Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Catching Up

Regular readers of ITM will have noticed that I do not post as frequently as I have in the past. I've been concentrating on some important Chair-related tasks, such as moving via faculty consensus to a departmental mission statement (English departments are such diverse places that only someone who has worked in one for a long time will fully appreciate how difficult that kind of summary of interests and commitment to a particular formulation of community really are). Recognizing that we do not do enough to foster extracurricular intellectual community among our undergraduates, I also proposed a new administrative position, the Director of Undergraduate Study. I've been begging for money; right now I have a waiting list of five faculty members for whom my department cannot afford to purchase printers (yes, GW is the most expensive university in the country and I can't buy printers for faculty). I've also been overseeing the first meetings of our new Medieval and Early Modern Studies Seminar. Meanwhile the new website is about to go live, the fall 2008 schedule is due, I am teaching a brand new course in the spring called Myths of Britain, I have to meet with twenty-five faculty members about their annual reports ... and somewhere in there I have to reconstitute my Holloway Lecture for next month, the latest version of which was swiped along with my laptop.

So, memo to self: when someone asks you to do something, pull a Nancy Reagan and use your spouse as a ventriloquist dummy Just Say No. I'm already in danger of not making the many deadlines that are converging on my scholarly obligations. I'm going to have to do some serious paring just to stay afloat. So before you ask, the answer is no. Don't email me for anything, because you will get a reply with only word, and that word will be NO.

I should also add that ever since my laptop was stolen a Tiny Cloud of Doom has hovered over my head. I want to stress that it is a Tiny Doom Cloud rather than a Major Doom Cloud, so I've been plagued by bad karma and dumb mistakes rather than earthquakes, tornadoes, and locusts. Mostly these errors have been catalyzed by lapses of record keeping: not double checking to see that I'd submitted all of my twenty-five annual report cover letters, for example. But some have been errors of judgment.

OK, look for posts with actual content in the not too distant future. I just received an email from Apple that my new laptop has been shipped. Is that a ray of pallid sun I behold breaking through the Tiny Cloud?

1 comment:

Karl Steel said...

*makes sympathetic noises, but not so loudly and insistently that it interrupts the worker*