Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pencil and paper

It is summer, and I do not want to work. I do not want to write, read, annotate, wade through criticism, and did I mention write? Similarly, I do not want to read about Big Departmental Plans for the Fall, see Back to School posters, or take even one glimpse at IHE or CHE. Instead of Academic Batman, solving problems and being productive, I want to be Bruce Wayne. Repeat 5,000 times, and you have every blog post that I might have posted over the past week.

I want the summer that an acquaintance imagines when she said recently, "Oh, summer school's over? You must be glad to have the rest of the summer off." This is the same person who, when I tried to describe what I do besides show up in a classroom for a few hours a week, said, "Writing about literature? You mean . . . like for a book club?" What can you say to that?

a) "Remember when you took English classes in college and had to write papers based on criticism? You were quoting from the kind of thing I write."
b) "Not exactly."
c) "So, are you going to Hawaii again this year?"

This week I'm forcing myself to go back to pencil and paper for notes, summaries, and so on. I'm always grateful when I rediscover articles that I've annotated in this way ("I read this? Really? I thought THIS about it? Really?") and thought that engineering this kind of close attention might make me weep with gratitude when I can finally get back to the much faster computer keyboard.

Two observations:

1. Writing with a pencil is a misnomer; instead, you have to have a whole cupful of sharpened pencils, since they go dull really fast.
2. Writing in pencil makes me feel like John Steinbeck.


Sisyphus said...

Rosasharn, izzat you?


Musey_Me said...

I like pencils and paper. It's often more fun to do stuff if I can use them. Silly, huh?

undine said...

sisyphus (channeling Uncle John): It's my sin that's to blame.

Musey_me--not silly at all. I'm starting to think it's not possible to start a project unless you can get some fun out of the writing media--either going from computers to pencils or pencils to pens, or something like that.