Friday, January 30, 2009

Blogging AND OTHER Obligations

I'm having to remind myself today that I believe in "Blogging Without Obligations," but my personality makes that a challenge -- I start feeling uncomfortable when I've gone more than three or four days, yet I'm tempted to just pass this morning, feeling as if I have nothing much interesting to say.

That is, I have no time to say anything interesting -- I do have a cornucopia of brilliant ideas to develop (brilliant to me, at least!), but have to ignore them in favour of marking a big stack of first-year essays on poetry this weekend. As well, today our department is hosting two different colloquia -- the one this morning will be an entertaining delight, I know -- a colleague/friend is presenting a paper on graphic novels, a burgeoning genre I have spent almost no time with and would love to know more about. She's going to have many examples of the art, and I suspect the morning will fly by.

The afternoon colloquia will be a bit more of a struggle, especially since my body's temptation after lunch is very often for a nap -- rarely get to indulge, but the eyelids do want to yield to gravity. We have a visiting speaker coming to make connections between the Kristeva text we've been studying and some Derrida essays -- I've struggled through one of the latter (thus sacrificing a few hours I didn't really have), and I'm hoping for some illumination, but this one might be a tough slog! Still, I remind myself that I always come away from these afternoons excited about new ideas, re-committed to the kind of intellectual work that pulled me into the field in the first place.

In fact, this has been the first year since completing my dissertation almost four years ago that I have submitted proposals for conferences. One of these, for which I haven't yet had a response, came directly out of our theory group afternoons. Another, which was accepted and will take me to Birmingham UK this summer to present, was submitted in a spirit of confidence gained from discussing difficult readings with peers around a big table in a room with a beautiful view on my very own campus -- overall, the hours sacrificed have been very well compensated.

But compensated or not, the cost of those hours will really stretch my time budget this weekend -- besides those 28 essays (thankfully, only 600-700 words each), I really want to complete another proposal (altho' it's not due 'til February 15th). Then there's the little matter of a novel I have to reread before Monday's class (yikes!). We're heading into week five of the academic term here, and life will continue to speed up for the next while before it gears down again.

Meanwhile, though, my daughter sent me this picture taken when my sister (Mary, pictured on the right) brought my mom over to meet her new granddaughter, finally, last week -- the terrible snow conditions earlier and then mom's surgery delayed this meeting for too long, so it was a happy and momentous one. If I'd been there, I would have jostled Nola into a slightly better position so we could see her little chin, but you can see how quickly she's turning into a real little person!

What about you? What's keeping you from blogging or, better, giving you fuel for posts? We need that balance, don't we -- if we didn't "have a life" we wouldn't have much to blog about, but if our life is too busy, there's no time to . . . well, you know. Tell me about it!


  1. This is a lovely, evocative photo. Intergenerational photos (especially of women) always move me. I've always been amazed and admiring about how much you do! Even if you post sporadically, ma, or take a break that's fine- I appreciate what you post when you can. And congratulations on your UK gig!

    PS My family loves graphic novels (bandes desinees), especially the French ones.

  2. I find it amazing how much
    I blog considering how little life I feel like I have lived in the last year. But lately life has gotten busier and it is feeling harder to keep up with daily(m-f) blogging, reading and commenting.

    Please, would you post on Derrida. I loved him. Have you seen the film about him? Very interesting.

    Like Duchesse, I really enjoyed the photo. Very poignant how your sister holds your mother who holds your granddaughter.

  3. Mater, love the photo.

    My blogging is all or nothing as you may have noticed! All my ideas come crashing down at once, and then I'm dry. Totally dry.

    Getting out there and living and talking to people is great fodder for blog posts!

  4. Love, love, love the photo!

    There are just some times when life takes precedence, and we'll be here ready to read when you're ready to blog!

  5. Oh my. Am preparing four syllabi this weekend for the new semester. So my blog is a tad dry at the moment.

  6. And I am always amazed that you blog so much and do so much. My wells run dry far to frequently. I would love to hear more about the Derrida if you ever have time.

    And the photo is just fabulously evocative. Gatherings and portraits of multiple generations of women always seem to tell such strong stories.

  7. Duchesse: Thanks! I love this photo as well, just wish I were in it -- I've got to make sure to get one soon with myself as one of the four generations.
    LBR: No, I haven't seen the film, but will look for it. Not likely to write here about reading him, altho' it would be worth a post or seventeen, for sure -- time, time, time, I need to buy some!
    Karen: Your away spells always seem to produce some great new inspirations -- your past few new posts have been great!
    Pseu: I do believe my readers are patient and understanding -- now if I could only get my inner whip-cracker to be as kind . . .
    Miss C: Yikes! That's a weekend's work, especially since you'll be doing it amid a busy household with three young ones. And I have noticed nothing dry at all about your blog lately -- on the contrary, lush and lively would be my description.
    Mardel: If I write about Derrida at all (and see my response to LBR) it would be at my other blog -- and more about the phenomenon of reading and discussing than about the actual content. Again, it's more about time than lack of inclination . . .

  8. I guess I'm sort of a bi-polar blogger...with a method to the madness?

  9. hey "ma" (i like that) what a bevie of beauties you have in your family .. a one and only photo .. lovely ..

    how wonderfull for you to be off to the uk, doing something you love ..

  10. It is a lovely photo. My mother had one taken when I was very little with the four generations. Now there are only two :-(. Hopefully some day there will be a third.

    I am amazed that you have the time to write as you do. I didn't know that you went back not too long ago for your PhD. I started to do that, then realized I was terrified, and I mean terrified to speak in front of others. Couldn't do it.

    I do love your blogging without obligation motto. So what keeps my from blogging?????

    Being constantly interrupted. My husband works from home and I have three pets.

    Writing is difficult for me. It's getting better and the blogging is helping, but I think I do have some type of LD when it comes to writing what I am thinking. My minds races and I feel a lot of things, but getting them out in writing is totally different and difficult.

    Feeling that I don't have much to say. Being a stay at home mom, there are days when nothing out of the ordinary occurs. But really I know that the ordinary days are just as special as the ones that arent.

    Thanks for sharing yourself with us, and for the beautiful photo today.

  11. Karen: your mad method has very good results!
    Jane: Thanks!
    Julianne: Yes, didn't finish my BA until I was over 40 -- the longest degree in history, I thought at the time! And I was over 50 before completing my PhD. I guess I'm lucky that I don't mind public speaking -- I know it's the number one fear for many.
    Having been a stay-at-home mom for many years, I know how easy it is to feel as if we don't have anything important to say, nothing "out of the ordinary" -- but we do know how to appreciate the ordinary, don't we?! I think your blog and mine share this determination to marvel at the everyday, or at least, I try.

  12. Mater, remember, SEinfeld was a runaway hit, and it was the show about "nothing."

    Hope you and your family are feeling better, especially Grandmater.

    The dream, I don't dare to interpret. I've only got a B.A.

  13. Thanks for that reminder, Karen. Sometimes "nothing" can be everything, really, can't it!
    Not sure there is going to be a "better" to this saga, but it's all part of life, I guess.
    As for your last comment, which I'm guessing is very tongue in cheek, you've got smarts that go way beyond academic "letters"! I'm so inspired by your fashion and style sense.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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