Self Portrayed Projected Self

His academic development has been exemplary and he stands as one of the best students I have come into contact with in my career. I would rate him in the top ten group of those students who have seen their way to excel.

a professor, 2001

As I sit here I contemplate my place in society-my worth. I question what role I play and how effective I am at playing it. I wonder if my work stands on its own and what it communicates. For the answers to these questions I read through various notes—thank yous, love letters, letters of recommendation and old birthday cards. I find many words describing my character, adjectives that praise and shed some light onto the qualities of my mind and feeling. I find definition of myself through the act of reading these notes. Have I kept them as reminders to my character? Who am I?

The magnetized pile of words are either directly pulled from the notes I have kept or are derivatives of those words found in a thesaurus. Some are merely the opposite of a praise or were overheard in a conversation about me. Some were comments directed to me.

My work usually deals with the labels of a culture or a society of people. Sometimes with the structures and classifications we find ourselves in. But this work is an examination of self through which I find clarity on the definition of my character. Who am I? Why?

~ John Trefethen

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