Monday, March 22, 2010


As if on cue. Barry opined last night that one really, perhaps, couldn't tire of cute kitty pictures, and although I have my doubts (for the purpose of public blog postings, at any rate), LucyFur appears to have been listening. I went to throw some scrumpled up paper in a wastepaper basket, and found it already occupied.

At this weekend's conference, we all had to choose a "luminous sentence" of advice to bestow on younger members of the profession (when I asked my grad students if they had any ideas, one said "don't become departmental chair," which is probably as sane as anyone's maxim). A number of participants opted for some version of Find Your Own Voice, or Follow Your Own Passion, which is certainly something that I didn't really take to heart young enough - at least, only in some slightly compromised ways. I chose "only connect" - not out of some sudden rush of enthusiasm for E. M. Forster, but because I thought that it encompassed everything from the internet (and backing up all one's files...) to networking, interdisciplinarity, and talking to sceptical administrators about the value of the humanities. Jonathan Culler, most pragmatically, advised young scholars to write (at least) a paragraph every day - of anything - to keep one's hand in, and that did cause me to reflect (though not aloud) quite how useful writing here is to push words out on a regular basis.

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