Welcome to the fifth installment of navel-gazing with aspirations. Â As noted on day one, the attempt here is to make academic work visible. Â Thus: welcome to the day that some call the middle of the week. Â (If one works on weekends, do weeks have middles? Â Do they have beginnings? Â Do they ever end?)
Wednesday, 23 Feb. 2011.
12:45 – 6:35 am. Asleep.
7:05 – 7:15 am. While dressing, gathered books I would need to write those few sentences – and brought them to campus. Â Dressing took slightly longer this morning because I donned a bow tie (in homage to Dr. Seuss), and it takes me longer to tie a bow tie. Â I usually wear the long-style necktie, which I think of as a Windsor because that’s the knot I use. Â I have no idea what the long-style tie is called, though. Â Does it have a name, beyond “tie” or “necktie”?
7:15 – 7:25 am. Breakfast. Â Read more of A. J. Jacobs‘ The Know-It-All, while trying to retain (in my head) the sentences I’d write when I got to campus.
7:42 am. Â Arrived in office.
7:42 – 7:56 am. Â Checked email, FB, and Twitter. Â Thanks to Joseph Thomas’ FB post, checked out this Mother Jones chart of income inequality in America. Â This is the kind of thing that Julia and I need to address in our “Radical Children’s Literature Now!” talk.
7:56 – 8:50 am. Â In writing those sentences for Julia‘s and myÂ ChLA talk, I ended up writing a paragraph.Â Â It may not be a great paragraph, but it’s something! Also realized that I left my English 703 folder at home, which means that the response papers I graded yesterday (with the intent of turning back today) are at home. Â Damn. Â Answered email from student who reports absence from today’s English 703 class. Â Coincidentally, student is author of one of the response papers abandoned at home.
8:50 – 9:30 am. Â Re-reading notes & criticism for English 703.
9:15 am. Â Office hours begin, but today I can only be here for 15 mins. Most students only come by appointment, but – just in case today is atypical, and students do appear – I’ve left a note on the door. Â I have to step out to go to what I anticipate will be a half-hour…
9:30 – 10:45 am. Â Meeting with Rachel Skybetter of Kansas State University’s Media Relations, which turned out to be not a half-hour. Â That’s not a problem, though! Â She wanted to speak to Karin and myself about Harry Potter. Â We (along with our colleague Naomi Wood) teach the class, and have done some scholarship on Rowling’s series. Â The occasion for Ms. Skybetter’s interview is a piece forÂ Perspectives, a magazine devoted to research at Kansas State University. Â Glad to help get the word out on Humanities research & Children’s Literature.
10:45 – 11:24 am. Re-reading notes, criticism (Zohar Shavit’s “The Ambivalent Status of Texts” fromÂ The Poetics of Children’s Literature & Â Julie Sinn Cassidy’s “Transporting Nostalgia: Little Golden Books as Souvenirs of Childhood”), & primary texts (the Little Golden Books Scuffy the Tugboat and The Poky Little Puppy) forÂ English 703. Â Brief email response to journalist.
11:30 am – 12:20 pm. Â English 703 (Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature).
12:25 – 12:38 pm. Â In hallway of ECS Bldg., spoke with student about paper. Â Spoke with colleague Anne Phillips about summer English 355.
12:38 – 12:56 pm. Â Lunch! Â Also: student came by to take quiz. Â And: mentored colleague.
12:56 – 1:22 pm.Â Lunch, continued. Â Focus on English 355 (next class), brief conversation with student (after quiz).
1:30 – 3:20 pm. Two sections of English 355 (Literature for Children). Â Feeling good about both classes, but especially the first one. Â Really got that gestalt going, where there’s a great balance between student discussion and (what I felt was) nifty information.
3:25 – 4:10 pm. Â Yet another student makes up a missed quiz (I seem to spend much of my life proctoring make-ups, don’t I?). Â Email re:Â Complete Barnaby. Answered grad. students’ questions re: Langston Hughes and Harlem Renaissance Children’s Lit. Â (See Kate Capshaw Smith’s Children’s Literature of the Harlem Renaissance! Â See Michelle Martin’s work — has the Bon Bon Buddy essay been published? Â ‘Cause it’s excellent. Â And, for the picture books side, see of course her great book on African-American Children’s Picture books.) Â Via email, read research proposal accompanying a request to write a letter of reference on behalf of the applicant (who I met at a conference a year or two ago). Â I enjoyed the proposal, remembered our conversation, & wrote back agreeing to write letter (due April 1st).
4:10 – 4:20 pm. Â Checked Twitter. Â Am trying to stay off of Facebook because of so many postings regarding the news. Â Too overwhelming, too depressing. Â On the optimistic side, I hope Americans continue to rally behind their public institutions and the workers who staff them. Â And I don’t understand the movement to transform the U.S. into a third-world country (expanding the gap between rich and poor, squeezing out the middle class, defunding education, etc.). Â And I would like to see our president say more about the role that a progressive income tax plays in sustaining a stable, prosperous society.
4:20 – 4:40 pm. BewareÂ The Giant Zilg!Â Over at Letters of Note today, you can see a page from Tim Burton’s rejected picture book, and the rejection letter. Â The book is quite Seussian. Â Complete Barnaby correspondence. Â I think I’m gonna have to start working on this introduction sooner than I’d planned — which, frankly, is fine. Â Ideas for it have been rumbling around in the back of my head, and starting it will help me decide on which ephemera to seek (one reason that I need to start writing the intro).
