I've just finished a load of laundry and, like many of my fellow-Americans, I'm waiting for Armageddon, so I figured it was high time I caught up on my blog.
I'm just joking (sort of). After all, where would we be if we all lost our sense of humor?
It's been a busy and productive two weeks. I did major revisions on an article on Shalamov, and now I'm in the process of doing major revisions on an article on Zola, and when I'm done with all that, I'll need to finish up an article on John Hersey.
I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get all of this done by Sunday night, needless to say, since I'm also going to be doing things like getting a haircut, packing, and traveling. Oh, and I'll be going to a little rally tomorrow as well, because I figure if I can do a little something that'll piss off Kellyanne Conway, I'll definitely be taking the time to do it.
Like many, I've felt discouraged by the direction we've headed in--and when I say that, I mean not simply the political direction, which in many ways looks to no longer align with some of my own ideals in the upcoming years, but simply the direction of ... mockery and incivility and, well, downright mean-spirited rudeness.
I don't think that's a sign of "thought" or "progress" or "greatness," regardless of people's specific, individual social, political, economic, or religious beliefs. So I hope that we can stop some of that. Actually, I hope that we can stop ALL of that, but I'll settle for "some."
But I'm not optimistic, because we've elected a person to lead us who, in my opinion, thinks being rude makes him look "cool" somehow. And that it's sorta funny, you know, being a little mean and a little crude and a little obnoxious.
So as I gear up for the upcoming semester and move into the full swing of 2017, I decided that this is what I'd like to focus on for myself: to make a commitment to deliberately and insistently opt for kindness whenever and however possible.
Don't get me wrong, I reserve the right to indulge in a bit of snark here and there--I don't think I could survive without it, quite frankly.
Because I'm not a snowflake: I'm not delicate and I don't melt.
And I'm glad that every single class that I'm teaching focuses on literature of other nations and/or literature by populations that have experienced prejudice or oppression in the US. It's important that we hear those voices, and realize that the "greatness" of the past always came with a price for someone.
We don't want to lose what we've learned from the lessons of the past. We just don't.
And I'm glad that I teach skills like critical thinking and that I encourage people to expand their vocabulary and their viewpoint and their perspectives on the world. And that I get to do all of that while also enjoying myself--that the work I do nourishes my own mind and heart and spirit, while it (hopefully) does the same for others.
So here's to the future. We got this.