Professing * Reflecting

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Medusa Blues

After my sustained burst of productivity, I thought I would feel elated. Article submitted. Proposals sent. Grant awarded. New course proposals passed. Classes up and running. Getting buttloads of praise from hard-to-please department chair.

And how am I feeling? Really down, full of doubt, and massively insecure. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and basically gave myself a mental beating from three to five a.m. It just doesn't make sense. Does this happen to other people? Is it some kind of weird academic postpartum depression? Is it the time of year? (I do live on what currently resembles the moon.) Is it this profession? If I am unhappy when I do not get my work done AND uphappy when I do, should I really be doing this? Or is this a real (whatever that means) mental problem?

Maybe I just need to take a bit of a break today, even though I have a pile of work to get through this weekend. Lie about, watch movies, read, and maybe take a long soak in the tub. Yes, I need at least a day of planned and guilt-free rest. I probably need at least a month of guilt-free rest. . . on St. Barths . . . with Gael Garcia Bernal, but I will settle for the day.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Wow. I have been writing--the article, syllabi, assignment sheets, abstracts, course proposals, panel proposals, grant proposals, letters of recommendation, long-overdue email replies--steadily since January 2. Too much writing. Total whirlwind, but of the professional kind. I might be Super Professor of the Month.

Looking forward to re-entering my blogosphere. I have skimmed here and there, but I really have no idea what my blog peeps are up to. Is everyone OK? What's going on with Dr. Crazy and Freud? Where in the world is Profgrrrrl? Is New Kid roaming the hallways? Is Just Tenured buried in a snow drift? Is Melancholia melancholic? Whatever happened to Professor Goose? (Did the raunchy WPAS talk scare him away from my blog?)

I will just have to find out for myself, and I will be returning soon--hopefully with mirror stuff, Medusa stuff, and of course the Shakespearean boys stuff.

Oh! I was happy to discover that almost all of my Google hits involve Tussionex or DeNiro. A good pair, I think. In fact, think I will drink some Tuss and fall asleep to Taxi Driver. Mmmmmmm.

Back soon.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Y Tu Mama Tambien

I have writer's block. Still no good progress on the article. Have strange faith in myself, though, that I will somehow get it done in the next four days. I can get it done (entire section, about fourteen pages) by Monday, right? Need your good wishes and encouragement.

I did manage to get all of my syllabi, my course packets, and most of my assignment sheets done for the semester (which starts a week from today). Took them to be copied yesterday. Also had scary medical tests done yesterday, which turned out to be fine.

I celebrated last night by going out (for the first time in weeks) to see friends play. I love my friends. Was tempted this morning to leave with Feste and Demetrius to hang out at a favorite close-by ocean retreat for a few days and showed remarkable restraint in deciding to stay here.

OK, I am seriously going to get to serious work now. Seriously.

(And, no, I am not going to explain the post title. Delightful film.)


Friday, January 07, 2005

From the Depths of Writing Hell

I have produced only three pages since Tuesday and they are sheer crap. I need to produce at least 14 more by next Thursday, 17 if we count the revised sheer crap pages.

I have been trying to tell myself, "Just do this thing, because you want to and you have to. You know how to do it, so just cut out the drama and the angst."

Still, only crap.

Have I really forgotten how to put together an article or is this self-sabotage?

Really have no time to ponder that question. In addition to getting this thing done and sent, I need to write my syllabi and find course-packet readings for two of my classes (and get all of that to the printer).

Am having a fun email flirtation with Dr. Muckity Muck and indulging myself in many outlandish fantasies about Demetrius and about a former student (not the two together . . . hey, wait a minute. . .). These diversions are the only things keeping me sane, as I have been alone in the garret for nearly a full week. This is not healthy.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Guess what I was greeted with when I checked my email first thing this morning? A lovely video of an ex's impromptu holiday wedding on the beach, sent by him with the subject line, "Surprise!".

True, our relationship was unremarkable and short-lived. He is an old family friend, and my (so different from me) sister had set us up. I often forgot I was dating him and finally alienated him completely when he sidled up to me once on a dance floor. I mean, imagine my surprise, since I often forgot he existed. I now admit my reaction and reply--" Huh? I dance alone!"--was hurtful but it seemed funny at the time and it was true.

Anyway, the video really was lovely and his new wife is lovely and he is hotter than I remember. The gesture, though, is baffling. Why send it to me? We are not really in contact, aside from the very occasional call or forwarded email joke.

In any case, it made me feel like a stooge. Being in the Deep Red for a week made me feel some marriage panic, something I usually do not feel at all. At one point, I even actually thought, "I must come back here with a husband next year." My sister is hell-bent on marrying me off and my father kept implying that "It is time [for you to get married and have babies]". My sister really wanted me to marry (I am not going to skip the Shakespearean pseudonym for him and go with . . .) Goober Face.

Hrumphh. I do not want to be married, especially not to a Goober Face. Why am I thinking that Goober Face looked beautiful and his new life idyllic? Was it the beach? Is it wrong that I kept wanting the waves visible behind them during the ceremony to rise, tsunami-like, and wash the whole scene from my screen?

This is exactly the kind of bullshit I resolved to sidestep in the new year, right? Right. Back to work.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Medusa Resolutions

I have made some dubious resolutions in the past, including "Learn how to drive drunk," "Adopt a Cambodian baby named Maddox", and "Budget for cocaine."

