Because I turned in my dissertation shortly before classes started, I didn’t have much time to prepare. So this weekend I’ve been doing what I usually do before the semester starts, the initial planning and preparing. I’m slowly getting caught up. I’m still very tired, but hoping to recover in the next few weeks.
Today I planned for Monday, re-reading “The Great God Pan” (which is the story we’ll be starting with). And I read through the first writing assignment, in which I heard my students’ voices for the first time. Each semester I realized why I do this – because I genuinely love teaching, love the transformation that college students go through, particularly in the first year when they begin to discover themselves. Who they are, what they want, apart from what they’ve been told all their lives. (By their voices, I meant of course their writing voices – I’ve already heard their actual voices, since I always get them talking on the first day, so that the class is a genuine discussion throughout the semester.)
I’ve never once regretted leaving $100,000 a year and wearing suits and drafting contracts to do this. There’s such satisfaction in doing what you love and know you’re good at. What you’re meant to do. I’m still a writer first, but who I am as a writer is woven into who I am as a teacher, and my teaching helps me understand my writing. I think of myself as one of the fortunate ones of the earth in part because I have the ability to do what I love, all the things I love, and integrate them into a whole. It’s required sacrifices along the way, but doesn’t anything worthwhile?
I still have quite a lot of work to do tonight, so I’m going to post two videos that you might like, by The Band Perry. I like the first one because of the Lady of Shalott imagery, of course. But there’s also a sort of brightness and freshness to the music, an originality to it that I like a lot. It sounds individual, not manufactured. It has a quality to it that I’d like to capture in my writing.
The second video is more recent, but again I like the images, the aesthetic. (All right, the clothes. I like the clothes.) And it’s intensely romantic, and of course that’s good, right? “I don’t want the whole world, the sun, the moon and all their light . . .” And all that.
Oh, and I want to walk around in a field like that, with tall grass and a stream running through it, in a gypsy skirt. (Which brings us back to the clothes, doesn’t it? As always.) With a man in a top hat who can pull a flower out of my hair . . .