My miraculous daughter has discovered that she does in fact have limits. Though she can leap tallish buildings and recite all the words of "Alice's Restaurant," she cannot, it turns out, burn the candle at both ends and in the middle as well. Having had very little sleep during the Ashland trip, she returned to school and her nutty schedule--up at six thirty, school, play practice, dance lesson, homework and computer socializing until past my bedtime--and now she has caught The Cold. Tomorrow the play opens. And she has very little voice. My prescription was, "Go to bed. Go immediately to bed. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200." And when I said, "immediately," I meant now, as in seven thirty or whenever it was that I got home. But will she leave her homework undone? She's communicating with me by computer so that she can save her voice, but she's personfully, stoically, carrying on. She wants to person (whatever the right feminist word for "master" is) two articles about Reconstruction which might possibly be on "the test." That's my girl.
I expected to read several theses today--one must keep a pace going-- but in fact read only one and a half. People kept coming into the faculty office and--can you believe the gall--either saying nice things or asking us stuff. Us? There are two of us teaching Thesis Writing and Research and we swap papers at the end of the semester-- he grades mine; I grade his. A further interruption was a photographer, come to record our activity for publicity purposes. This was my fault. I ran into her--she's a former student--and vented what has been a bit of a volcanic bubble for a while; in twenty years of teaching I have never seen anyone in the Liberal Arts photographed doing what we do and then used in publicity stuff. Now *I* have no particular desire to become a propaganda tool for the PNCA flacks, but I thought it might be nice-ish if potential applicants and others with an interest in the college actually knew that our department is not staffed by the living dead and is not in the habit of acting out Thomas Eakins, "The Gross Clinic" for instructional and referencing purposes. So she said, "I'll come and photograph you while you grade theses." I can think of better subjects for photographs, but I suppose it's a place to start.
The two of us are currently drawing up a list of words to abolish from students' vocabulary. "Activate" is one. "References," used as an active verb, is another.
Tomorrow my dictionary arrives. Yes, after twenty or more years of yearning, I finally decided to buy an Oxford dictionary. The whole bloomin' thing. My reasoning? A used one is currently three hundred dollars more than the price Amazon is offering for new ones. And a one year subscription to the online version is half the cost of the printed version. I think it's probably going out of print and that this price is as remaindery as it's going to get. Plus, I have my mother's inheritance. This will become the Mary Ritchie memorial dictionary, a fine and equal companion to the Mary Ritchie memorial crabbing boat. Maybe I'll take a volume or two along on our next crabbing trip. In life, one can never have too many anchors.
Carry on. David Ritchie, Portland, Oregon ------------------------------------------------------------------ To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off, digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html