Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gone, But Not Forgotten

No, I have not forgotten that I have a blog. Really, I haven’t.

I honestly don’t know where the last month went. I remember being on break. That, I remember.

Everything since then, however, has been a bit of a blur.

There’s been a lot of writing. Not on the blog (obviously), but in articles and course proposals.

There’s been a fair amount of reading. I’ve created a new course on the representation of gender and disability in literature, so I’ve been doing a lot of research related to that. I’ve also been doing a bit of reading involving postcolonial literature—specifically, works by writers from India and Africa.

I haven’t stuck to the “deep work” rituals quite as diligently as I would have liked, but I will say, I have stuck to them, and I think that’s enabled me to stay on task with the projects that are important to me, and to remain mindful of the drawbacks of “shallow work.”

That said, I also have to acknowledge that sometimes, “shallow work” is necessary. There are always meetings to attend and conversations that need to be had if academic projects are going to move forward. While I often wish that they didn’t take up as much time as they did, there is a way in which these kinds of meetings and conversations make me feel productive and useful. So to that extent, I think they differ from the straight-up shallow work of things like pointless email exchanges that are obviously going nowhere.

And I’m proud of myself because, in contrast to years past, I’ve really (really!) scaled back on those. Email and social media are wonderful things—at times. But they are also enormous drains on time and energy and attention and, in the wrong hands, they become serious (and occasionally stressful) distractions.

So instead of resorting to technology, I’ve focused on hooking. Crocheting, that is. (Whatever did you think I meant?) I’ve been able to make several blankets for one of my favorite charities, Project Linus, and I had the really gratifying experience of seeing one of them in the hands of a deserving child. It made my day, my week, and my month.

Maybe even my year.

It was actually a really fun pattern: a Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket by Celeste Young. It forms a 12-pointed star and really looks quite cheerful and wonderful. It’s crocheted from the center outward, so it shapes up really quickly at first, and then slows down significantly, as the rounds get bigger and bigger. But the nice thing is, you can see it take shape, and that’s often a key factor in staying motivated. Especially when it looks like so:

See what I’m saying? I’m currently working on yet another one, that has less of “rainbow” feel to it (it’s blue, green, yellow, purple). It’s really just quite wonderful to make.

I also took a little break and made a little getaway for the weekend of Easter, which meant that I had a busy week last week.

But then again, I’m not going anywhere this weekend, and I’m still looking at a busy week next week so… this too was worth it. Because it resulted in food, fun, friends, and… this.

Long story short, it’s been a good month. And I’m hoping that, from now on, I’ll have a bit more time to drop by the blog and make a note of it.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."