Absences

You ask why I don't write.
But what is there to say?
It's always a challenge for university instructors, staying afloat from late October to late November. The assignments keep coming in, there's the labour of reviving your old understanding of your material while also continuing to make sure your old understanding remains somehow relevant, the annual cycle of administration has gotten seriously underway.

And then something like Occupy Wall Street happens: there's something every year, always something, though OWS kept me more excited and intellectually busier outside my usual working area than most past ... distractions? Can I call them that? I blogged a little about Occupy, and I read a lot, and I tweeted back and forth quite a bit. It's taken up a surprisingly large portion of my thoughts over the last month, though I'm not sure what it's going to mean to me as time goes on, and the camps come down.

And my Twitter account got hacked, and I got into a TwitterSpat with someone claiming to be a grad student at the London School of Economics. His point (and I use that term loosely) was that cuckoldry is the male equivalent of being raped (actually saying it more than once), which ordinarily I would simply have mocked as inane, and ignored as trolling, except that he was claiming the support of evolutionary psychology, so game on, "nature" boy.

And I reread books for current courses and for student supervision, and I sampled books for future coursework.

And I finished an article arguing that the BC forest industry is quiet about climate change for underlying ideological reasons connected to a frontier-ish ethic unique to the Pacific Northwest that's most easily explored in BC novels about logging: a startling number of moving parts in this project, so while the article's done, I'm painfully aware that I have to keep going with it if I'm going to make sense of it all.

And probably most important of all was this little project, in which I spent a whole lot of time and energy critiquing, commenting upon, and suggesting changes to my employer's Strategic Plan (what the brilliant Joe Bennett long ago taught me to think of as a "planny sort of plan"). Now that the comment submissions deadline has passed, I'm probably going to let that project relax a bit. Maybe I'll go back to the existing plan, see how the promises lined up with what was delivered, but we'll see how time works out.

And also, you know, life and stuff. I'm gradually coming back to this blog.
These nail-parings
bore you? They explain my silence.
I wish there were as simple
an explanation for the silence of God.
(This post is book-ended by the opening and closing lines of RS Thomas' poem "Correspondence." It's wonderful, and it's posted here by a fellow Thomas fan.)

Comments

Fraser said…
Well, I for one am glad you're back. Though a post about why you're not posting is ideologically similar to my post about how sick I am. "Apparent compliance".

And cuckoldry as the male equivalent of rape? Sure. Though perhaps rape would be the male equivalent of rape, just as a suggestion. Was it really well-argued enough that you took it seriously? Then I'm reluctantly impressed by the guy. I can just barely see the beginnings of his point, but I wouldn't want to try to make it work out.
richard said…
Agreed re our posts.

And he wasn't making any sense, but (a) he sounded like he kind of was, and (b) he sure thought he was. I checked him on LinkedIn, and he's a former staffer for the Fraser Institute among other places.

MA in Political Science from Waterloo, an MSc in progress at the London School of Economics: someone with those credentials and these beliefs cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

I know, I know, "someone is wrong on the internet," not my fight, etc. Sometimes you can't get out, you know?
theresa said…
Can you post a link to the article about logging, Richard? I'd be very interested to see which novels you read...docdou
richard said…
If/when it comes out, Theresa, certainly! But in the end it turned out to be only Grainger's Woodsmen of the West (of course) and Haig-Brown's Timber. No room for Bus Griffiths, and Trower's novels were too late for what I was doing. Any favourites?

(And also, I'm deliberately reading Mnemonic extremely slowly, because it's just so very beautiful. I'm going to be disappointed when I'm finished with it, I tell you!
Cathleen said…
I merely stumbled on your blog but I never let that stop me from reading practically anything. I got stuck at "gotten" and had to push myself a bit after that to take anything you said as having any merit. I recognize I'm jumping in to a middle post and don't have much history on your blog so I dismissed my initial presumptions.I may yet scan back at previous posts... I finished reading and found your comments list much more interesting. Do you speak of the original short story by William Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic" or something else?
Fraser said…
Now look, it's not my job to defend Richard. He can do that perfectly adequately, or at least his thesis committee must have thought so at one time.

But really, Cathleen? Complaining about the word "gotten"? It's a past participle, and perfectly clear — and, if you are exercising your pedantry, it's acceptable to Fowler as well. If you must be rude, at least try to be right.

I apologize to Richard for speaking sharply to commenters on his blog. It's not my blog, and none of my business, really. But sheesh, lady.

And "Johnny Mnemonic" is really really really not about logging.
richard said…
Thanks, Fraser - glad I don't have to speculate on whether I'd've been better off to say "has getted underway," or rather "has underway now seriously unbegotten," as the Germans might put it.

And Cathleen, I'm speaking of Theresa Kishkan's gorgeous new book of essays, blending memoir with natural history, entitled Mnemonic: A Book of Trees (watch the YouTube trailer here). It's a joy, I promise you, and feel free to browse around. All welcome.

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