Other people have serious work plans, “accountability groups,” and severe schedules like alarm clocks that ring every few minutes to remind them they should have written more words. People really dislike writing and that is the difference between them and me.
I do not have a writing problem, I have a research problem since I’ve always been told to stop reading and write; I also have a teaching problem since I’ve always been told to stop teaching and write. These things happened when I was writing and publishing more than anyone I knew at my level. I never understood the reason for the exhortations and this is why they were so devastating.
The result is that I have difficulty concentrating on research, teaching preparation, and grading because I fear the overseer’s voice, and all the shouting and whipping and breaking of furniture that will ensue if I am found doing any of these things rather than write.
That, of course, means that teaching is hard. Rather than prepare, I must muster everything up in the moment from memory and soul, which is exhausting. Preparation of assignments, grading, and so on must be done in a rush, looking over my shoulder at the soldiers who are gaining on me, ready to carry me away if they catch me spending time on teaching activities.
This kind of “corner cutting,” as I have often said, is a false economy but people will keep pontificating about the necessity of it. And the prohibition on research makes writing really hard, as all research must be woven into writing time and nobody can know I spent any time at all just reading and finding documents.
Before I was observed so closely and exhorted so much I would do research, then think, and then write. Life was easy. Now that one is observed by accountability groups and alarm clocks my reaction is, more or less, to try to hide in a closet until the overseer goes away. So, unlike everyone else, I do not have a schedule. I only have a commitment to keep going, to do things every day just as non-guilty people do, to treat myself well, and not to get discouraged.
I have to remember things, and that is why I have this weblog. Today I want to remember
that the Lionnet article in the current issue of Profession is interesting and will be helpful for both of the book reviews I promised to write, and for which I now lack desire since I did not find the books terribly interesting.
I also want to remember Spanish 5 at Cambridge University, and for that matter their
entire undergraduate curriculum and learning resource sites. Some of these are a little old
fashioned, but others are rather avant-garde; the courses are too difficult for our students
but I like them and they are an interesting compass to look at as we redevelop our curriculum.
I want to remember to join the ACLA.