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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hard to say goodbye...

My conversation partner did show up today, but he wanted to have another of our usual non-conversation conversations (in which he simply comes up with unconnected topics and then has nothing to say about them: he can do lists; he can't do connections)--and since I wasn't "officially" in my office, I talked to him for a few minutes but then had to chase him out. He told me he passed his test but didn't pass the class (which I don't quite understand, but OK), so I told him that--if he decides to do the conversation partner thing again in the spring--he'll get to know someone new. I really don't know how much of it computed, but I was touched that he wanted to see me one more time.

Saying goodbye to the Fiction Writing students was much harder--and I think they'll miss each other (and me) too. A couple of them said they actually were disappointed that this would be the last English class they'd take, as whatever their majors are didn't have room for anything more. Most of them also agreed that they are more invested in what they read now, and get more out of what they're reading as they're more aware of what's gone into a piece of writing (or what hasn't). They really were a great group to work with, and I do feel they all learned quite a bit from the class.

They had some good ideas, too, if I were ever to teach the course again. Blog readers will know that it is extremely unlikely I will, after the upset in the Creative Writing Committee meeting. As I think I've said, before I'd teach it again, every other qualified professor would have to pass on it--and I'd want the Creative Writing Project coordinator to give me personal sanction to teach it, too. Even then, I'd feel uncomfortable about it. I don't know that my experience as a writer in a few workshops and my two semesters teaching the course really "qualify" me, particularly in light of the credentials possessed by my colleagues.

But that's nothing I need think about now. I certainly won't be teaching it next fall: I'll be teaching an MDC (Multidisciplinary) course for the first time (thank you, William!) and if I also can find a literature elective that works and isn't snagged by someone with higher seniority, that will be fantabulous. The problem is that two of the electives that I feel most qualified to teach meet when P&B is scheduled--and I'm assuming I'll be re-elected to P&B. In the past, when something I love has conflicted with P&B, Bruce has just bumped P&B to the next time slot--but that's when my MDC class is scheduled. Of course, if I'm not re-elected, no problem (though my ego would be wounded).

And again, I don't need to think about that yet. That's all in the future: ain't nothing I can do about it now.

Speaking more directly about today, my hope to get any work done in Advisement was stymied by the fact that apparently all those "We're closing the center and relocating to advise new students" days are over: today was a regular day, with a constant stream of students through my cubicle. I still don't know what things will look like on Monday, since a lot of students have already decided they're not going to be anywhere near campus that day--but I can't count on having the time to work on grading. Tomorrow morning, I'll work with Bruce on the spring scheduling; then there's the final department "meeting" (which is our holiday party), and then my final meetings with the 101 students. I may have time to grade papers in there somewhere--especially as I'm unlikely to be at the party for very long. (I pretty much hate parties as a general rule, and it will be far too early for my lunch, as I have a late start to my days: I'll likely talk to a few people, fill a plate with anything gluten-free that looks interesting enough to eat, and retreat to my office.)

Still, to ensure that I don't end up in a bind on Monday, I expect I'm going to have to come to campus on Friday to finish grading, crunch the numbers, and fill in the paperwork. Then all I'll have to do on Monday will be fulfill my hours in Advisement, enter the grades in the online platform (the infamous and much hated Banner), hand over my paperwork to the office staff--and race home to grab my suitcase and jump in a car service to the airport.

I find it exceedingly bizarre that I've reached this point, and that what I've just described is all that remains. I feel both breathless with rush and as if I tried to take a step that wasn't there: wait, you mean that's it? That's all? I'm that close to done? I am leaving various threads dangling in terms of committee work, but either someone else will take over the weaving while I'm working on my project or the thread will still be there, waiting for me to pick it back up again (and try to remember what I was doing with it) in the fall. Weird. But this is the miracle that always occurs, and that perpetually surprises me: the semester ends. I either get the work done or realize it doesn't need to be done. And I stand around, pole-axed, for a while before I collapse and begin to do my sea-cucumber impersonation (wash with the tide, inert, maintaining bodily functions and doing nothing else whatsoever). I won't quite be able to do the sea-cucumber thing while I'm out of town, but once I'm back? You betcha.

For now, however--as I again remind myself to be here, now, instead of projecting into the future--I am tired, and hungry, and don't feel like doing anything else that even faintly resembles work. So I ... am ... outta here.

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