Oh Lord this semester is going to be a long one. I’m not going to whine in this post, don’t worry, but I do wonder what it means that I’m already counting how many classes I have left to teach this semester. I usually begin counting, oh, around two-thirds of the way through, when the end is in sight. But this time I began counting from the very beginning. That’s not good.
But I’m enjoying sitting in on my Intro to the Arts class — the one I’m observing now to teach later. The first day the professor made us draw! Now this frightened me a bit, as I have no skills whatsoever in drawing. But even though I’m not a student and am only observing, the professor handed me a sheet of paper, and I thought I couldn’t exactly refuse to do it, and I wouldn’t want to refuse to do it, anyway, as that would look silly. The assignment was to draw our lives in three panels. It’s an interesting assignment for the first day, and I’ll probably make my students do it when I teach the class. So I drew a sorry-looking book, a heavy, awkward-looking bicycle wheel (couldn’t manage an entire bike), and a third-grade-level picture of the woods to sum up my life. We were supposed to exchange pictures with other students and then the professor asked for people to share theirs for the class to analyze and interpret, and, of course, mine got chosen, so the whole class could see my sorry art work. So — I’m learning a lot in this class, including what it’s like to be a student feeling a bit out of her depth.
As for reading, these days I’m in the middle of Virginia Woolf’s novel Night and Day and am enjoying it thoroughly; it’s her second novel, and one of her more conventional ones. It’s got four main characters, two young men and two young women, and it explores their complicated relationships with each other. I’m enjoying her close attention to emotions and moods and psychological states, as well as her depiction of gender dynamics. One of the characters is involved in the women’s suffrage movement, so it’s an obvious theme, but Woolf also shows how the power dynamics play out in conversation among men and women in a way I find fascinating. I’ll say more about the book later.
And two new books have come into my possession lately, both of which I’m excited about. A friend gave me a copy of George Saunders’s book of essays The Braindead Megaphone; I’ve enjoyed Saunders’s short stories and am curious to see what he’ll do with the essay form. And then Emily sent me a copy of G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, which I won in her recent blog contest. I’m looking forward to reading both of these.