Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where was I?

Oh yes, here.

In a highly clever and original method of procrastination (or at least a new iteration for me), I accompanied a fellow grad student on her research. It was fun. It was a beautiful day and I got to go look at things. Old things. But not, god forbid, actually touch them. They made me wash my hands a lot. And I didn't even try to reach for any of the stuff and they were freaked.

I also got to spend time with Namesake, who's one of --- I think four now ---- people in the department with my name. Sigh. Gotta love those super-duper common names. Anyway, I got somewhat caught up on departmental gossip and communed with someone who is just as bitter and pissed-off about grad school and the profession even though not on the job market, imagine that! There must be something about the hardscrabble nature of my dept. that brings out the ressentiment in spades. But it was nice because mixed in with the bitching we talked like we were still in seminars together and I never get the opportunity to just riff with someone on theory stuff anymore. I wish I could get something together with people to do this kind of theory noodling, as it were, but I feel like I always have no time, and we talked about how we both feel so guilty for sitting down and just thinking, or talking stuff through without it being immediately relevant to a deadline or a current chapter or professionalization. Speaking of, I'm avoiding finishing the thing I was working on yesterday, even though it's due tomorrow. Meh.

What I really wish is that I could come in to the Big White Monolith (see above) and sit in the cafe and just write there every day, without thinking about the job market or teaching or overdue bills or anything. It's both so peaceful and so official; I feel like I'm having Highly Important Thoughts every time I sit there. Ideally this would be combined with wonderful and intellectually stimulating talks with fellow grad students every evening as we traded jazz riffs on our theory and our research. It's a bit out of my way, though ... and I don't know quite why work seems so do-able and important there, and so procrastinatable and meaningless here. Maybe I need a better view in my library carrel (like, any view at all). Or maybe it will get better when, soon, very soon, I'm done with the last of my job and postdoc applications. Maybe.

7 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

Maybe you and your fellow grad students could meet there for a long lunch once a month. It wouldn't be that much of a time commitment, and the fun of discussing cool ideas together might be well worth it. I'm always more productive when I'm feeling inspired and enthusiastic about my work.

Good luck with the job applications!

Maude Lebowski said...

i know exactly how you feel.

kermitthefrog said...

Shouldn't a post containing the words "theory" and "Big White Monolith" also include "problematize"?

*rimshot*

Belle said...

I had a place like that in several previous locations, and don't have one here. I miss it terribly, as I do the conversations and friends. Again, not here.

Dr. Virago said...

Ooh, I *love* working at the Big White Monolith and places like it. And you're so right -- everything one does there seems more important, more productive, more weighty. Mad Hatter's suggestion is a good one -- spend some time there that wouldn't make it such a commitment and a drag to get there.

Sisyphus said...

Kermit --- actually, back when I lived nearby and the BWM was being built there was a lot of resistance to it in the community from a lot of different directions ---- from its perceived ugliness to bringing down property values to being useless/inaccessible to poor people to destroying habitat ---- a lot of the protesters called it a big white monolith, in disdain. It seems very Disney-esque and regimented, but I actually quite like it. I think I may lose all my lefty indie cred, but I think it's quite pretty and pleasant to be in. Don't tell anyone!

kermitthefrog said...

Oh, I've been there too, and thought it was lovely (although the inaccessibility issue, I can understand). :)