Ma Groover Blog

Women’s History

9 months 3 weeks ago
How I ended up dropping out of grad school. A women's history month special.This week in my studio, I have been working on a quilt that I began in 1982. For reasons I no longer remember, I was working on the piecing by hand. The fabric is, by today's standards, ridiculously thin, and hideously ugly in a late 70s, early 80s aesthetic, by which I mean there is a lot of dusty rose, pale aqua, a dark dirty turquoise and a lot, an awful lot of peach. There is a healthy dose of orange, brown and gold, as well.

This particular project helped me get into grad school for fiber. It also helped me get thrown out. I found all the pieces just as I put them away in 1989. I also found the letter I wrote to the chair of the art department, explaining my decision to withdraw from the master's program. It's particularly ironic that I found the letter almost to the day it was written.

As I put together this long-abandoned project, I thought about what I'd written in that letter. Did I want to share it now? I suppose all the people involved are now retired and/or dead. But this is my history as a woman, and I want to share it.

"It is with a deep sense of regret that I write this letter. I am afraid that the situation has become such that I can no longer pursue my graduate degree in fiber under Ken. In an effort to fully explain the situation, I am including this chronological list of what seem to me to be unprovoked abuses and a clear attempt to force me out the program.

August/September: the semester begins with Ken telling me to quit my part-time job so that I can devote more time to weaving. When I told him I couldn't, he said that I was married to a rich man and he should support me and that I should quit my job. (A reminder that the only reason the job was part time was because I was in grad school, and I was in grad school in order to make the job full time.) We had this conversation several times, always with Ken insisting that my husband was rich and should pay my way. When I told him that our situation wasn't that way, he told me it should be and wanted to know why I didn't force my husband to support me. When I got tired of this and told Ken that my financial arrangements with my husband were none of his business, he said I was touchy and had a chip on my shoulder.

September/October: My husband and I separate and Ken's response to my situation is that I should now quit my job and have my parents pay for everything. When I told him that I had already taken a loan from them and didn't think that more would be appropriate, he told me that as my parents they gave me the money, I shouldn't pay them back, and that they should just pay for everything and I should quit my job. He again accused me of having a bad attitude because I didn't think my financial situation was a subject about which he should advise me. He repeated that if I didn't have a commitment to the program (i.e.: quit my job) I should get out of the program.

November: Ken objects to the amount of time I am spending on my art history reading and paper. I miss only one of his classes, and finished the needlework restoration project for him. I also finished two weaving projects and several drawings for potential quilts. Although I have shown Ken drawings of the weaving projects, and he approved them, once I am a third of the way along on the loom, Ken demands that I make changes to the work.

December: Ken gives me an incomplete, saying that I haven't done enough work, although in point of fact, I completed more that term than all but one of his other students. The work I am endeavoring to do is process-intensive, something I had thought Ken would understand, as his own work typically takes months to complete. Such did not appear to be the case. During advisement, Ken insists that I take 9 credits with him. The remaining three are my required art history.

Break: Over break, I completed my first quilt top. Ken does not alter my grade. All he was concerned with was whether or not I was going to add a border and whether or not I could iron the piece better.

January: Ken asks me why I'm taking nine credits with him, since I don't have the time to devote to my studio classes as it is. I remind him that he demanded it of me. I attempt to get him to tell me what he expects from me for nine credits and the only reply I get is "nine credits worth of work". When I ask him to be more specific, he says only that he will know it when he sees it. I venture to say that this is like Catch-22, and as I complete the work, he raises the number of missions. Since he was so displeased with the amount of time I spent on my term paper in art history, he now requires me to write a term paper for him: twelve fiber artists, their work, their media, etc. etc. He claims I am never in my studio, and when I tell him I am, he challenges me to prove it. I am in every day, on break and on weekends. I am generally here till 10 or 11 at night. (I list faculty and other students who can testify to that.) Ken tells me that my defensive attitude is not helping.

