Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Breathing space

This semester has been a perfect storm. And while I might blame Facebook for its depradations on the blogging world (and mine in particular), the fact of the matter has been that I quite simply haven't had the time and/or brain power to be a particularly good blogger. Or even a passable one.

I make no promises that this will change much, but I do promise to try. I miss my old blog here, truth be told. As do some people who have told me so in no uncertain terms. So I'll get myself back on something resembling a regular regime: I'm thinking once a week won't break the bank, especially now that I feel like I'm finally on the downslope of the semester.

The hump I had to get over was this past weekend: I was in Montreal for the annual Canadian Association of American Studies (CAAS) conference, an organization I renewed my membership in at last year's conference in Kingston. Unlike last year however, when I was just a participant, I found myself this year in the thick of organizing the conference ... which meant a significant amount of work smoothing out details, increasing (exponentially, it seemed) the closer we got to the actual conference (which incidentally included the writing of my own paper). This conference, I might add, would not likely have happened this year at all without the long-distance work done by a handful of some of my truly amazing colleagues. As it turns out, not mentioning any names, the one person we were relying upon to organize stuff in Montreal turned out to be a little bit of a tool. And when I say "a little bit of a tool," I mean the Platonic form of human-toolness. Normally I wouldn't be so impolitic as to vent such professional grievances in my blog, but this was an extreme case and I kind of hope the individual in questions stumbles across this entry. Not likely, but entertaining to imagine.

The upshot being that there was a lot of frenzied running around and brushfires to be put out by the conference committee, and from wednesday through sunday I think I got a cumulative total of twelve hours sleep -- between the going out with colleagues in the evening, and the insomnia that had me up at 4:30 most mornings.

That being said, the conference went off quite well, and I was privileged to see a significant number of truly amazing papers. I was also pleased to see that a lot of the good presentations were delivered by grad students, including at least one former Western student.

And now I'm back, and staring at a stack of marking that has come to feel like a really bad credit card debt, one for which I'm paying interest on until the end of term. But without the conference looming over my head, I feel as though I can breathe a bit more.


Adam Riggio said...

"Platonic form of human-toolness"? Wow, and I thought I was good at burning bridges. I think I have some pretty good competition here.

I'll give you this much warning – be careful who you burn on the blog, because you never know who'll read it. It was a wicked burn, but seriously, you never know who'll read it and who among those readers will be important to you later on. Karma manifests with a level of intricacy and unpredictability that would even surprise Larry David.

Still, good to have you back on the interweb.

Chris in NF said...

Point taken. And like I said, I wouldn't normally be so impolitic, except that this was pretty egregious, and never mind burning on the interweb -- I was pretty much ready, as were the rest of the organizers, to say this to his face. Except that he buggered off after the first day and we never saw him again.

Also, I'm reasonably certain he wouldn't get this pretty transparent reference to himself. But that might just be me projecting.

Lesley said...

WELCOME BACK!!! I visit on a regular basis and was just trying to figure out how to send the stalking messages that threaten you to regale us with stories of getting people to love English and memories of the ROCK when I come here today and find you have THREE posts! yowza! Can't wait to hear more about your literary criticism course. It sounds cool!