It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since my last post, but I suppose time flies when you’re swamped. It started last weekend, when I spent pretty much the entire weekend, plus all day Monday, as part of a team interviewing prospective students for next year. There were 122 students in total, I think. At any rate, it was three very long days of interviews.
When that was over, I had to write a paper that I will be presenting at a meeting of the Korean Association for Semiotic Studies. It’s the one hundred year anniversary of the birth of Claude Lévi-Strauss (he’ll be one hundred years old on the 28th), and this session of the KASS is devoted to his work. I’m presenting a paper on his structural study of myth, namely his study of the trickster figure. There are a number of problems with his early takes on the trickster, in particular his study of Coyote and Raven, but I think there is also an important kernel of truth in there and it can be easy to forget that Lévi-Strauss arrived at the idea before Radin published The Trickster (Lévi-Strauss’s paper was published in 1955, and Radin’s book was published in 1956). At any rate, I won’t get into the gory details, but suffice it to say that juggling that with my teaching responsibilities made for a very hectic week.
Things are a little better now, although I still have a lot that needs to get done before the end of the year. I have a lot that needs to get done next year as well, of course, but I’m trying not to think quite that far ahead, lest I lose what few shreds of sanity remain to me. In fact, I’m not even going to bother mentioning what still remains for me to do this year, because it will just bore you and stress me. There’s a lot bouncing around in my head with regard to things I’d like to do here at Liminality, but I’m not going to talk about them either—when they happen, they’ll happen. I will say that my proposed entry on prayer got put on hold when Hell unleashed its fury on me last week, but I plan on getting back to that and putting things in order. It’s going to be a bit longer than I had originally anticipated (I’m currently at about 2,000 words, and I only now feel as if I’m getting to the meat of things), but it’s good to write lengthy journal entries every now and then.
I suppose I’m just going to have to get used to life being hectic for the time being. While it is true that life still cycles in intensity, these cycles seem to reach their peaks at “insanely busy” and bottom out at “still pretty busy.” If nothing else, it puts things into perspective. But I really need to learn to deal with these ups and downs and get myself into an efficient rhythm. As part of that, I bought a book the other day, called “The Nothing Book.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s basically a small book of blank pages, 200 of them. I bought it because I intend to use it as a planner, and I didn’t want a ruled notebook. Now that I have it, though, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it.
I shied away from the traditional day planner because my days are not really traditional. All my work is done at home, except for the times where I walk the five minutes to my building to teach. I do have schedules and appointments to keep, but most of that stuff either gets written down on scraps of paper or stuck in my head. Part of me thinks that I should take such bits of information out of my head and commit them to paper in order to free up processing power for more important tasks—but then the other part of me knows that different parts of my brain handle these tasks. Besides, I have a very good memory, and I don’t feel taxed at all having to remember random bits of information. The reason I write things down on scraps of paper is because I usually don’t need the information for long—I only write it down to help organize or structure it, and once that particular task is finished, I toss the scraps of paper.
Occasionally there are things that I like to keep around—like bread recipes, for example—but then I just make a file on my computer or keep things in a separate notebook. This “Nothing Book,” though, is ostensibly a replacement for all those scraps of paper I keep lying around (and then throw away). I’ve had it for two days now, and it is still pristine. Hyunjin has, in fact, been bugging me to start writing in it. But I don’t know where to start, and now I realize why people buy day planners with all those different spaces all neatly partitioned and labeled. Having some existing structure makes it a lot easier to start writing.
Hmm. I would say that this little note here has gone off course, but I don’t think it ever really had a course. I’m just babbling, I guess—priming the pump after a two-week dry spell. Normally I might be tempted to scrap this and start writing something “real” (this is the way I did things before the notes came along, by the way), but I know that certain people are waiting for me to post something, so up it goes.