Friday, May 24, 2013

And another thing

Ugh. This article that I've been writing on and off for...two years? now is...kind of a mess.

It's trying to do too much. You know?

There are these sections that are very clear, lucid, and compelling. I'll make quite a nice little argument about something. And then I write, "Another example of something sort of similar but not quite the same is X," and off we go into the muddle.

I'm starting to suspect that the solution is to jettison about 30% of the whole. I don't actually have a problem with that (and it would still be plenty long enough for an article, I think), but I'm not sure which 30% needs to go.

Part of the issue is probably that I've been working on it for so long. I've amassed more examples, related points, evidence of further scholarly discussion, etc. than I know what to do with, and I'm afraid of cutting too many of them for fear of weakening my case. (This might not be unrelated to the rejection that the initial version received, which accused me of being unfamiliar with much of the literature on the topic [not so!] and not having a clear thesis [guilty. But fixed!]. So now I'm trying to make it really really clear that, oh yes, I'm familiar with the literature. Familiar, I say! Look at all these footnotes and gratuitous quotations!)

OK--Bonaventure has now been napping for 2.5 hours, which means he'll be up at any moment (indeed, this is, so far, his second longest nap ever. Comes of skipping his morning nap, the goofball), so I ought to get back to work in the little time remaining to me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

For your delectation

A sentence composed of some of the more egregious spelling errors encountered in the grading of my exams:

"It would be obsurred to sudgest that Charolette would diside to lable the jars herself!"

(Granted, it's hard to think of a context in which this particular sentence would be uttered, but you see what I have to work with....)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I'm grading papers

Is it just Field College students, or do undergraduates everywhere ceaselessly talk about things being "up on a pedestal" or "frowned upon"? When did we all get so prim?

Adultery is frowned upon...infanticide is frowned upon...Queen Elizabeth is on a pedestal, along with Jesus and "good morals".... Okay, these are fictitious examples, but they are not at all far removed from reality.

Back to work.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Overwhelmed by beauty

We know that April is hard in academia; I don't deny it. And I don't want to diminish the suffering of others, and of myself (I was appallingly cranky yesterday, in fact, for no discernible reason). But perhaps a distraction is okay?

I always feel that April shouldn't be so hard: Spring is (finally) here (for most of us; sorry, Bardiac!), summer is nigh, and the world is suddenly blindingly green and full of flowers.

Also, I get to have this outside of our living room and dining room windows for a good three weeks:

So, as I try to buckle down to the last batches of papers--and can I say that, while I have some very good students, especially in composition, this is a year in which, for some reason, I have quite a few students who really struggle with writing, more than usual? (That was a far from exemplary sentence, actually. Perhaps it's infectious)--I'm going to pause to reflect on some good things:

*I just took my Ancient Greek exam. Somehow we were able to host a 3x/week Greek class in our dining room for both semesters, and I have temporarily (thanks, cramming!) mastered histami verbs and the aorist passive tense.

*I have no idea when I'll actually use my Ancient Greek, other than to be able to pronounce Greek words when they come up in older literary criticism. But it's great to be able to pursue an intellectual hobby for fun.

*Bonaventure continues adorable and is the most outgoing baby I've ever met. We don't know where he got it. I mean, he's ten months old, and he totally knows how to work a room.

*Here's a cute picture of Bonaventure:

*Kalamazoo is next week! I'll miss the meet-up, but I'm taking the whole family, which should be fun--and I'm looking forward to the book exhibit and what looks to be nice weather. And, of course, to thinking about the Middle Ages again.

*This semester, I managed to write my conference paper and redraft an article that I made a mess of two years ago. The article needs work, but, last I looked at it (some weeks ago, alas), it is much more interesting than the original mess. I mention this by way of acknowledging to myself that I did, in fact, get some writing done this semester.

*At the end of May, my good friend H. from grad school is going to visit for the weekend. We plan to watch a lot of Doc Martin and catch up.

*In June, my dad and stepmother are coming to visit. Hooray!

*I'm sufficiently green to actually be excited about chairing the Humanities division next year. Don't throw this back in my face when I'm bemoaning the task come October. I'm even excited about running a search in the fall. What's wrong with me?

*It's May!