I remember reading a novel many years ago– I can’t remember the name of it right now– where the narrator, an academic, reflects on how the end of summer is the end of the year, and how the fall semester is the start, and how odd that is in relationship to the way that “real people” think about the way the year works. The beginning isn’t September for most; it’s January. It’s just another way in which academics are in a sort of parallel universe sometimes.
Classes don’t start here until next Wednesday, but practically speaking, it feels like the semester is underway already. There’s a union meeting tomorrow afternoon (Will we or won’t we strike? Which rumor do you want to believe? This meeting Tuesday might help answer both of those questions), a department retreat on Thursday, meetings and meetings next week, and whammo, classes. I’ve managed to stay out of the (seemingly seasonal) arguments about plagiarism and other things I’m not following too closely on the WPA-L mailing lists, and instead, I revised my official web site and posted the web sites for the classes I’m teaching this semester. So teaching-wise, I’m pretty much ready to go.
By the way, for my loyal readers who were following some of my earlier musings on my fall teaching: After thinking it over, I decided to go with the e-reserves option because it’s free for students and it gives me some needed flexibility with picking assigned readings. Also, for folks who offered advice and comments on this post about a list of books for students in my grad class to review: The assignment is posted here, part of the class web site. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m supposed to be revising an article and some other projects as I type, things I should have probably finished over the summer. What did I do over the summer? Well, I did do some scholarly things, including the excellent Computers and Writing conference in Hawaii. I taught a couple of classes this summer which both went well, but which were also draining and time-consuming and all the rest. I had some fun, though I played golf quite poorly this summer, and the garden has done bad because of bad weather here– too cold– and lack of interest on my part. I managed to finish reading The Da Vinci Code, which after a while seemed more like a chore just to get to “the answer” about “The Grail,” which you do get to, literally on the last page.
And I blogged a lot this summer, which I think has had its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, blogging gets my brain moving and gets me to the keyboard to write. On the other hand, blogging is also a procrastinating tool, too. So in the fall, I think the trick is going to be to find ways to maximize the benefits of blogging while still finding time to read and write, scholarly things and otherwise.
Anyway, happy new year.