Monday, October 17, 2011

Follow-Up: Glass Half-Full

In the spirit of optimism, I follow up yesterday's email of discouragement and astonishment with one of optimism.

If, as I believe, we are moving toward a period of disconnect between our academic pedagogy (or teaching) and free-for-all practice sans faculty, there are good things about this, for me, as well.

Like the opportunity to look outside my own department for collaboration. Right now, the projects I have built with colleagues from Medieval Studies and Creative Writing, from Music/Composition, from French, and from Film and Media Studies/Playwriting as well as the proposal for an interdisciplinary course including faculty from Music, Dance, and English to be taught in Spring 2013--all of these make me very happy right now.

Because of the chance to work with friends and new colleagues on exciting short-term projects.

Like the opportunities for my students I created and am creating. Getting my students into collaborations with professional actors and directors, with award-winning playwrights, with students from other disciplines, and even with each other. Getting my students produced and published. Getting my students into excellent internships.

Because of the chance to let my students test themselves in the Big World and to bring their writing to completion, in front of an audience.

Like the opportunities for my own writing and artistic work. The novel in pre-publication and the one being written. The three book reviews. The dramaturgy situation with a local theatre and playwright friend. The encyclopedia entries. The historical study in process. The two articles being developed from conference papers. The grants I hope to win for my own projects and the residencies I plan to earn.

These are short- and long-term projects that excite me, and that will make me a better writer/teacher/scholar/person.

Like the time to be spent with friends and family, instead of co-workers.

After all, one of my 2011 goals was to create a better, stronger community external to work. Which is all on me, after all. I've been doing pretty well, but attention must be paid!

All of this is made possible by the very argument of yesterday. Seen in this light, the glass is more than half-full.

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