Okay, yes, this is most often what it is, as Barbara Ras writes it: "I want to shake the magnolia tree to see if I'm strong enough / to move any of the darkness inside its tangle of branches."
This morning at school began with Shannon, talking about teaching, coming up with strategies for moving an 8am class. Shannon is sick but is there and (as always) thoughtful and quick, and as she speaks of different people in her classes my office fills with them. We talk about the exact wording of what you say at the beginning of a class and whether you put something on the board or ask people to write about it. How all our small moves build larger patterns, and what single parts of the weave you can pluck all at once to have another pattern that morning and you only realize it afterwards as you walk away grinning. Shannon is smart about all of this, and I learn.
Then Shawn and I talk about his comps: he's moving back and forth between two-dimensional visual design and immersive games, asking about the entanglements of engagement and persuasion (how are they different?) in those differing visual objects. We figure out a few new things together about the library's database and e-journals, and find some new articles, and we talk about the connections you make with the people with whom you work and how they become really visible at a daughter's first birthday party while the wrapping paper is flying through giggling fingers. (Well, that later part is how I am remembering it later, how I will remember these meetings, as though Lily was there so graciously helping Christy and Hina with the presents on my office floor while Shawn's ideas glittered about the room with his grace and smarts like the light off the wrapping paper.)
Professor Hawhee came to the phone from snow shoveling or pushing but I got to speak to her twice today because during that first call Marilyn knocked on my door to remind me of our noon meeting. Our noon meeting is our writing group: Vicky, Marilyn, and I had read one of Marika's conference presentations, and we were talking about all the different article possibilities in the presentation. Marika makes sentences like magnifying lenses and Marilyn and Vicky are *smart* and the hour disappeared. Delightfully. Next week we read from Vicky's book and the week after we read from Marilyn's book, and then it's my CCCC presentation, which I've started writing, at least the first sentences that make me laugh and that chances are will be nowhere near the final version.
In our weekly meeting about the writing program, Christy, Moe, and I... well. I look forward to that meeting. Christy thinks about teaching with ethical rigor, gently teasing apart situations with such respect for who people are that I sometimes am tempted to make up problems so I can just keep listening and being made smarter. And Moe is Mr. Magic-out-of-the-Hat, so creative in coming up with assignments and workarounds it's as though he lives inside his collections of old ads, magazines, and costumes. And he is human, and styling, and way smart; his dissertation is going to be a genre-bending wonder, to which I am looking forward oh so selfishly. (And he comes with Liz, who is a gift to the world of textures, generosity, animations, and delight.)
Lynn came to office hours, to talk about science writing and snowboarding. This is a woman who makes me happy to think about the emails of 2 or 5 or 10 years from now -- like emails from Jana, davina, Kristin, Anna, Mavis, Jessie, Lisa, Vicki, Asha, Karen, Becky, Jess, Hannah, Pavi Elle, Jen, Amy, Diane, Emily, Erica, Erin, Nia, Katie, Eve, Orsolya, Evelyn, Josh, Aaron, Donovan -- emails about success and work and thinking and life and families after undergrad studying, emails that fall out of the morning inbox like petals, emails from friends.
Then I got to talk with Professor Hawhee again, laughing. Her warmth and piercing smartness made me think about talking -- just the talks of this past week -- with the ever graciously thoughtful Professor Hawisher, the ever sharpfunny Professor Ball, the bright and generous Professor Hocks, the Manta-wearing Professor Grabill who cracks me up and makes me think we can be f-ing brilliant together with Professors Sidler, Hart-Davidson, and to-be Lackey.
And I haven't even begun to mention the gifts of Professor Arola and Professor Jasken, and that Sajdyk woman. And Teacher-Kitchen Master Buchanan and Teacher-Dean-to-Be Corbin.
Why am I a Happy Woman Professor?
All that is above is just the today and some-of-this-week part; I need to add into the longer mix Johndan, Kate, Stuart, Geoff, Karla, Ellen, Linda, Cindy, Diana, Scott, Heidi, Barclay, Dickie, Madeleine, Marcia, Alice, Chuck, Brent, Matt, Paul, Anne, Jackie, Mary, Michelle, Collin, Eva, Amy, Joyce, Susan, Carrie, Martha, Derek, Jonathan... Any writing I do is thanks to every name here -- and many I have missed -- and all their ideas and generosity.
Oh, and the classes I get to teach.
But wait, there's more:blogosfirst effortssee jane computeblog herneither necessary nor sufficientlilyseathe most cake