Friday, May 19, 2006

Step into my office ... that would be the second booth on the left in the Grad Club ...

Well, I've been in London a week now, and it is rather nice to be back. It has been strange being here after almost a year away -- it feels on one hand like I never left, and on another like years and years have past. I think one (rather wonky) part of my subconscious half expected to find the place deserted and overgrown with trees and brush like some Rip Van Winkle post-apocalyptic nightmare. But no ... just the same as I left it, ivy-covered faux-medieval architecture and all.

I should probably offer two apologies: first to friends here in London I have not yet contacted, and people back in St. John's I really owe an email or two to. To the first group: coming soon! I've spent the last week getting settled, and getting into something resembling a routine. I think an evening of beer and Rick McGhie at the grad club is necessary, but I also want to see people on individual bases ...

That being said, it is perhaps unsurprising just how many people I've seen just sitting at the Grad Club. Sooner or later, everyone comes through ...

Because yes, in the absence of something resembling office space, I have more or less ensconced myself in one of the GC booths, where I spend mornings and most afternoons reading and making notes ... reading and making notes ... interspersed by visits to the library and a lunchtime workout. Not a bad gig, really ... I saw my former student Sarah on Tuesday while working away, and then again this morning while in more or less the exact same place and attitude, prompting her to ask whether I had actually moved in all that time. I should probably pay the GC rent or something.

I'm liking this whole research term sans teaching thing. It's lovely to be able to devote my whole attention to a single (well, three) projects ... I feel studious again for the first time in a while.

And what projects am I devoting my time to, you ask? (Actually, I'm fairly sure you didn't ask, and I'm fairly certain you don't care, but hey -- who's blog is this, anyway?) Three big ones, and a few odds and sods ... first off is my next major research project, for which I have to submit a fairly hefty grant proposal in September. And I thought the SSHRC doctoral fellowship application was intense! This one, wow. Danine was kind enough to give me a copy of hers from this last year, and it was only as I was flipping through that MASSIVE sheaf of papers that I fully appreciated the task.

So that's number one. I'm also developing a web-based course on modern American poetry, which I've been having fun with. And I have to return to my thesis, and get serious about getting into book form in order to shop it around to publishers ... a process that I look toward with about as much anticipation as I would a root canal, but it must be done.

Occupying my attention this week and next however is one of those typical academic corners we like to paint ourselves into, the writing of a conference paper based on an proposal written months ago. It never fails -- we see a conference we'd like to or feel obliged to attend, whip up a 500-word abstract, get accepted as a presenter, and then forget all about it until a few weeks (or days) before the actual conference ... at which point we're looking at what we proposed and slowly realizing that this subject might not actually be workable.

Ack. Well, I can happily say my paper isn't in a situation quite so dire, but it's still experiencing some rather nasty birth pains. Fortunately, it's a fun topic ... I'm doing a paper at the Congress of the Humanities under the auspices of the Film Studies Association of Canada (FSAC) on that lovely 1960 film The Apartment, directed by the inimitable Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Some Like it Hot) and starring Jack Lemmon and a disturbingly gorgeous young Shirley Maclaine. I won't bore you with the details, other than to say if you've never seen this film, rent it! And then rent Double Indemnity. Seriously. Good for the soul.

So anyway, I hope everyone has a great May TwoFour ... K and I will be keeping a low profile and relaxing at home with good food and good wine. The weather -- she don't look so good for the weekend. So cocooning seems in order. We will of course be thinking of The Laura, who for reasons passing understanding agreed to go camping with some people from work. When the weather reports looked not happy, she decided to back out, but Oh! Got guilted into it. Alas. So we'll be drinking our coffee tomorrow morning and looking out at the rain and thinking of Laura's sodden sleeping bag with something approaching smirks on our faces.

2 comments:

Lesley said...

The weather not looking good is an understatement. I spent most of it huddled in a ball trying to stay warm. And they say this summer is supposed to be the hottest...sigh....

airfair crew said...

After gusts of up to 70 km (yikes!)on Lake Ontario and tempertaures down around 8 degrees.....abandonned ship on Sunday for dinner with Fangley Fish et al and then a fire in our fireplsce, a glass of wine,a DVD and then a warm bed. Did we actually just experience May or was that a November weekend????