Friday, June 25, 2021

Another cool morning, dim and overcast, with a thin chance of rain, but the scorchers will return in a few days, and I'm starting to worry about how hot the little back room will be during the conference. Pointlessly worrying, because there's nothing I can do about it.

Otherwise, prep is going well: a cheerful faculty meeting yesterday, various plans and platforms set up for participants, and today I'll work on posting faculty handouts, getting the room ready for prime time, figuring out how Tom and I will juggle home stuff while I'm down the poetry rabbit hole . . . and, of course, escalating my battle with the groundhog. Ugh.

I think I mentioned I've been rereading John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman, which is, among other things, a meditation on the chasm between the Victorian mind and the mid-twentieth-century mind, and I was struck by this commentary:

" . . . he tried to dismiss the inadequacies of his own time's approach to nature by supposing that one cannot reenter a legend. He told himself he was too pampered, too spoiled by civilization, ever to inhabit nature again; and that made him sad, in a not unpleasant bittersweet sort of way. After all, he was a Victorian. We could not expect him to see what we are only just beginning--and with so much more knowledge and the lessons of existential philosophy at our disposal--to realize ourselves: that the desire to hold and the desire to enjoy are mutually destructive. His statement to himself should have been, "I possess this now, and therefore I am happy," instead of what it so Victorianly was: "I cannot possess this forever, and therefore I am sad."

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