Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Work continues, as ever it must. Although freelance work seems to have dried up for the time being--I have gotten no new write-up orders, and my tutee, citing ongoing research dilemmas, has suspended lessons indefinitely--I remain occupied with a great many things. I continue to develop materials for my classes, which are approaching their final exercises; there are only a few things left to ask the students to do. Additionally, I have a fair bit of grading coming in today; three of my four classes have an update to an older assignment due, while the fourth has a review version of an upcoming assignment due. The latter will be assessed before the former, as it is more urgent. And there is a larger assignment coming in on Friday. As such, I will be quite busy over the next few days; it is likely to my benefit in the short term that I have not got freelance work waiting for me to do at the moment. I will still miss the money, however.

As work continues, so does my ongoing battle against nostalgia. I find myself looking back on things and inserting iterations of l'espirit d'escalier into my memory, making myself seem better in recollection than I was in real life. It is a dangerous thing, partly because any emendation to the recollection of events moves (further) away from the truth (and I write "further" because what we remember is not the same thing as what actually happened, given the limits of our perceptive and mnemonic abilities as well as the biases that inform and proceed from both), and partly because the (inadvertent?) misrepresentation, I come to prize more highly--and inaccurately--things that were not of use at the time. (This is not the same as realizing later that something annoying was actually helpful. The problem is that I think it happy when it was not, which is wholly separate from whether or not it was good for me.) It does much to make me long for a time that never was, and while I indulge readily in escapism, I do not think it helps me to escape to imagine what was a prison as something other than one; retreating to an earlier cell is still retreating to a cell, rather than being freedom or release.

That I am stretching a metaphor, I know. I often do. Sometimes, as I have noted, I do so to amuse myself. Sometimes, I do it to force a different kind of consideration than I might otherwise permit. The latter is more the case than the former above. I do well to recall the past, that I might learn therefrom; as a medievalist even yet, I have much to do with what has gone before. But there is a difference between learning from the past and returning to it. My personal past is not the kind of thing I want to have happen again; I am in some senses lucky to have gotten out of it as well as I did. The work to keep myself out of it, no less than the work that pays the bills, continues.

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