This year I will try at the very least not to dis the idea/process entirely. I have some general guidelines, under which all of my goals could be accomplished.

No stress in the '05: I know I can not avoid stressful situations. I am in the midst of several at the moment. My idea is not to stress over the already stressful, thereby adding another layer of stress. I want to adopt a more optimistic attitude toward all I have to do, even if it is totally overwhelming. The optimism may be foolish at times, but the general mantra will be "I can and will do this." Another piece of this is not stressing if and when I find that I can not and will not get everything done. I just do not want to continue the panic/procrastination/penance cycle that seems so damaging.

Sorry, but no "sorry" in the '05: This one might make it seem like I plan to be a total ass in the new year. This resolution was originally "be more assertive," but that seemed both vague and vaguely circa-1970s-women's-groups-in-church-basements cheesy. I find myself apologizing much too much to others and TO MYSELF about who I am and what I do. I am not a bulldozer (of others feelings or needs) and do not plan to become one. I just want to gracefully and tactfully do what I need to do to be who I am and who I want to be. Part of me knows the grace and tact part of this is me backing down or couching this strategy in more desirable traits. Hmmmm. . . .interesting that this description of this resolution is somewhat apologetic.

No (bull)shit in the '05: This is a further specification of the original "be more assertive" plan. I take much too much shit from others and, again (or primarily), from myself. I allow myself to get involved in bullshit situations that usually end with me criticizing myself for not handling the situation (which was always already unhandleable) properly. I see others sidestepping--gracefully and tactfully--the bullshit. I plan to learn how to do this.

So I guess it's about me becoming fully who I am in the new year and forgiving myself for not being what others need me to be or what I might think I should be. I am obviously scared to death that this will make me some kind of a monster. If I look at the mythological Medusa, though, I can see her as kind of a graceful and tactful gal. She does tend to creep in corners a bit too much. But wouldn't you if Perseus were hell-bent on beheading you? True, she is a killer. But is she really a vicious one? After all, she is just looking. And, according to Cixous, if you really look at her, you will not see a murderous monster at all. You will see a woman, beautiful and laughing.


Recommended Resolution

Via CheekyProf and Just Tenured.

Your New Years Resolution Should Be: Stop waking up in strange places

Your personal mantra is "What's your name again?"
It's not that you're slutty - more like carefree
(In that whole free love sort of way.)
And if you're not careful, you'll end up a permanent fixture at the free clinic!

Note: For the record, I rarely wake up in strange places and I only encountered three strange bedfellows upon waking in 2004. And I remember their names: Seamus from Galway, Romeo, and . . .um . . .Dental School/Motorcycle Guy (John? James?). Shit.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Notes to Santa

My little peeps are future rockstars. I don't know if you can read these, but the 10-year-old inquires about her electric guitar while the six-year-old gets directly to business with a checklist, beginning with "a drum set," for Santa.

The Girl also seems to be concerned about Santa's weight.

The Boy is also into dirt bikes (with no training wheels). A WPAS in the making.


Back in the land

Whew. Holidays over. Survived. Identity intact? Unsure, as I have been with people constantly for many days. This is the first morning I woke up by myself--really by myself--with no one waiting for me to come to breakfast, no one in my house (I arrived home to guests who were supposed to be gone before I arrived but who were not), and no one in my bed (yes, I rang, er, banged in the New Year with Demetrius).

Some (expected) drama at Sis's. Did my strategies work? 1. Fogging: As I suspected, fam caught on and accused me of being strangely "distant;" 2. Retreat: Some why-are-you-leaving-so-soon interrogations but for the most part worked; 3. Working on deadline: HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! HA! 4. Walking: Worked. Dad now jokes about his strange notions regarding fresh air--claims it has to do with his Cherokee blood and something about evil wind demons.

Speaking of which, I do not think I am in the whirlwind but I feel it close by. Feel especially susceptible to whirlwind that is Demetrius, centered around crazy "someday we are going to be magnificent" comment made (by him) during one of our typical "you know and I know" conversations/make-out sessions. The you-now-and-I-know dynamic is an elaborate, mystified, romanticized way of dealing with what I do know: we are both too emotionally retarded to say what we know or to let it mean anything. Unsure if this was the ideal way to start a new year.

Anyway, must avoid all whirlwinds and get to work. Can I possibly do everything I absolutely have to do in the next two weeks? Must write that article (which involves re-reading primary stuff, researching, and writing), write three syllabi (including one for a new barely designed course and one for a poorly conceived and run course I taught two years ago), find and copy reading packet materials for two courses, and avoid my chair (who is hot on my trail to handle massive search-committee workload before the semester begins) like the plague.

I was feeling excited about my work, right? Can't quite recapture that feeling at the moment. Maybe replying to recent email from Dr. Muckity Muck (the big shot who flirts and drinks with me at conferences) will help. Can only vaguely explain why communication with him gets me charged about work--somehow sexual and somehow ego-driven.

End of telegraphic ramble. Out of practice. Happy. Though. To. Be. Back.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Chillin' in the '05

Happy happy happy to be back in my little attic--with Feste, Demetrius, Paloma, and visiting-from-the-west-coast Hal, watching movies (I got Starz!, bringing my cable bill to an obscene amount per month! I don't care!), and eating delicious food.

Something up with my internet connection but will post more holiday news soon.

Happy New Year to all!