Also in January, plans for his fashion show start to heat up. I am expected to participate, but given no notice of planning meetings. I begin yardage for a blazer. I do a sample and show it to Ken for approval. He approves the design and the concept of a blazer. After I get it on the loom, however, Ken tells me that he doesn't like the color, he thinks it's dull. Then he tells me that he doesn't want me to make a jacket. Then he asks me how I will make a suit. We go around and around with me saying blazer and Ken saying suit or jacket and trousers, or that he doesn't want me to make a jacket at all.

February: Ken reams me for talking with another student. (A professor's wife) She quits the class in protest over the way we were treated. The entire undergraduate class is witness to this. During the fashion show meeting I express my concern over copyright violations, as Ken has a copy of Ornament magazine and is telling the undergrads to make a duplicate of the cover subject as a centerpiece of the fashion show. He tells me that I am only using that as an excuse not to work in my studio.

March: This week he mimicked me and ridiculed me in front of the undergraduate class. Another professor tells Ken he is unprofessional and owes me an apology. None is forthcoming.

To date, he has shown no interest in my critique from our visiting artist, has never come to my studio to see my work, has never changed my incomplete and has informed me that he will never sign off on my thesis or let me have studio space for my second year.

I will be asking for my tuition to be refunded and my record expunged, or I will be taking this to the local media."

And there it is. My academic record shows that I only attended one semester of grad school. I never took this to the press. I got my money refunded. I had to quit that part time job after all, because without the Master's I was never going to get the administration job. I ended up working in corporate America for the next 25 years. Categories: Brain Crumbs

Time and Tide

11 months 1 week ago
For the last four years, Ma Groover has basically been hiding under the bed, or in the closet or in the studio. I haven't had much to say, and what I did have to say was unusually obscene, even for me, the delicate Southern flower with a mouth like a longshoreman with Tourette's. But now there is someone who is not an actual sociopath as the POTUS, and I can breathe. The private jets bringing the sycophants to Casa Bellicosa are no longer streaming overhead from Wednesday to Sunday. There is construction up and down the street as a run-down MCM is brought to new life and a misguided early 70s with a Mansard roof is being updated to a neo-atomic ranch and even in our own back yard, there is a hole going about becoming a lagoon pool. The mangos are blooming. The bees are humming and my code works. Goddess is in her heaven and all is right in the world. Categories: Brain Crumbs

We Gotta Get Outa This Place

3 years 9 months ago
It's spring and I have spring fever. Although I always loathed e.e.cummings and that damned little lame balloonman, wandering far and wee, it is an epic paeon to spring. Here in the sub-tropics, where seasonal changes can be subtle, the flowering of the flame vine announces spring, and flame vines are not subtle at all. They glow against the cobalt sky. Categories: My View

Tap, Tap. Is this thing on?

3 years 9 months ago
Hello? Am I transmitting? Is anybody out there?So, here we are. New site, new blog. New shop. New attitude. Ma Groover is on the fuckin' air. I think. Maybe. Comments are open. Thank you. Don't forget to tip the waiter. Categories: Brain Crumbs

One Man

12 years 11 months ago
In which I watch President Obama's first inauguration

Dammit. I wasn’t going to watch the Inaugural concert on HBO. Too much hype. Too much everything. I even slept through my wake up call from Star, telling me that Springsteen was opening the show. But I got up anyway, and I’m watching from the sofa, fuzzy slippers on, and swathed in my fuzzy bathrobe. I’ve endured a ton of great musicians doing heart-felt, but less than magnificent songs. And then came U2. Fuck that Bono. He was the only one to dare. He called this a dream come true for not just America, but for Ireland. For Europe. For Africa. For Israel. And (deep breath, judges the mood of the crowd) for Palestinians. And then sang the most political of the songs.

And here’s our new president, calling out the challenges that we face. If only we could name names, and say that this is all the fault of that rat bastard, George W. Bush and his evil overlord, Dick Cheney.

I am so inspired by Mr.Obama. What an orator. This is a new Camelot. A call to service, a call to unity and a call to reclaim our country from the venality of the past eight years.

Damn it. Maybe it’s my cold, and stress, but I have a feeling that I’m going to be crying a lot over the next few days.