4:40 – 4:55 pm. Â Responded to personal emails via FB (hmmm… guess I can’t stay away from it as much as I’d like).
4:55 – 5:05 pm. Â Spoke with a couple of colleagues. Â Also checked (postal) mail, discovered two beautiful antiquarian catalogues. Â I, alas, don’t have the capital for such items. Â A common question I get asked is “How much is this Dr. Seuss book worth?” or “What is this Crockett Johnson drawing worth?” Â I have no idea. Â I mean, I wish I did! Â But… those items tend to exceed my budget. Â That said, if these catalogues list any rare children’s books that ought to be in our library’s Special Collections, I’ll pass along the info. – and, dear reader, it is for this latter reason that I am on both booksellers’ mailing lists.
5:05 – 5:40 pm. Â Read applications to graduate program – this is part of my job as a member of the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). Â We have a meeting tomorrow.
5:40 – 5:55 pm. Â Talked with colleagues about higher education, & investment in higher education.
5:55 – 6:10 pm. Â Put away some of the books I took to class today, packed the ones that needed to come home. Â Made sure I brought the grading that needed to come home, too.
6:20 – 6:45 pm. Â Home. Â Packages! Â All books I’d ordered. Â Two are gifts. Â The rest are not. Â Sturrock’s Dahl bio. has inspired me to read more of his work (also will be writing about his work for a paper at IRSCL in July) – so, a few are Dahl books (including a 2006 reprint of his first,Â The Gremlins). Â Also changed from professor outfit into off-duty clothes.
6:45 – 7:45 pm. Read more of Alan Bradley’sÂ The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (we’re into Chapter 4 now) to Karin, during dinner prep. Â Then, dinner with Tuesday’sÂ Daily Show (Anderson Cooper).
7:45 – 7:50 pm. Â Noticed I was coughing & so made a cup of “throat soother” tea. Â I suspect the throat is tired from teaching. Â A few years ago, when I lost my voice (due to illness), I drank several cups of this a day. Â Teaching without a voice was an interesting experience… that I hope not to repeat.
7:50 – 8:10 pm. Â Answering email. Â A student for whom I’ve agreed to write a letter has sent me necessary material. Â This one is due March 15th. Â Throat-soother tea definitely doing the trick.
8:10 – 8:55 pm. Â Errand. Â Needed some items for my Friday English 355 (Lit for Children) classes. Â Will try to remember (on Friday) to tell you precisely what. Â (It’s a surprise!)
8:55 – 9:20 pm. Â Responded to comments on Facebook. Â (All blog-related, but I’m not counting this as “work.”)
9:20 – 9:30 pm. Â Worked on English Dept. newsletter, Reading Matters. Â If any of my colleagues are reading this, deadline for submissions is tomorrow at 5. Â Drop me a line!
9:30 – 9:45 pm. Â Weather Channel. Â 2-4 inches of snow expected tomorrow. Â Bleah. Â On the other hand, could be worse.
9:45 – 9:50 pm. Â Responded to email from a different student for whom I already submitted letter of recommendation. Â Evidently, one school to which I submitted it also requires me to fill out a separate form. Â Did I fail to fill out form provided? Â Or did student not supply me with form? Â Doesn’t matter. Â I’ll do it. Â Ah, but I see that before I fill out form, the student needs to sign and check “waive rights” or “do not waive rights” — have informed student of this fact.
9:55 – 10:40 pm. Listened to KEXP’s song of the day from Feb. 17th (DeVotchKa), 18th (Joshua Morrison), 21st (Aurelio), 22nd (Made in Heights), 23rd (Drive-By Truckers). Â Favorites of the group: Made in Heights’ “All the Places,” & Drive-By Truckers’ “Everybody Needs Love.” Checked Twitter feed. Â Made labels for new midtempo mixes – oddly, I seem to have completed two simultaneously. Â One is happier, the other more melancholic. Â Also discovered that back on Nov. 25th (Thanksgiving?), I began making notes for the intro toÂ Complete Barnaby Vol. 1. Â There only a handful of sentences, and some fragments cut from the biography, but… it’s better than a blank page.
10:45 pm.Â It does not appear that I’ll be getting more work done this evening. Â I had planned to write more, but I met my paragraph-a-day quota for “Radical Children’s Lit Now!” Â As long as I stick to that, the paragraphs will keep accruing. Â So… the day’s tally isÂ 11 hours. Â I counted lunch among my work hours today because I worked through it. Â 2 more days, and then I leave the Panopticon. Â It’s been an interesting experiment – I’ll do a final blog post reflecting on the experience.
11:45 pm. Â Bed (estimated).
More posts on academia fromÂ Nine Kinds of PieÂ (this blog):
- How to Publish Your Book; or, The Little Manuscript That Could. Â These strategies have worked for me.
- How to Publish Your Article. Â The “prequel” to the above.
- Never Say Die: A Mix for Job-Seekers. Â Because you might need a little encouragement.
- Procrastigrading; or, How to Grade Efficiently. Â One solution to the scourge of grading. Â The main drawback is that it also involvesÂ actual grading.
- Fortunate Failures; or, How I Became a Scholar of Dr. Seuss. Â When academe gives you lemons, make green eggs and ham.
- The Art of PowerPoint: A User’s Guide. Â PowerPoint doesn’t have to suck. Â Trust me.
- How Did I Get Here? Part I: Up from Adjuncthood. Â Academic autobiography.
- How Did I Get Here? Part II: Into Professorland. Â Academic autobiography, Part Deux.
- Mash-Up vs. Purple Crayon. Â There are many paths to success.