January 31, 2020

7.30 am: Morning-tide:

8.15 am: A communion. (God’s mercy is not disposed grudgingly.) 8.45 am: Following on from yesterday evening’s work, I continued to bed-down the assessment administration, complete registers, plan dates for meetings, and clear a space over the next few days to deal with research commitments. As much time is spent on the aftermath of teaching as upon its delivery, these days. My Post-its are getting fewer, however. For the first time in a month, I can see the boundaries of my responsibilities again. Nevertheless, this will be a demanding semester on all fronts.

10.40 am: Off to School to deliver the ‘Time Management’ talk for the second-year Professional Practice module. (‘Listen carefully to what you have to say, John! You might just learn something’, nagged the voice.) To begin, a number of great mystery bore down upon the students:

I suspect that most in the audience took not a blind bit of notice of my advice. Perhaps they have to find their own way through the morass of competing priorities, out-of-one’s-depth experiences, intimidating deadlines, and the chaos of living. I sounded so pompous, knowing, and out of touch. Mercifully, this talk would have only one further outing.

12.00 pm: Back home, I completed the admin for the talk and generated emails in advance of any problems that may arise in the delivery of the Exhibition modules. (Anticipate. Delegate. Communicate.) I’ve a great many audio recordings of the lectures that have been delivered over the past fifteen years. Clearly, I can’t keep all of them. On what basis should a selection be made? At the very least, I want to keep a cross section for my children to hear when I’m gone. I’ve very few recordings of my own parents speaking. One was turned into a sound composition:

1.30 pm: Following lunch, I loaded my diary with ‘key dates’ for the academic year ahead. There were so many. But I’d rather face them with foreknowledge. (Which was a principle that I’d addressed to the students this morning.) 2.30 pm: On, then, to research admin. This type of admin furthers a cause in definable and fruitful ways. Less irksome in some ways and more, in others. However, my heart and mind were elsewhere, presently: haunted by spirit noises, hearing fearful screams, walking in dark forests, and imagining a sound of the world being blown to smithereens.

5.15 pm: Off to town for dinner. A treat. A laziness. An indulgence of my penchant for low-quality food. The food in our branch of this watering-hole tastes like that in very other branch. Indeed, every meal on the menu tastes like every other meal on the menu. They’ve got consistency down to a fine art:

7.45 pm: On with research and assessment admin for the remainder of this troubling evening. Being no longer able to call myself ‘European’, in any meaningful sense, feels like a partial identity theft.

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