Although I’ve been avoiding it all day, I finally got around to packing for a work retreat — a seminar on teaching — that I have to go this week. I’ll be gone from Monday through Thursday. Believe me, I’d much rather stay home and read and sleep, and it makes me feel worse that this is a retreat I don’t actually have to go on. A colleague talked me into going two years ago, last year they put me on staff, and this year I agreed to be a staff member again. So yes, not only do I have to go to this thing, but I have to be enthusiastic about it.
The truth is, once I’m there I’ll be fine, but at the moment I’m not into it.
Although I won’t have much time for reading, I will bring some books along anyway. I’m taking Anne Fadiman’s excellent essay collection At Large and At Small, which I’m already over half way through. It’s an excellent little book — about all kinds of random things, but it doesn’t matter what she writes about, because she makes everything so fascinating. Her literary essays have made me want to read more Charles Lamb and to start reading Richard Holmes’s biography of Coleridge, which I have on my shelves.
I’ll also take Somerset Maugham’s novel The Razor’s Edge, which I’ve almost finished but won’t quite get to the end of before I leave. I’ve found this a very strange book, and I’m not particularly liking it, although it’s given me a lot to think about. Has anybody else out there read it? It’s just … odd. More on that later.
I’ll also be taking the next Slaves of Golconda book, Patrick Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude. We’ll see if I get a chance to crack it open.
I’m also taking my bike, which may provide a much-needed escape for an hour or so now and then, although I’m guessing other people attending will also be bringing their bikes, so it may not be an escape at all. If necessary, though, I can probably tell everybody I need to train hard for my next race and then proceed to leave them far behind. That would be kind of fun.
Okay — see you at the end of the week!