I spent much of the afternoon at work today, getting ready for the new semester. When I started, my list felt overwhelming, but it pretty much all got done.
In my seminar, we're starting with one theoretical reading (by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.), and then reading the plays fairly quickly, and then reading some more theory, and then revisiting the plays with criticism and early modern stuff (a captivity narrative and such). I'm excited, and also a tad worried. But our students are usually cooperative and helpful, so that's good.
I didn't finish everything, because our departmental scanner seems to be down, and the campus system thing to get a list of students in a class didn't seem to work (you email a specific list address, and then put your class information in the subject line, and voila, moments later you get a text list of students names alphabetically, which you can cut and paste into another document very easily. Except not today.)
Last evening, we had a retirement party for three colleagues, two men and a woman. The men were both long time, full prof types, the woman an adjunct. The men were at the party, the woman wasn't (there was a reason for that, and it wasn't a bad reason). Anyway, we brought food, the chair said a few words, and then a couple men she'd asked to speak spoke, and then another man spoke because he wanted to, and then the two retiring men spoke. So, yeah, all men.
The one who wanted to speak always wants to speak. He just does.
It was okay, and all, but really pointed up the ways that the good old boys are still good old boys, except we don't even call them out on it.
One of the men I truly will miss. He's a fine poet, and we would talk about poetry. There are few of us here who seem to like poetry much.
The other became an administrator just as I joined the department, so I've never really felt like he was part of my department, if that makes sense.
A couple of days ago, I invited my literature colleagues to get together at my house for casual chat and snacks. Five folks came, and we talked for a couple hours, and it was really great. It reminds me how much I like my colleagues, how smart and hard-working they are, how creative as teachers, and how willing to share.
I have a couple more things to do for class on Monday, but I'm at the point where everything looks much more do-able. Thank dog.