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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Getting ready for tea with the goddess of wisdom

I just sent another of my no doubt importunate e-mails to Le Guin: I have at least managed a draft of the themes chapter, and as I'm now working through each section in order, I started to look again at the glossary and pronunciation guide. It occurred to me that, when I see Le Guin in July, I don't want our brief meeting to be filled entirely with corrections of the pronunciations, so I'd like for her to have a look at it and maybe respond before we meet. Then, when we meet, I can ask her some of my other questions, and talk to her about more large-scale parts of the project, especially illustrations (androgynous non-Caucasian faces, arctic landscapes and illustrations of terms such as "nunataks" and "sastrugi," maps...).

But we have a specific day and time scheduled for our meeting, good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise: July 11 at 10:00 a.m. Or at least I think that's what we have: she's not gotten back to me with specific confirmation of the exact time, but that weekend, yes.

I also don't yet know if she'll allow me to bring another guest with me: I don't want to impose any more than I'm already imposing. Talk about trying to find a balance: working to be respectful without being obsequious is a challenge. I recognize and appreciate, however, that she's had a lot of years to learn where her boundaries are and how to make them clear, so I rely on her wisdom in terms of setting the parameters for this forthcoming meeting.

And what, I wonder, does one bring as an offering to the goddess when one goes to her house for an intense conversation? (That's her term, by the way, not mine, and reveals her expectation that we won't just be shooting the breeze, chatting about our cats.)

Shifting gears here, it does feel good, I confess, to have at least finished a draft of the themes chapter and to be working on the comb through of the rest. I realize I'm seriously running out of metaphoric daylight here: because I'm doing other things with my life besides working on the sabbatical project, I pretty much have one more day--Friday--before my attention starts getting devoured by my return to campus and those duties. Since I'll be on campus working with Bruce next week, I'll also no doubt spend time in my office, clearing out files, beginning the fall planning.... I've realized that until I know whether I have a shot at also being Bruce's daytime assistant, I won't know how many classes I'll be teaching in the fall. We also haven't gotten official word about reassigned time for fall yet, though I assume I'll get the time to work in Advisement as usual.

In fact, across the board, planning for the fall semester is going to include a lot of "if-then" scenarios, depending on seminar hours, reassigned time, and enrollment (especially in the MDC class--which, at the moment, has zero students signed up; Mystery and Detective has 16--no surprise there). All the unknowns and unknowables simply give me practice in being flexible: prepared for various contingencies but not locked into any specific expectations.

I'm sure there's more I could natter about today, but I've been sitting for a long while (working at the library), and I have to be able to stand erect enough to walk home, which means I probably should try to pry my fanny out of this chair, load up my pack, and trot off like a burro back to the barn. Oof-dah.

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