Monday, April 20, 2015

The April Time of Year

There's this activity, a poetry related activity, that someone organizes every year.  I've participated in the past, more than once, even.  But I have to confess that I don't find the activity much fun, and it's hours long, which multiplies the unfunness.  (And the way it's organized, if you're participating, you pretty much have to plan on being there from the beginning, and likely staying most/all of the way through.)

My participations in the past have been popular, so popular that the organizers asked me specially to participate again.  (I already had an obligation, however, so I declined.  To be honest, I was relieved to have that other obligation.)

The activity was mentioned recently in a department meeting, and a number of people raved about the wonderfulness of the activity.  (I appeared as interested as I could, but kept my mouth shut.)

The thing is, these people don't participate in the activity.  Nor do they go (and as non-participants, they could go for a little while and leave, or go late, etc.)

The thing that made my participation popular, pretty much anyone could do something similar, but it takes preparation, and a willingness to laugh at yourself and your stuff.

I don't know: does everyone absolutely love this activity, but doesn't participate or go?  Or do they feel as I do, but are way better at making politic noises than I am?

My additional irritation with this activity is that the organizer (who puts in a fair bit of effort, I'm sure) writes this up on their review materials as if it's the second coming of Shakespeare or something.  But as a participant, I get no credit.  It's nothing for me, but my work counts as someone else's success.  And the organizer is someone who doesn't bother to do anything that isn't totally about themselves and their self-interest.  And at the same time, the organizer is someone who makes hugely sympathetic noises.  Now, if this organizer were someone who contributes to other folks' work, then I probably wouldn't resent this activity.  I might even be willing to participate just to be supportive.  (I've been known to do that, and in fact my other obligation is partly that.)

In looking for my post linked above, I went through a bunch of Aprils on the blog, and I realized that I complain a lot in April.  It's a hard time of year, of course, the end of the academic year, with lots of projects and lots of programming to go to, spring teasing us while we get a bit more snow or cold weather, and so on.


  1. Smart to have an excuse so you weren't roped in this year. Given that format, I'd avoid it, however fun the actual participation might be. I'm not in anything for a super-long haul.

    I hear you about April and complaints. Ugh. Grading is kicking my butt as usual!

  2. There are too many people who are all about themselves...