09 July 2008

ok- maybe not the yardstick...

I haven't written much lately, mostly because I haven't had anything I feel like saying. I feel like I should be writing my diss rather than anything here. And that's not really going right now. It will, but right now I'm a bit stalled.

Although, I think I've reached the point where I feel like I need to write-- like I'm ready. I just have to get a few more notes together an map out the argument. It's coming to me, though. Mostly right after I lay down in bed- zip!- inspiration hits, so I jump up and jot it down on a note card. Because there has to be a link between these things that keep popping--the canonization of big dead white men, the changes in the way americans read and understand authorship, the changes in the way books are made and circulate. It all has something to do with the 1950s and 1960s. Something to do with Postmodernism. And I think I'm almost there.

Despite my earlier rant about students not showing up for appointments, class is going well. I'm down to 9 students, which is fine by me-- I get paid either way. I really like teaching this course- it makes me feel useful. We've had discussions about grad school and what to do with an English degree and why or whether theory is important. And today, they thanked me for not making the class into a summer "fluff" course. But how could I? It's the course that should prepare them to be ready for any other English course. It would have been irresponsible to turn it into 75 minutes of sitting in a circle and singing "kumbaya" while we wax poetical on the way that meaning is, like, so impossible to obtain. Totally.

Nope- it's a class to kick their butts. And I've lost 4 already. That's fine- the ones that are staying I think are really starting to get it. You can see them starting to want it-- even though they tend to look dazed and drained by the end of the hour. It's been exhilarating to teach in that kind of environment. And the best part is that I feel like they should be ready when they leave- they'll know how to tackle any of the major genres, they'll know how to put together a strong argument, they'll know that there's nothing natural about the way we study English today, and they'll have a rudimentary understanding of the way theory has developed and progressed. All in 8 weeks. I call that a deal.

At first the class really took away from my dissertation work- it takes time to respond to daily responses and to grade papers. But I think it's getting to the point where it's inspiring me to get back to my work. Someone asked when it gets easier--the whole interpretation thing--and I told her that with practice it does eventually. But then it's harder again, because you're onto something new.

I'm onto something new- and it's getting harder. But little-by-little I'm figuring it out.

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