January 5, 2020

We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along (James Cameron, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)).

8.15 am: A communion. The changes around and about are dizzying. Thus, maintaining some sense of continuity is essential. Within that continuity there needs to be variety. And within that variety there needs to be creativity. 9.00 am: An email outburst to encourage the troops before returning to my grant proposal. (This needs to be in the bag before the marking period begins.) (In the background: Keith Jarrett’s Tokyo Concert (1984).) Students and staff are now in a state of limbo. Schools and colleges which serve the local community are one thing; inviting students from all over Wales, the UK, and the globe to return to their institutions was a perilous operation in September. Today, this prospect appears to be utter folly. We need a co-ordinated pan-national response.

I ploughed into my proposal, searching for sources around which to build an argument for the necessity of a sonic articulation of the coal industry and its landscape:

1.40 pm: After lunch, I caught up with postgraduate admin. Now that the School has lost our ever clever and efficient postgraduate secretary, I have to do much more of the leg work. 3.00 pm: Back to the proposal. 3.15 am: ‘I need a walk! And I need it NOW!’ A brittle light and air.

4.00 pm: My head had cleared and a sense of perspective, restored. The concept behind the proposal (which is by far the more important consideration of all) began to take on shape and solidity. Writing helped to crystallise and coalesce what were, formerly, free-floating ideas. 5.30 pm: Dinner preparations.

7.30 pm: I pushed on with the proposal, while trying — in moments of reverie — to stand back from the topic as far as I could. Things had moved slowly forward, today. Too many imponderables had prevailed, of necessity. Decisions have yet to be made; a plan of action for the semester ahead, discussed.

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