Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I am not hung over.  I did sleep in a bit, but that was as much because I am not at work this week (although I am working) as for any other reason. And I had to feed the baby.

I first subscribed to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in the autumn of 1999. The magazine still published eleven issues a year, then, and I read them voraciously through the end of my high school career (I graduated in 2000*) and throughout my undergraduate studies (all five years of them). Once I reached graduate school, however, I slowed a bit--not because I read less, but because I had to read so much more of other things. I had to fill my mind with Beowulf and Chaucer and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Malory, with Shakespeare and Shakespeare and Shakespeare, with Milton and Donne and Addison and Steele, with Bradstreet and Wheatley and Emerson and Thoreau and Twain. I had not the time for the still-pulp pages of pop culture products (although I did still get to read much of what I wanted to read, as my research history suggests).

In The City, the frenetic pace of life and of teaching my teaching load and working on my dissertation continued to crowd out my poring over the pages of the magazines. (Matters were not eased by the lack of space to keep them on the shelves.) While I did have time to read most days, that time was taken up by reading the scholarly journals with which I stayed abreast of the best practices in my field or, less frequently, local newspapers so that I could have some small idea of what was going on in the world around me. (Being much in the lower levels of the ivory tower, I do not get to see much. I imagine that those in the upper levels do not often look, some for being engrossed in their work on The Work, others for fear.) Seldom was my reading the kind of reading done for pleasure; while I enjoy the work I do, there is a difference between reading scholarship and reading for fun, just as there is a difference between working on construction sites and building small models.

It is only recently at Sherwood Cottage that I have actually been reading issues of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as they have reached me. (I still have not gotten into the backlog.) I have been greatly eased by doing so, and not only because it "takes me back" (a phrasing implying a nostalgia I know I should not feel). The writing is good, the stories entertaining, the characters engaging, and the part of me that works on The Work wants to work with some of the series of stories that pop up in issues across the nearly fifteen years I have been reading the thing. Each bespeaks the reading as a thing worth doing, and there is some comfort in knowing that what is done is worth the doing. This is particularly true for those of us who work in the academic humanities, so often told that our efforts are of no account that parts of our own minds speak against us.

*It is, to my knowledge, the only year that graduation at my high school was rained out. There is a metaphor in there somewhere, I am certain.

No comments:

Post a Comment