Let’s get to know each other. Ink Tank is a new undertaking. It is new in its consistency—I will share my writing publicly every other Tuesday—, and in its public nature.
I intend to create a written collection integrating diverse genres on diverse subjects, a sort of public playground for the mind. The reader may anticipate a range which will include op-eds, fictional short stories, art reviews, and the odd article published in French.
From time to time I will also share conversational pieces such as this. I want to build context for my writing. I want to create a reflection of the intellectual landscape in which more refined works come to fruition.
To create such a reflection is worthwhile because I know that in my own reading, I find myself extremely curious about the person of the writer. It is also worthwhile to record the landscape of the mind in relation to the experience of the outside world, particularly when that world has a marked quality about it.
Of course, it is arguable whether one phase in history is truly different from the next, or whether it is merely the human perception that is altered. This is a very important question, but one that I will dismiss for the time being.
Regardless of the resolution to that question, that the entire globe is presently moved by a singular force is sensible to all. This force is accompanied by noisy symptoms such as the rampaging virus, the severe economic tension, and the obvious social unrest.
And yet, the name of the force itself remains hidden. It is only evident that the Earth—and humankind with it—is being ushered into some new phase of being.
Where does your writer find herself within all the tumult? Usually in a square room at a square table in a house with a rectangular floor plan. Sometimes on a balcony with an unparalleled view of Annapolis, Maryland. Often scurrying up and down a cobblestone street—but you’ll learn more about the Ave on another occasion.
Inside that square room, hidden away from physical society, I question what it means to be an autodidact. Am I a master of self-administered learning when I stick to my schedule? How about when I review and edit my own work? Does it count if someone else has given me some advice?—shared electronically, of course.
Each day I conduct research on questions pertaining to political science, and while I still report to a brick-and-mortar institution by email, I can’t help conjuring up a romanticized vision of scholars in the English countryside who, after months of toiling away on their private estate, journeyed to town by horseback and presented their findings to the Royal Society or some such establishment.
This is the spirit that I try to embody in my pursuit of self-governed intellectual development. Doing so helps me avoid another way of formulating the dilemma that many face while working from home: how do I achieve sufficient productivity? I abhor this presentation and will do all that I can to escape its grips.
Here are some thoughts on the page, a little rivulet of my consciousness to start us off. While many future pieces will avoid direct reference to my personhood as author, I make no attempt to mask that, after the fashion of Monseigneur Michel de Montaigne, I myself am the subject of my work.
Until next time,
Your devoted writer
Grace Phan Jones