Saturday, November 15, 2014

The days have been delicious. Every two or three I go for a run in East Rock. There it is all light and leaves, and even the air is tinged with gold. My runs are getting longer and marginally faster, but I don't know if the improvement is in me or if it's a product of the chilly air: I might be running faster just to stay warm.

We're almost at the end of the semester now. I've finished grading my second round of assignments, have given a major presentation, and successfully navigated the section observation. Whenever things get busy, I try to remember that this semester is still light-years easier than the last four. Asleep by midnight, up at 8. No 1am or 2am bedtimes. It has made all the difference.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday, November 03, 2014

It is a commonplace in the blogging world to apologize for lengthy absences or to announce one's permanent or possibly permanent departure from the online rank and file. This year I have thought often of doing the same myself. I feel the burden of eyes when I write here now, in a way that I never did when I wrote my way through the last years of high school and then college. I am keenly aware that this space and my identity are discoverable, and it makes me wary of writing as plainly as I would sometimes like to. In the past, this has been a space for me to think through politics and religion and my academic environment, and I would like to do that again. But, to be honest, I also want a job someday, and I worry about who might find this space and what they might think. 

I take note of these vague worries periodically, and then I think that I'm not sure I really want a job that demands total adherence to the party line of the day (whatever it happens to be). Is it worth it?

Anyhow. This is neither apology nor goodbye. Just an explanation of the silence. If nothing else, there will always be pictures, and maybe, eventually, a new and more private space. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

There went October break: a string of gloomy days interspersed with bright beads of glory. At the dissertation bootcamp last weekend, I finally figured out what I was trying to say in my ancient qualifying paper, which was good, because it was about time! Since then, I have been writing large chunks of prose each day and trying to restrain myself from editing in the interest of just getting all my thoughts on the table. It's a real pleasure to finally have something to say and a way of saying it. I am, unfortunately, a week behind on my reading list, due to grading. But I think things should be smoother from here on out--and if they aren't, I'll try not to complain too much.

I finished Lila yesterday, and all I can say is: Read it. (And the other Gilead novels, if you haven't read them yet.) That book made me grateful to be alive.

Runs like this one do, too:

The world is a fine place.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I don't do six impossible things before breakfast, but the days do feel impossibly full. I do more or less the same five things, over and over: read, translate, go to class, have meetings, teach. I have a self-imposed curfew now. At 11pm, I shut off my computer and brush my teeth and read myself to sleep. Because if not then, when? There would always be one more thing to do. My bedtime reading the last few days has been Marilynne Robinson's new book, Lila, which I preordered so that I could read it as soon as I possibly could. The characters are beautiful and sad, and it almost hurts to watch Lila fumbling around her outer world so claustrophobically when her inner world is so grand and mysterious. I can only read a few pages at a time. Before Lila arrived, I was reading the New Yorker. Sometimes it takes me two or three nights to get through a single article (they're really long), but I always learn interesting things, as my philosopher will tell you (because I tell him everything I learn from them). "You and your little anecdotes from the New Yorker," he says. But I really do learn a lot. Speaking of impossible things, the next hurdle comes this Friday. My supervisor is visiting my first section and will tell me, I guess, whether I am any good at this. I'm terrified that my students won't talk or that I'll say foolish things for fifty minutes, but the good thing is that it is only fifty minutes and then next week is October break, free of obligations, with the promise of time to catch up.