Oh great. Pete Seeger, his grandson, Bruce, and some school glee club and we are all singing “This Land is Your Land”. Do we get my favorite verse? The one about on the other side of the sign, it didn’t say nothing’; Oh my fucking god. We do. That side was made for you and me. Dammit. Crying again. And so is Pete.

You know what? After all these years, I think we won. And by we, I mean the liberals and activists of the 60s.

Categories: Politics

Please Quit Talking About the Economy

19 years ago
Wall Street has no confidence in trickle-down economics in this century any more than the last time the Bushies tried it.Every time the Smirking Chimp talks about jump starting the economy, my portfolio tanks even further. Is it possible to OWE money to a corporation in which you owned what once amounted to valuable stock? Yesterday the SC said he was going to do something and my stocks rose. Today he told the country what he was doing and they sank below sea level.

What can we deduce from this? That Wall Street has no confidence in trickle-down economics in this century any more than the last time the Bushies tried it. Oh, the late 80s. What a fun time that was. I got laid off from Citibank, along with about 20,000 (or was it 200,000) fellow employees world-wide. Yes, you remember those far off days, when yet another Bush (brother Neal, the one nobody mentions anymore) was doing the funky rhumba two-step with Silverado Savings and Loan.... Can you say government bail out of the S&L industry? Sure you can. And then you can remember what it was like going to the unemployment office every two weeks as you tried to find a job in the middle of a recession.

But, never fear. This is going to do wonders for the boys in Bush's smoke-filled back rooms. And while we're on the subject of how to fill the pockets of the already rich, how's about those new cars at the Detroit Auto Show? Bigger, heavier, faster and more in need of Saudi gas and oil than anything in recent history.

Hey, fresh air and water are highly over-rated commodities anyway, right?

Time to go home and drink. Categories: Politics

Countdown to the Holocaust

19 years 1 month ago
Do you support the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. in response to a chemical or biological attack? There was a poll on the front page of today asking if people approved of the use of nuclear weapons as an American response to, well, here's the question and the answers: The United States issued a warning yesterday to Iraq and other hostile countries, saying it is prepared to use ?overwhelming force including nuclear weapons in retaliation to any biological or chemical attack on the U.S., its forces abroad or its allies. (AP) Do you support the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. in response to a chemical or biological attack? Yes: 58% => 3405 votes No: 31% => 1808 votes I'm not sure: 9% => 547 votes I don't care: 0% => 20 votes Oh, yeah. That's a fucking cheery statistic to look at. FIFTYEIGHT percent of the respondents think that America should use nukes. Who are these people? What fucking planet do they come from? Have they no concept of the repercussions? Political, physical, biological? Who are they? Is this the Christian fundamentalists looking for Armageddon? I, for one, do not wish to go out with a bang or a freaking whimper. Am I the only person who is frightened by our "president" and his gang of war mongering henchmen in Washington? Oh, I need a cigarette and a stiff fucking martini. And it isn't even noon. Categories:

I Miss Beavis and Butthead

19 years 1 month ago
I do. I miss them terribly. I didn't enjoy the show when it first came out because I was living on the New Mexico/Texas border and too many of my husband's students looked and acted like Beavis and Butthead. But then one night I saw the show where Butthead is sitting in class, bouncing his pencil on his desk by dropping it eraser end first and catching it as it rebounds. Then he missed, and the pencil stuck in his eye and he just laughed and said "Cool. It really does happen." I can't tell you why that struck me so funny, except that I have probably spent hours bouncing pencils off of desks during meetings and classes and what not. But of all the pithy and profound things B&B ever said, the one thing that resonates more and more as I get older is this: "Wow. This sucks in ways that things have never sucked before." Like when my friend Gary died of colon cancer. Or when my friend's brother died. Or her other brother died. Or the Homeland Security Department was signed into law, with the evil Admiral Pointdexter in charge of legal wiretapping of all citizens. Or even the making of the president in the last "election". Yep, as the 21st century grinds along, things are starting to suck in ways that they have never sucked before. Categories: Politics
Mon, 01/17/2022 - 21:06
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