Friday, August 24, 2012

it begins

I have only 67 more class sessions this semester.

It's taking a little while to gear up for this term. My usual level of enthusiasm for teaching at the beginning of a year is around a 12 on a scale of 2.7 to 14. This year, on a scale of π to 136, I'm only around 72.1-ish.

But, let me look back on the summer, and see how many of my goals I accomplished. I had some plans for reading and writing philosophy. A panel I submitted on the experience of orientation and disorientation was accepted by a conference coming up this fall, and I wanted to pursue those, and the concept of normal, as regular readers of this feature will perhaps recall. To that end, I intended to read Experience and Judgment, From Affectivity to Subjectivity, Refiguring the Ordinary, Assuming a Body.  Check.

I did not intend to read The Normal and the Pathological, but I did. I certainly did not intend to go back yet again into Phenomenology of Perception, but I did a lot of that, too. Four chapters worth, actually. I did not intend to read The Problem of Embodiment, but I did that, too.

I intended to read Getting Back into Place, and I read a lot of it, but got to a point that I felt like it was doing what Hegel called presenting clever remarks. Sorry, Ed. Maybe I just don't get it.

I wanted to look up stuff on the affective experience and worldhood of those who lose their memories, or a particular sense, or who otherwise undergo fairly radical alterations of "normal" orientation to the world.

I didn't think I'd be spending quite so much time revising an article. That's okay. The suckers printed it!

Unrelated to any of that, I wanted to read some of The Transgender Studies Reader, and some of The Prison Notebooks. Not as much as I'd hoped. Gramsci's kinda bitchy.

One of my worst emotional habits is comparing myself to other people, using an external criterion of my progress, and worse, my worth. Looking back at what I've done academically this summer, I think, "Um, is that good?" I don't know. I am fairly chuffed that article got published. I hope I scandalize people.

Possibly my greatest accomplishment this summer was reading all of Don Quixote. This is the kind of book, especially at this late date, that you could make a tidy academic career out of -- there are so many allusions to Cervantes' contemporary world to track down and decipher, so much to do to relate it to our own world, and it's so long that there can't be more than a few dozen people who've read the whole thing. It's perfect fodder for literature folks.

I wanted us to play a gig. We did that. I think we should have played more, but we didn't, mainly because of mental health. It went pretty good, though, and I hope we can do more in the future.

I wanted to write several songs. I ended up writing several tunes, and several very, very bad attempts at songs, that I have wisely destroyed. So much for my goal of recording a new CD. It's been two years now since Do Paper Cats Dream of Origami Birds?

Again, I dunno, is that good?

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