Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The run-up to exams and to conference travel continues. Yesterday, I sent copies of my exams to the school's testing services so that, at the appropriate times, students who need separate accommodations can have them. For the rest, I am waiting a bit to print exams; I do want to make sure there is not so much in the way of advance notice of individual, specific questions that students can more or less cheat on the thing. And I suppose that means I need to have one more quiz in each class, just to give the students a last bit of practice on the things I expect from them next week--and that means I have more grading to do. Joy.

Preparation for conference travel is ongoing. Sherwood Cottage happens to have a nice little shuttlepod ready for launch--after it gets a bit of maintenance (it is time for the car to get an oil change). I probably ought to get a haircut, too. But the paper I mean to present at the International Congress on Medieval Studies is written and ready to go; I need to print it, but that will not take long, so I am not at all worried about it. I may need to whip up some kind of proposal for one or two of the professional societies in which I participate, but I do not anticipate that taking too much time or presenting too much trouble.

As I write, Ms. 8 is sitting next to me, sleeping her little baby sleep. That is to say that here eyes are closed and she is not quite screaming, but she is making some entertaining grunting sounds, as if she speaks in dream, and at odd moments, she acts as though startled. I imagine that she will need more direct attention before too long--and I am happy to offer it. If nothing else, my doing so now allows my lovely wife to get a bit of more or less uninterrupted sleep, and I think she needs it. Again, our persistent schedules work out in favor of a division of labor. If this will continue to work is not clear.

As I write also, this place where Sherwood Cottage sits seeks to live up to its description in song. I know that I refer often to the lyric, but I am not aware of many other things that actually discuss this place. I suppose I could invoke Steinbeck; a copy of Grapes of Wrath graces my bookshelves, certainly, but what the Joads endure hardly argues in favor of the place. Still, perhaps I ought to see about broadening my field of reference. It would not do for me to grow too formulaic, although there are certainly uses for formulae in writing. Patterns set up expectations, which can then be employed directly or exploited through deviation. And that greatly helps the writing.

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