can at least expect to get paid on the first of the month. For the next year anyway. Meow.