An Introduction

I’m Sara Lynne Puotinen. I used to be an academic. Ten years of graduate school, then six years of teaching at a university. Now, I’m not. Since the beginning of 2012, I’ve been experimenting with ways to craft a life beside (next to, but not in) and besides (in addition to) the academy and my academic training. To craft this beside/s space, I’m undisciplining myself, breaking free of toxic values and habits and replacing them with new ways of being and doing that draw upon over two decades of work in feminist and queer ethics and pedagogies.

Over the course of eight years, this undisciplining has taken many different forms: digital stories, an interactive documentary, a not yet finished intellectual history, a troubling teaching portfolio, thousands of miles of running, hundreds of miles of open water swimming, countless words about both, and the development of creative strategies for how to be when you cannot see or when you see strangely.

Currently, I am gathering tools, methods, theories, and ideas from my intellectual past and experimenting with putting them beside my creative writing, running, and losing my central vision present. Tentatively, I am calling this project, whose form has yet to be fully determined, How to Be. It is a project in the unmaking and remaking of the Self.