Friday, September 15, 2006

Remember back when this blog had substantial posts?

I'm starting to despair: those days may be forever gone, dessicated husks of their former liveliness hanging in the web of the spider of time.

Yes, that was intentionally a groaner of a metaphor, conjured to illustrate the fact that I can't seem to post well anymore. Today's reasons: a ceaseless morning meeting in which I developed a severe allergic reaction to people reading to me from their PowerPoint presentations and in my head ran screaming from the room (my body remained patiently present, pretending to take notes); a lunch of wilty leaves to which a vaguely pinkish dressing clung, the perfect color to soak my copy of a memo on new and improved rules for sabbaticals and promotions; seven emails requesting letters of recommendation within a single hour; an unabating medley of complaints, whines, affirmations, deprecations, and unidentifiable noises that might have been any of those things if I could have mustered the enthusiasm to check outside my office door. I picked the kids up from the various daycare and afterschool programs where we keep them warehoused during the week, and then took them to temple for a special children's service ("Tot Shabbat"). Kid #1 patiently endured the throng of toddlers attracted to his Older Child Majesty, while Kid #2 screamed that she wanted to color on the torah and attempted to drown out any song in Hebrew with "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." We ate pizza at the temple with the other families and then went out for dessert afterwards here. Kid #2 stopped screaming long enough to gorge on strawberry ice cream [she will eat only pink things right now; I should have saved my lunch for her], then screamed for more when it was gone. Oddly, this vocalizing failed to make more dessert appear, but it did frighten a large number of passersby.

So, my brain is as vapid as a template-driven PowerPoint presentation. And you're expecting a substantial medieval post? Maybe in three years, when I'm not chair any more.


Anonymous said...

Welcome. Now you know why I keep my posts pithily short and possibly seemingly abrasive (tho I really never mean them to be). It is a conundrum. Universities need excellent academics in management positions - but without draining the life blood from them. Managing all that with children too and a career partner is very tough. 'Service' as you yanks say - is the right word for it - and a good one too.

You just have to make ruthless and difficult choices about where you invest your time. Delegate other things to other people. If writing the blog is indeed a way of carving out much needed creative thinking space then go for it - but if it just becomes something else you have to fit in then drop it - we can all live without you for a while (there I go again abrasive without meaning to be) - and you will be back.

You will survive - you have a great research record and great emphathy for your students. n5

Eileen Joy said...

JJC: I can empathize; I am not a dept. chair [thank god], but the beginning of the semester seems to sap the life out of everyone. I have been a little sporadic in posting--not because I don't have the time, because I do, and I could go on and on and on [haha], but because I'm still in the process of getting Internet access at home. Today, I am learning how to make Cosmopolitans and mixing bitching downbeat CDs for a party I am having tonight in my new house. Tomorrow, hung over and hanging out at my favorite dyke coffee bar and open wireless spot [wireless service: FreeWiredBitch--I swear] where everyone smokes up a storm, I promise something. A substantial something? Well, yeah, maybe so.

Karl Steel said...

but the beginning of the semester seems to sap the life out of everyone.

Evidence enough of the truth of that can be found in this agreement, which is all I have the energy for right now: yes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and yet. . . it all sounds pretty wonderful, to have a professorship and a family in the same city. What better way to recover from vapid Powerpoint presentations than in the company of a small child who only eats things in pink?

As much as I value the more substantive posts, I'd be perfectly pleased with more like this--that remind me of the harried existence I aspire to achieve!

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Thanks, everyone. Sorry to get all complainy, too. I wouldn't trade this life -- pink food fetishes and PowerPoint to the max and all -- for anything else.

Anonymous said...

You could write out entries longhand *while* listening to vapid powerpoint presentations. Then you save your brain and time. Just make sure to look up and nod from time to time, and have messy handwriting in case the person next to you decides to read your notes to relieve his/her boredom.
If you AND Chaucer quit blogging my life will be that much emptier.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

My arm would fall off, Liza! I barely know how to write any more.

But thanks for the kind words, Liza. Hope Cambridge is treating you well.