Friday, March 16, 2007

Catching Up, Falling Behind

For any number of straws-that-broke-the-camel's-back reasons, I have been behind most of the semester, so much so that I was actually a week late in meeting one writing deadline, something that is quite unlike me. Bu at this point, I'm caught up on my teaching until into April, I am on track in prepping the London tour, I have no imminent writing deadlines, and most of the committees I'm on (most) have finished their work for the year. What I have to do is a lot of reading, much of it with deadlines:
  • two essays to read for Monday for our faculty research group, one on disability studies and composition (10 pages), one on women in the Irish Independence movement (30 pages).
  • a book chapter that my dissertation partner from grad school has asked me to read--theoretically we're exchenging work, though I've had little on the book project to show him lately. The chapter is on Rushdie and is almost 60 pages long.
  • five essays submitted for our annual department prize for research excellence on topics from early American lit to classical rhetoric to, you, know, other stuff.
  • a book I'm reviewing that I'd like to get a head start on since I'm seeing the work of the playwright in question while I'm in London.
  • several submissions to read from the collection I'm editing.
  • Plus, several back issues of The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and the most recent The American Scholar to catch up on.
Good thing I like to read.

But seriously, while all of this reading will take time, but needs to be done quickly, what I really love about it is how wide ranging it is. Some of it is right smack dab in my field, other stuff is material I'd never happen across on my own. This is really one of the great joys of academic community: that my colleagues and friends keep having these great ideas about books, and writing them down, and sharing them. Oftentimes, because of time pressure, this will really feel like work, but truth be told, it's the closest thing to the life of the mind that many of us dreamed about when we sent in our first graduate school applications those many years ago.

1 comment:

Sisyphus said...

Luckily, you will have plenty of time to read some of that on your transatlantic plane trip! Nothing like enforced confinement to prevent procrastinating (I've gotten amazing amounts of grading done on an airplane; hated every minute of it, but there was nothing else to do).

And if I could just read things and talk about them with people constantly, this would be the life! It's those pesky details of grading and writing and revising that get in the way.