May 31, 2021

Much of what happens to us in life is nameless because our vocabulary is too poor (John Berger, Confabulations (2016)). Don’t dunk your biscuit in another person’s tea (Diary, February 23, 2016).

Saturday, May 29. 6.45 am:

7.00 am: I determined to put-in two hours on revising the text of the first diary’s posts before returning to module. moderation. The pace, intensity, and complexity of my life since 2014 has been extraordinary. I’ve felt like car that can travel only at a 100 mph. ‘You should slow down!’, friends say. Unfortunately, when you’re travelling on the motorway of Higher Education that simply isn’t possible. A sudden deceleration by any member of the School’s staff would risk causing a major pile-up. The only route to a less punishing life is to move into the left lane and take the next exit. 9.00 am: There were several more MA Art History submissions for me to review. Other marks would no doubt plop into the Turnitin submission over the course of the day. I’d monitor their arrival periodically, while pressing on with writing PhD monitoring reports for those whom I definitely know require them. (In the background: John Taverner (c.1490–1545), Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas.) 10.30 am: I posted a number of emails related to postgraduate inquiries and administration.

I weaved in and out of moderation, reports, and posts for the remainder of the day. In the background, I listened to YouTube theological debates about the demerits and merits of Calvinism. (Never tell me that I don’t know how to have a good time.)

Monday, May 31: 7.30 am:

It was warm even as the day began. Only the runners, dog-walkers, and swimmers were my companions at this time of the morning. I took the route up North Road, across the Promenade from Constitution Hill to the harbour, returning home via the railway station and Llanbadarn Road. (1 hour.) There’re times, I’ve learned, when words must cease. ‘Just take it in, John! Just be.’

9.00 am: To work. To begin, I dispatched several pages of the first diary. Afterwards, I pressed-on with PhD research monitoring reports, in conjunction with post reviews, in conjunction with PhD submission reviews and advice. (In the background: I listened to YouTube ‘testimonials’ about Christian deconstruction.) I’ve every admiration for those who rigorously test their assumptions without regard for the consequences of their findings. In matters of faith, intellectual (as well as existential and experiential) doubts cannot be brushed under the carpet. They have to be confronted before they have an opportunity to overwhelm. What’s crucial is that we don’t make our own disbelief to be the touchstone of truth. A thing cannot not be false simply because we deem it to be so. (The opposite is also true.) 5.00 pm: ‘Let it be!’

6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: Finally, a Bank-Holiday evening with my wife — who’d also been working her socks-off today.

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