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Showing posts from February, 2011

The Real Reason Women Have Yet to Achieve (Academic or Artistic) Greatness*

"Inasmuch as the woman wants to be woman, her independent status produces an inferiority complex; inversely, her femininity leads her to doubt her professional opportunities.  This is a most important point....  Above all, in studies and professions requiring a degree of inventiveness, originality, and some small discoveries, a utilitarian attitude is disastrous; conversations, reading outside the syllabus, or a walk that allows the mind to wander freely can be far more profitable even for the translation of a Greek text than the dreary compilation of complex syntaxes.  Crushed by respect for those in authority and the weight of erudition, her vision blocked by blinkers, the overly conscientious female student kills her critical sense and even her intelligence.  Her methodical determination gives rise to tension and ennui....  Having created her own jail, the female examination candidate wants nothing more than to escape from it; as soon as she closes her books, she thinks about …

Watch Series

I have been so bad this week.  I have had papers to grade, classes to prepare, points to practice, and what have I been doing in the evenings?  Watching television.  Okay, not quite television.  Videos on hulu and Wisevid.  "With limited commercials."  About families.  Okay, specifically one family, the Powells.  "No ordinary family."  I'm embarrassed.  Not because I like the show, although, okay, maybe I am a little embarrassed about that.  But about how all-consuming the apparent need has been to watch one episode after another.  First the cleanly-streaming ones on hulu (oh, that huluPlus subscription is tempting!); then the pop-up encrusted pirated versions on Watch.Series.  I started at about the middle of the season, first working forwards from the oldest episode available on hulu (actually, I think I started from my abc app on my iPad, but let's not go into all the gory details), then working backwards towards the pilot that aired last autumn.  I'…

Sitzfleisch and Other Obsessions

Oh, look, it's 8:04am, and I've promised myself to blog from now until 8:30am, when I shift to writing.  Nope, can't think of anything to blog about that I haven't covered already.  Maybe I'll just sit here....

Sitting.  I am sick of sitting.  I spend my life sitting.  According to one study, that means I'm probably going to die younger than I would have otherwise.  If, for example, I had spent my life the way my sister does, running every day, doing yoga, riding horses, moving.  I sit.  Definition of "professor": someone who spends eight to ten hours a day sitting.  And not just sitting.  Reading.  I read.  Who is Professor F.B.?  A reader.  Why doesn't that make me happy?  Anything gets old once you do it for too long.  Like eating too much chocolate.

Yes, I'm going to try fasting from something this year for Lent.  I've been thinking about making it sweets.  Not because I think sweets are bad for me, although I suspect they are, but bec…

Time to Rant

Right, this is it.  It's been over four weeks since my surgery and I still can't see.  Read: I still see faces across a room as blurs, mouths as gaping black slits and eyes as smudges in-between more blurs.  I'm afraid to drive even though my doctor insists that my vision is as good as it needs to be to pass a vision test.  And after spending Thursday and Friday riding on airplanes, presumably drying my eyes out to some extent, I can't even read comfortably any more.  This sucks.  And it's all my fault.

For what?  For wanting to see without needing corrective lenses?  For imagining that I could be free of the barrier that had always been there between me and the world since I was seven?  I'm scared and frustrated and angry and have only myself to blame.  For being impatient.  For not researching this procedure properly before having it done.  For trusting the description of the recovery process that my doctor gave me.  But then, since he is saying…

And then the demons attacked...

One said: "You're wasting your time. It is going to take too long to work through this text. It is foolhardy to embark on a translation when somebody else might be doing it."

Another said: "Whatever you do with this text, it will not be relevant enough. It is certainly not worth spending so much time on. You are not asking a big question, just doing a study of a single text that nobody read(s). Studying this work is not like an analysis of Chaucer. The text is not a part of our larger culture, just an oddity or example."

Another said: "Somebody else could do it better. Saiani already has, it’s just in Italian. You probably can't even do it, your Latin isn't good enough to deal with John's technical vocabulary, never mind his poetry."

The first one said: "You will never finish. There's no way you are going to make any headway on this project working only two hours a day every other day. Somebody else is certain to finish …

To Schedule

This isn't going to work.  Yes it is.  Everything that I've ever written has been accomplished to a schedule: the diaries that I kept growing up, a page of handwritten angst every evening, for the better part of six years; my dissertation, six hours a day for a year to draft, each workday carefully recorded on "time cards" to keep me honest; my first (and, as yet, only) book, a page a day (about 500 words), every weekday including holidays (yes, even holidays, if they fell on a weekday), for two years.  Even this blog, maintained against all blogging averages for nearly three years, with the promise to myself to post at least 14 times per month, ideally every other day.   I know how to write to a schedule.  What I don't know is how to write without deadline.

What am I doing?  I have job applications still to read, a class to prep for tomorrow, chapters of dissertations to comment on, an article that needs to be reviewed for the board that I am on.  What business …

Dr. Silvia's Secret, or How to Write More Productively During the Normal Work Week With Less Anxiety and Guilt, for Academics

Here's the secret: "Make a schedule and sit down to write during your scheduled time." And that's it.  Silvia recommends starting with 4 hours a week.  Sound like a lot?  It would have yesterday before Dame Eleanor pointed me to Silvia's book, but now I am embarrassed to realize how much time I actually have if I take seriously the thought that writing is part of my job, not the thing that I leave until last, after teaching and service.

There are corollaries: "Writing isn't a race or a game.  Write as much or as little as you want [to write.]  Don't feel that you ought to write more than you want to write, and don't publish fluffy nonsense just for the sake of publishing....  If you plan to write only a few things in your life, your writing time can be thinking time.  Use your scheduled writing time to read good books and to think about your professional development....  Any action that is instrumental in completing a writing project counts as wr…

What Do You Get the Girl Who Has PRK for Her Birthday?

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My husband knew!*

*Note the wrap-around lenses, which I have never** been able to wear.  Up till now!
**That is, since I gave up my contact lenses in graduate school.

Limbo

I keep wanting to put my glasses on, but of course they don't work any more. I don't know how I feel about this right now. Stupid, for taking on an extensive healing process in the middle of the academic term. Self-pitying, for wishing for something to be better for myself and ending up worse off than I was before, at least temporarily. (At least, I hope is it temporarily. This healing process is very slow.) Angry, for not feeling radically different about my life even with my new vision. Melancholy, because I've changed everything I can think of to change and I'm still lost.

Is this it yet, the dark night of the soul? How much darker is it going to get? How much more work can I do on myself and my life and still not be out of these dumps? Maybe I'm just stuck this way. Eeyore Forever. Maybe I'm not meant to be happy. Maybe trying to be happy is just an American disease. Maybe happiness is overrated. It's not fair, not to my family, who have su…

Corgi Trails

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Can you find the corgi in the picture? I'm pretty sure she's there, but I'm still having trouble seeing through the lenses ghostly.... Soon, soon, I will be healed! Probably in about a month. But as I told my Friends on Facebook yesterday, I must be getting better: I'm starting to bump into things.*

*Read: Assume I can see better than I actually can but still tending to misjudge where the edges of things like coffee cups and doorways are.

Groundhog Day 2011

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Checking for squirrels

"Maybe they're hiding?"
"I'm sure I saw some this way."
"All clear!"