Monday, March 12, 2007

Brilliant Friends, Uninformed Students, a Wee Little Break

Can I just say how lucky I am to know so many fucking totally brilliant people? As I was reading a friend's book (overdue review I'm writing as a favor for her, publication for me, everybody wins, etc.), I was thinking about this, and then I was thinking about the friend's conference paper that I read yesterday, and about the fact that I know all of these people all over the world who are so, so smart. Who gets so lucky to have so many phenomenally interesting and intelligent people in their lives? (And I'm not counting people in the blogosphere - not that you're not all brilliant - I'm only thinking about people I've actually talked to in real life, for the purposes of this little post.) You know, I'd never say this to my students, but really I think that this is the best reason to go to graduate school in English (if there are any good reasons for such an insane decision). It's not that you'll get to spend all of your time reading, writing, and thinking about books independently (which is what people often talk about). It's that you will have access to a bunch of other people who spend all of their time reading, writing, and thinking about books, and you will be so enriched by having those people in your life. And also you'll feel smarter for knowing them and understanding what the fuck they're talking about, which is a side bonus :)

In other news, apparently many of my students have never heard of Flaubert. NEVER HEARD OF HIM. Or they only know his name but have absolutely no sense of why they do. What the fuck are they teaching these kids in school today? Just what? I mean, I don't expect them to have read Flaubert, but these are upper-level students in an English literature class and they've never heard of the guy? They don't know in even the most superficial way the basic plot of Madame Bovary? They don't know why he's CRUCIAL to the development of the novel? Maybe I am meant to stay at this institution because without me THEY NEVER WOULD HAVE HEARD OF FLAUBERT. Might I just mention that I don't teach French, nor do I teach continental literature, nor do I teach 19th century literature?

Ok, I need to get back to my reading. But I just thought that these two items - so stark in their contrast - needed posting. Because again, apparently I blog like a machine when I'm busier than all hell.

Oh, and one last thought: people often ask about the value of blogging. I thought of this this morning after the RBoC post as I was showering: I've always said I'm a person who doesn't "write first" and who doesn't write every day. With the blog, that's just not true. I do write every single day, or most every single day, and often writing is the very first thing I do with my day. No, it's not research-related writing, but it gets my writing mojo working and it keeps it in tip-top shape. And maybe this, too, is why I post more when I'm in the crazy work place, because ultimately the posting is a way to get the juices flowing or to keep them flowing when normally I'd just quit and have a glass of wine (which of course I'm thinking about doing).

Oh, and I know you're all probably wondering where my infatuation got to. (I've had more hits since that little blip on the Crazy radar than I've ever had before. Crazy.) Anyway, it still lurks in the shadows, but the One with Whom I Am Infatuated is working like a maniac as well as "contemplating" the "craziness" of last week - "pun most emphatically intended." This works out very nicely for me, as I feel as if somebody should be thinking about the Infatuation at all times, and I don't really have time for the contemplation what with school back in session. See? It's all about compromise. (I hope he doesn't hate me for posting about this, but I felt like if I remained silent you all would think I was keeping back crucial and interesting details, and then you, my readers, would be disappointed, and we can't have that, can we?)

Love my lovely infatuation. Also love the lovely getting things done, as it makes me feel like a very productive and important person. Now back to work!


jb said...

I absolutely agree with you about knowing smart people being one of the big benefits of grad school. Especially, in my experience, in the later years--not because everyone gets smarter, necessarily (that could be it, too), but because everyone's kind of settled into him/herself and feels that s/he has more of an actual contribution to make. It's a nice thing.

Jessica said...

Knowing smart people is always an added advantage. The intellect is greatly satisfied on interaction with such people.
I am surprised to know the students have not heard of Flaubert. He has always been on of my favorite authors.
Hey! how about dropping into my blog on friendship Wishes for a collection of lovely e-cards and info that exemplify the bond of friendship.

Second Line said...

I'll see your Flaubert and raise you a Yeats. That's right, my freshman students had never heard of, let alone read Yeats. What are they doing in high school indeed!?