Otium

#WednesdayWisdom #thinking #dreaming #knowledgemaking #slowscholarship #otium

April: marking. It was horrible. It took all month. I was late, but managed to submit grades in time, before the deadline. Twitter was a merciful consolation and support, as I wanted to write but couldn’t face writing properly and at length, a blog post let alone the articles I’m working on. Twitter really seriously helped. There were other positives in this blog-silent month. I did not become ill or burn out. I did get my first sun-related illness of the year the first time the sun appeared, but recovered fast and haven’t had the skin-stress, photosensitive blistering drama, or indeed seasonal allergies of previous years. These may all sound silly and trivial, but if you are a redhead, they are not. (There was also dental surgery and a quantity of soup and chocolate ice-cream.)

May: recovering from the post-marking shock phase. I’m not teaching again until July, and have a lighter load next year. These are still bewildering facts to get my head around. It’s been an odd week since those final grades all went in. It’s a turning point of the year anyway, what with Beltane and May Day. There’s loss, and mourning, and a sense of a ritual moment at the end of an academic year and as many of “my” students from this last term are graduating.

I now have two months of slow work; proper work like it ought to be done: with time and space and quiet for careful focussed close reading, thinking, and research. That thing we do in the arts and humanities, that thing that scholars in universities are supposed to do, that thing that universities themselves are supposed to do and be: learn and make knowledge.

For that is what innovation is.

The Long Summer Great Work? Most of it is two things:

  1. The Consent Project
  2. Reshaping beginners’ French. Inter alia: Dreaming up new (well, mostly old) assignments: e.gg. story continuation, exquisite corpse, poem, calligramme, epigram, pastiche, parody, synopsis, collage, photomontage, meme. Imagining other ways for a final exam to be, other forms for it to take.

Metamorphoses. Transformative learning, in the true senses of these words.

More anon.