Last week, as Americans and others watched testimonies before the Senate Judiciary Committee pertaining to a Supreme Court nomination, millions of people relived their own moments of traumatic assault and discussed why women fear they won’t be believed. And I taught “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” In fact, we were discussing how survivors are treated (and were in the middle ages) at the same moment Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was under oath.
The most glorious myth of academic life is the summer vacation. People who don’t teach sometimes assume the summers are one long, three-month margarita party. That’s never the case, of course, although some may start out that way.
|This year’s haul from Solvang. The Book Loft always has the best new fairy tales.|
A friend asked what he said was a Dante question—what are the seven deadly sins, and was that Kevin Spacey movie right. I started explaining the difference between the Seven Deadlies and the levels of Dante’s Inferno, and it got me thinking about life, the universe, and everything.
I have often observed that Postmodern literature is very medieval. But this is the first year I have had trouble separating my pride in training up some medieval lit lovers and coaching the next generation of postmodern writers.
This weekend ended my sixteenth year at my current position. That’s a lot of graduations, really, but I never get tired of it.
I went to my annual conference last week. I have spent twenty-two long weekends in May in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the biggest annual international medieval conference in North America. Coming from the West coast, I always think it should take me half a day, and the last few years it has taken upwards of 16 hours. This time I pretty much decided I’ve had a good run, but I don’t have time for the chaos of travel.
Knowing what every word means and does;
Looking at connotations in double entendres;
Understanding the context of the work;
Reading with attention to sound and visual rhyme;
Reading for musicality;
Reading for voice/persona;
Knowing your language;
Knowing your lit;
Knowing your history;
Knowing your shit.
I didn’t plan on these two weeks going together, but I like that they do. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so my Facebook memories are full of notes about my favorite teachers from my childhood and my kids’ childhood. Ok, I’ll bite. Last week I was singing praise for students, but of course, it’s all connected.
I was a pretty good student. I liked learning stuff. I wanted to be smart. But I didn’t want to be too smart. I didn’t want to be The Smart Girl. First, I knew they didn’t have many friends, and second, I really didn’t think I was Smart, not with a capital S. I kept high grades, but not straight A’s. (If Mom-Alison knew Kid-Alison, we’d have a talk, by the way, but we didn’t, not for years.)
I’m teaching Dante again.