Teaching · Uncategorized

Back to School: Fall 2021

What. A. Year.

And by “year” I mean 17 months that feel like five years. And by “what” I mean quelle castastrophe, che bello, que año de cambios.

How are you? Are you still there? What is left and lost and undone and reshaped of you? I am tired. But just now, quiet and still and hopeful.

I’m teaching on campus again–just one class–so far, just one hour. And one of my husband’s classes was moved online after one day, so I’m very clear how precarious everything is, but one hour is more than I got all last year, and it was glorious—masks and anxiety and all.

It’s Myth as Literature again. And myth reminds me to think broadly, and we start with Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which reminds me to notice how beautiful humanity is and how ubiquitous change is, and I can feel some of my mushy insides congealing into a new butterfly.

So here is a teeny blog for re-emerging, as the academic year begins:

I hope you are finding parts of yourself you didn’t know were there and that you put them to use.

I hope if you’ve been working, you’re staying safe; if you’re rejoining the in-person workforce, I hope you’ve been safe and you begin to feel more confident every day.

I hope where you’ve lost has been healing, and that those holes give you some new perspectives to help you move forward.

I hope you read some things that distract you and challenge you that aren’t news items. And I hope you have the means and space and energy to pursue something new during this transition.

I hope you have let yourself grieve and continue to. And I hope even more that you let yourself rejoice.

And I hope when we get this pandemic under control and start thinking about how we want to live this next phase of our lives, we can agree that a butterfly would beautiful, but a phoenix would be better.

One thought on “Back to School: Fall 2021

  1. Scientists say that a virus is just an instruction set that hijacks cellular machinery to reproduce itself. It’s not even alive. The Navajo, on the other hand, say that the corona virus is a being. DNA is a semiotic system, a language. Humans use words to promulgate ideas, good and bad, that infect others and inspire them to act. Are words alive? Are ideas viral? The corona virus is a long, long sentence in the language of DNA, or in this case RNA. MIT scientists translated it into music. The file is on Soundcloud. You can listen to it via this Reuters article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-music-idUSKBN2222O7. It is actually quite beautiful, though it seems to evolve without going anywhere. What is its intention?

    I think I am with the Navajo.

    Ovid is a good way to think about our experiences for the past year and a half. We were transformed by a power over which we had little control and no possibility of negotiation. As in the Metamorphosis, some of us transformed into beings that were closer to our own unsocialized natures. Others fed on strange ideas and became monstrous to their friends and relations. And some found new strengths and powers in isolation and thought. But pretty much, the gods had their way with us. They always do.


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