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Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I'm bringing the productive part of the day to a halt a bit early so I can allow myself some time for social activities. I was doing the "sit for 45 minutes, walk for 5" thing--even though it started to feel pretty ridiculous to circle around my rather small apartment over and over--but then the timer went off when I was right in the middle of something, and I thought, "I'll just turn that off, finish what I'm working on, then do my 'walkabout'" (a term my mother uses for pacing around her house), and to absolutely no one's surprise, I then just kept working and rather forgot about the need to get up and move.

Oops. Well, I'm about to take a real walk--you know, like, outdoors--so I'll forgive the lapse. But I do have to keep an eye on that sort of thing.

Still, I whacked through more of the critical stuff today. I'm still resisting the impulse to go back over what I've already done to see if I can edit it down. I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going on too long in some of the annotations, and that--contrary to my pedagogical aims--I may be providing too much for the students instead of encouraging them to dig through the sources themselves. But if I start second-guessing myself now, I'll derail, I suspect. So I'm simply going to keep on keeping on and go at it later with the weed whacker.

One interesting moment today: I glanced at one of the books I have in my own personal library today, and something about it produced an enormous anxiety wave. As far as I could determine, the anxiety was that other people have already done what I'm trying to do and have done it better. Intellectually, I suspect that when I read the bit that triggered the anxiety, I'll discover that it does precisely what I don't want to do: it hands too much to readers and doesn't encourage them to do much on their own.

That's a very fine line to walk, I must say: the line between supportive encouragement and "enabling." My experience in the classroom would suggest that I'm so concerned about the enabling bit that I don't do enough of the supportive encouragement. The nice thing about a written project is that I can keep working on it until it gets closer to striking the balance--or so I hope.

Little else to report today. I'm not sure what I'll work on tomorrow. I may continue to crunch through the critical material, or I may take a real vacation from it and work on the chapter on socio-historical context, or I may tinker around a little more with the chapter on what I'm now calling the "Hainish matrix" instead of the "Hainish universe"--largely because I got a charming reply from Ursula in answer to my question, so not only do I feel I can proceed on that, but I now know better what to say. As always, her reply brought up issues I hadn't even thought of--but for once I can include those issues in what I'm doing instead of wishing madly I could when it's too late. In any event, I don't want to embark on anything that requires me to reread the novel just yet: I want to save that part for last.

Now, however, I am getting myself into my snow gear and heading out into another round of falling flakes, multitasking by having a phone date with a friend while I walk. If only I could read or write and walk at teh same time: taking care of my body and my book would be infinitely easier.

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