Being Part of the Thinking World, and Also the Loving One

One of the effects of being on the academic job market as I’ve been since, oh, September, is that you stop thinking. You stop engaging in much else around you that’s not an academic job posting, or a certain wiki. Your loved ones suffer and your liked ones do. Your students. And but it’s also very hard to think about exactly how other people are well if not “suffering” then at least being neglected because of course you’re too busy thinking about why someone you’ve never met hasn’t called you on the phone.

Sorry. – “you” and + “I”

I haven’t read anything new in months. I’ve reread the texts I’ve assigned for classes and I’ve read books by people I’ve been made to connect with through my being on the academic job market. These latter books are new to me but not necessarily new. I don’t watch TV news and I don’t visit newspaper Web sites. When the quake hit Haiti I found out about it by googling “Haiti” after seeing the word pop up in so many Facebook friends’ status updates.

I’ve got a book to finish in the next six weeks or so. It’s a bad time to be trying to finish a book that, being nonfiction, relies chiefly on my ability to think about and through my material and then transcribe such thoughts on the page in a way that’s engaging to someone else’s busy brain. Getting the thoughts themselves to come is hard enough. Like right now, today, I need not only to recall from memory (redundant?) the experience of walking around the ground floor of the AMNH’s African Hall but I also have to figure out what if anything is noteworthy about it. What’s noteworthy about walking around a room in a museum?

No one likes a complainer.

I was glad to see that amid all this trouble in engaging in the world I’ve been able to have a review of Brenda Iijima’s If Not Metamorphic published (er, well, “review” “published”) in The Home Video Review of Books.

You can tell it’s me because of my signature combination of fussy ministrations and sudden aggressive torture.

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