A Harvest Moon tonight, the best in 2O years, so they say, and the sky is clouded over here in Ithaca. Damn you, Lady Fortune!
I return to you, a changed woman. I have a theory about academic work—that its rhythms of feast and fast, of heavy, intense work and periods of creative drought and no deadlines serve to mask a deeper, horrifying truth: that as you get caught up in the cycle of not much work, then intense work, you don’t realize the periods of rest are getting shorter, that the stakes are getting higher, and that no amount of work will ever be good enough. You don’t notice that you are working harder and harder, becoming a more intense person year by year, slowly turning into that workaholic academic you thought you’d never become.
I have always resisted this fate, hoping to remain a well-rounded, grounded person who does not live for her work alone, but somehow the system has gotten to me. How else can I explain this past month of near non-stop work on my dissertation drafts, on my articles, on my job search materials. How can I explain my abandonment of my beloved blog, my ceasing to touch base with another part of myself?
All this to say: I am sorry for having left Hortus Conclusus alone for a whole month! I have missed it and you, and I hope things will get better soon! I just have SO MUCH TO DO!!!!!!!!!! I have a plan though: I will try to post twice or thrice a week—that seems more manageable than my previous once a day, and then maybe catching up with you all won’t be such a daunting task. Then, hopefully by December, my life will be a little less intense, and I can resume my earlier schedule, which certainly brought me a lot of joy.
I also have so many stories to tell you, if only my guilt about not working on ‘the important stuff’ first would let me write them for you…..
Sorry for such a frantic first post after such a long drought. Bear with me, my fragrant friends. I promise the old LBV is in there somewhere.
p.s. ironically, the article I am devoting my life to right now is about madness.
and Bellatrix, I am working on those lovely samples…..
Painting of St. John the Baptist (c.1560) by Joan de Joanes (1523-1579). Joan J. Gavara Collection (Valencia)