Professing * Reflecting

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I miss Conference Land

All this week I have been doing the "last week at this time" thing and trying to account for why in god's name I love a conference so much. Is it the travel? To some degree, yes. I can be giddy like a little child just by traveling to a fruit stand 10 miles down the road. The new sights! The new sounds! The adventure! But I also know that it's the shot in the arm I get from the (here's where I geek out, folks) the scholarship--my own and others'. I love the panels, the discussions, the casual conversations, watching graduate students suck up to muckity mucks, and even all of the pretentious and ridiculous performances of scholar-ness. I even enjoy the bad shoes. I just do not get ANY exposure to this kind of interaction at Foggy C. Because of TDC, it's much better to keep my research pursuits on the downlow.

I am realizing over and over again (or forgetting and remembering, habitually) how maddeningly difficult it is to do what I want to do at Foggy C. And it's not that I should not do it, because of the institutional culture, as TDC would have me believe. In fact, I am required to be active in my field, to give conference papers regularly, and to publish. I keep thinking that I just have to play it smarter, to not discuss these pursuits with TDC, and to somehow find an intellectually nourishing environment in this job. I wonder, though, if that's really possible.

What a conference shows me is just how starved of WHAT I DO for most of the year. Yes, I get a lot out of teaching. I consider teaching to be just as important as research, and I am exceptionally good at it. I put a ton of energy into my teaching, and I get energy from it. I get good ideas for my research from my teaching all of the time. But it's just not the same as being with and talking to other people who are actively involved in research. Is once a year (and I do tend to do all my conferences in the Spring) enough to sustain my energy?

A huge part of the problem is TDC. . .*poof* . . .She sent me twenty-one emails last week. Twenty-one.

Ok, that's enough poof-worthy bitching for a Sunday morning. I have a snoring chihuahua to feed, a novel to read, and a condo-association meeting, in which we discuss what to do about the drunken musician who is suing us, to attend. (No, somewhat unbelievably, the drunken musician is not an ex-boyfriend of mine. I don't even think he's a bassist. That is, however, the first thing I am going to ask at the meeting. "Is the plaintiff a bassist?" is in fact the only question on my "Condo Meeting, March 2007, Re: Lawsuit and Various Liability Issues" list so far.)

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