In my last post, I talked a bit about Matt Haig’s literature-heavy antidote to depression, and mentioned that his own book had helped me immensely during some of my most despairing moments. That was true.
I also said that reading a book tipped me into the first quasi-depressive episode I ever experienced. That was true, as well.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about that contradiction, lately. I think that Haig is right when he says that reading is a pathway out of ourselves, and out of minds that are turning on us. But I also think that that outward journey can have devastating effects when we crash back into ourselves too suddenly. Continue reading
I was hoping my next post would be a review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. Unfortunately, there was a call on the book and I had to return it to the library before I had the chance to finish it. No word yet on when I may get it back. All I can really say at the moment is so far so good, and I truly hope I haven’t forgotten the beginning by the time I have a chance to read the ending.
In the meantime, though, it gives me an excuse to post these pictures of the new clutch I got a few months ago (technically a belated Christmas present from my mom). I’ve talked in the past about my fondness for literary accouterments, and this one is pretty unique. Continue reading
A heads up—although my ability to update this blog in a timely fashion hasn’t really been affected so far, I think there’s a good chance they’ll be a longer gap between posts in the near future. There are two reasons for this, one good (yay!) and one bad (boo!).
A few years ago, once I had more or less resigned myself to the fact that taking the time to get a doctorate in the humanities is impracticable in today’s academic job market, I decided that I would get an MA and then teach English at the high school level. I can’t say I was ever thrilled by the idea of teaching teenagers, but since finding full-time work at a community college is increasingly difficult (as it is at any kind of college or university), I concluded that it was the only financially viable option, assuming I wanted to teach English at all. So, after failing to land a position at a private school immediately after finishing graduate school, I decided to become certified in order to improve my odds. And in the course of the certification process, I applied to work as a substitute teacher—partly for the experience, partly to complete the requisite number of “field hours” my state requires.
I should say at the outset that as a substitute, and as someone new to teaching, I expected to have classroom management problems. What I did not expect was to be sexually harassed by the students. Continue reading
As promised, a few pictures (in the sun and out) of the Tolkien-themed skirt I recently bought:
In honor of the Tolkien-inspired skirt I recently ordered (pictures soon to follow) I decided to tally up the various and sundry literary objects I’ve accumulated. The results:
A few nights ago I met the husband of one of my mother’s friends from work. He is, in my mother’s words, something of a “Renaissance man.” He has a doctoral degree, but has previously worked as (among other things) a cop and a public school teacher. He also apparently knows a bit about literature, because our conversation began something as follows:
Him: How’s the job search going?
Me (jocular, with undercurrents of manic desperation): Oh, not especially well.
Him: I understand. You have a master’s in English literature, right?
Me (vaguely apologetic): Yeah.
Him: What was your subfield?
Me (picking my jaw up off the floor): Victorian.
So, yes, my first reaction to being asked about my specialty was absolute shock. My second reaction was to fight back (figurative) tears: tears of relief, that someone actually knew to ask that question, and tears of sadness that that surprised me. Meanwhile, the snob in me rejoiced and thought, “A kindred spirit!” Continue reading