for ethical reasons i won't blog about my students, which means it's been hard to write much over the last week. and who am i kidding, it's been hard to find ten uninterrupted minutes. going back into the classroom after being away for so long is shocking, exciting, depleting, disorienting, sobering, thrillingly scary, and absolutely crammed with realizations, most of them banal yet resonant. among them: teaching is tiring. it takes an incredible amount of energy to respond to 40 people at once. i'm not exactly complaining; i don't mind the work; it's just hard. it's like cooking a multi-course dinner party for a dozen friends. several hours into the prep, your fingers pruny and your feet aching, you find yourself wondering how this ever seemed like a good idea. when the wine starts flowing and conversation pools around the candlelight, though, it's all good.
and then there's all the other beginning-of-term stuff that ramps up. meetings, to be sure, and graduate student committees, and proposal-writing workshops, and office hours and major grant deadlines and so on, but also the socializing. next week i will be out monday, tuesday, wednesday, friday, and saturday evenings, entertaining visitors, attending talks, putting in an appearance at the obligatory department party. again, it's not that i don't enjoy it (well, okay, i could live without twinkling at the dep't party); it's just that after about 90 minutes of hanging out with anybody, i need a nap.
around the time that cycle ends, grading will start coming in.
all of this is doable, i keep saying, as long as i pace myself. right? right??
but the truly heartbreaking realization -- banal yet resonant -- is this: i am actually going to have to break down and get myself some comfortable shoes.
now, that i might not surive.