Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Something about Dancing

So. I think I may have taken on more than I thought I had this semester. I am teaching three classes (Public Speaking, Persuasion, Sophistic Rhetoric-which is an independent study), and sort of sitting in on a fourth one (Feminist Rhetoric). The first two are regular classes I have taught before, so they're not anymore work than they normally would be. Persuasion is a little bit heavy on the writing and feedback, but it's nothing compared to what some of my peeps in Composition do, so you'll hear no complaints from me.

The fourth one is a small seminar, taught by a colleague, heavy on reading (especially since I am, like, the opposite of informed on several of the theorists and theories we'll be reading). It's great fun--especially hearing the comments and questions from the sharp students in there. But, again, sort of outside of the grain demanding.

Finally, the third one, the independent study, is a whole nother kind of adventure... for two reasons.

1_That guy does not miss a THING. Like, one professor/one student is hard-core, people. And one student who is, like, on the game? With questions? And sometimes calls me out for talking like a hipster? Hard Core. [Sidenote--I do not think that I can be a hipster. I am too old. I think there is an age range for hipsters, and 33-a-month-and-a-half-away-from-34 is not in it. But I am sure the student will disagree.]

2_I don't know about you, but I became adept, in grad school, at what I like to call "Judicious Skimming." I attended to the things I read in an order ranging from Hey! That Is Awesome I Will Read All About That to Um, This Is Something Dr. Knows-Some-Stuff Really Digs, So I Will Check for the Parts that Say "In Sum" and "My main propositions, therefore, are..." That careful appropriation of time and attention which worked so well in school is not going to cut it when there's just you and one Very Clever Student staring at you.

That said: I read a lot--because I like it and because it's part of the job. During the day, it's work things, and at night, I try to read things that are not as clearly related to work. Right now, it's "Dance Dance Dance" by Haruki Marukami. The Universe often demonstrates that these practical divisions I attempt to make -- day-work, night-leisure; theory-work, stories-leisure; practice-work, contemplation-leisure -- are neither hard nor fast. They are movable objects, and to do this game well, I gotta be good at movin em. With that in mind, here's some sage advice from Marukami's Sheep Man.

"Dance," said the Sheep Man. "Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougottadance. Don'teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, yourfeetstop. Yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you'restuck. Sodon't paynomind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyouboltdown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou'retired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone, okay? Justdon'tletyourfeetstop."

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