Le Temps

I work all the time now, basically, but I have so many different things to do that working all the time just keeps me ahead of some really basic things. I am quite fast, and I am only slow insofar as since academic work is a space of abuse for me it is sometimes hard to go in, and hard to focus.

But I have a lot fewer flashbacks now than I used to and most of the time I am able to focus very well and move on ahead. It is heartrending, however, to do so many things in so superficial a way. I would be glad to do any of them if I had time to get just a little below the surface. Only a little. I do not ask for much.


Why is it that the courses we teach take so much time, given that our load is not as heavy as it could be? The principal reasons are that (a) one must constantly be giving NEW advanced out of field courses, and (b) one must constantly be giving new VERSIONS of basic courses, whose goals, content and materials have been decided by others, but which have not been revealed to one.

If we had power over our days and had not been taught, before tenure, to be “flexible” and “accommodating,” we would limit the total number of new advanced out of field courses we gave or had to give, and some coordination would be done at the level of the basic courses (as opposed to just dictation of materials).

Now I have announced that no matter what anyone else says I will now give only six advanced courses, ever (content will vary, but they will be only six), and that they will be in field. I think I might secretly make my own versions of those basic courses and teach them my way, no matter what (yes, there will be flexibility and change, but it will be my way). I think this would save a lot of time.

I think I shall also never again invite anyone to speak who cannot speak to and at the hour of one of my courses. This would also save a lot of time.


3 thoughts on “Le Temps

  1. Do things your way but don’t announce that you are doing so. A little freedom on your part makes others jealous.

    My best-loved wickedness and art is it, that my silence hath learned not to betray itself by silence.

    Clattering with diction and dice, I outwit the solemn assistants: all those stern watchers, shall my will and purpose elude.

    That no one might see down into my depth and into mine ultimate will–for that purpose did I devise the long clear silence.

    Many a shrewd one did I find: he veiled his countenance and made his water muddy, that no one might see therethrough and thereunder.

    But precisely unto him came the shrewder distrusters and nut-crackers: precisely from him did they fish his best-concealed fish!

    But the clear, the honest, the transparent–these are for me the wisest silent ones: in them, so PROFOUND is the depth that even the clearest water doth not–betray it.–

    Thou snow-bearded, silent, winter-sky, thou round-eyed whitehead above me! Oh, thou heavenly simile of my soul and its wantonness!

    And MUST I not conceal myself like one who hath swallowed gold–lest my soul should be ripped up?

    MUST I not wear stilts, that they may OVERLOOK my long legs–all those enviers and injurers around me?

    Those dingy, fire-warmed, used-up, green-tinted, ill-natured souls–how COULD their envy endure my happiness!

    Thus do I show them only the ice and winter of my peaks–and NOT that my mountain windeth all the solar girdles around it!

    They hear only the whistling of my winter-storms: and know NOT that I also travel over warm seas, like longing, heavy, hot south-winds.

    They commiserate also my accidents and chances:–but MY word saith: “Suffer the chance to come unto me: innocent is it as a little child!”

    How COULD they endure my happiness, if I did not put around it accidents, and winter-privations, and bear-skin caps, and enmantling snowflakes!

    –If I did not myself commiserate their PITY, the pity of those enviers and injurers!

    –If I did not myself sigh before them, and chatter with cold, and patiently LET myself be swathed in their pity!

  2. The family ethic was about work avoidance, it seems, as well as helplessness and evasion of responsibility. Maybe? It is hard to tell. But this isn’t that, it’s streamlining and taking power where Re/Education would have said I should not (ReEducation liked submersion, beleagueredness, acceptance of these). Or so it seemed. I got called “selfish” for just being responsible and professional (and for taking reasonable care of myself) more times than I can count.

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