Watch this space!

I really want to write about my medieval lit class from this semester, as it’s the one where I handed over a lot of the responsibility to the students and I thought it was a smashing success!  *However*, holiday madness is upon us here at the Bullock-Virago homestead, so I don’t think I’ll get a chance until after Christmas.

Also, at some point after the new year, I’ll be co-reviewing Beyond Sherwood Forest, as part of Carl Pyrdum’s (Bad) Medieval Movie Club over at Got Medieval.  I’m totally excited to do this.  It’s a SyFy original!  It has Julian Sands in it!  It’s going to be awesomely bad! Anyway, I’ll put up a link to it when we’ve done it.

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>Sabbatical makes for boring blogging

>Sorry for the radio silence lately, but there just hasn’t been much to talk about, really. *However*, I’m leaving today for six weeks in England, so maybe I’ll have more to tell you about from there. The flat I’m renting is in a celebrity-rich part of Belsize Park, so I’ll be sure to tell you if I have any star sightings. 🙂

>Preview of stuff I hope to write about this week

>Here’s what I hope to write about in the coming week, as I take breaks from writing letters of recommendation and working on the big, fat editing project that’s due in a month:

  • NCS Siena and how and why it was a very different experience for me from NCS Swansea, and not just because of the gelato (a post that will be one of my usual meditations on ‘professional identity,’ among other things)
  • A more lucid extension on my babbling comment at the end of the NCS blogging panel, originally about what personal blogs like mine can do for the profession and the sub-field of medieval studies, but expanded/modified to talk about why I’ve had such a blogging lull the past two years and why I want and need to pick up the pace again
  • Meditations on visiting a part of Italy that wasn’t Rome (for once), and how it made me think about the relation of the medieval to the modern, about historical and present space and geography, and about my relation to both medieval Christianity and my own Catholic upbringing in an assimilating, WASPy world
  • Relics, sacred and secular. Yes, that’s right: secular relics. You’ll see.
  • The nearly three weeks I spent in England before NCS Siena, including stuff about the London Rare Books School; tales of overcoming my fear of the London bus system (seriously); thoughts on my changing relationship to big cities; and pictures of the ridiculously cute Yorkshire town of Knaresborough

See, if write all this out here, its public presence will hold me to the plans for writing that I have. But today, I’m going to lie around reading Entertainment Weekly and pulp detective fiction — something I haven’t done in a long time.

>Not dead yet…but not exactly in top form

>While I was in Siena, Italy, at the New Chaucer Society biennial congress, I caught an exotic conference cold that had been imported to Italy from Leeds by my hotel roommate, The General. Now that I’m back in Rust Belt, I’m still congested, although the cold is in its final stages, I think. Still, the 95F temperature here combined with the dense midwestern humidity is not helping with the feeling that my head is some sort of giant, stuffed, pinata-like thing really to burst. Somehow the cold was more bearable in Siena. Perhaps that was because it was dryer there (but also about 95F), or because the gelato made it all better, or maybe just because I was in freakin’ *Siena,* for pete’s sake! But at least here I have robust American air conditioning and Bullock’s homemade ice cream to replace the gelato.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Because I’d planned to write a long post today about NCS to re-inaugurate the blog. Now that more and more people know who I am in real life, they can actually *bug* me in person to get back to posting, and I promised a number people at NCS that I would get back to it as soon as I got home. And I will, I swear, but right now my head is too muddled.

>You know you’ve been a bad blogger when…

>…Michael Bérubé wonders where you’ve gone and has to post Middle English poetry to get your attention.

Normal blogging will resume, I swear, as I am now fully and officially and totally ON SABBATICAL!! Hooray!! In the meantime, here’s some Bérubé-inspired play-along fun: using “Sumer is icumen in” (see Bérubé’s post) and Ezra Pound’s parody as your inspiration, write a poem in the comments that begins “Sabbatical is icumen in.”

>I got bupkis

>I haven’t been blogging because, well, I’m boring. I got nothing. Help me out here and give me a topic. What do you want to know about?

Or how about I give you some choices.

  • Would you like me to write about the experience of collaborating on a class design, which is one of the things I’m doing this summer (though the class won’t be taught until Spring 2010)?
  • Or how about the agony of coming up with new research projects now that the book is done?
  • Or should I write a confessional entry about my frustrations with teaching last semester (note: *not* with my student, but with *my* teaching) and the difficulty of speaking to multiple audiences/levels (English-Ed students, English majors interested in grad school, MA students, etc.).
  • Or maybe I should write about my frustrations with our prereq-light system that means students who haven’t taken the Intro to Lit Studies class take classes like my senior level Chaucer class before they’ve even learned how to think about literary texts at the college level (which I suppose is related to point three, above).
  • Or, on a cheerier note, I could write about how Bullock and I have spent last summer and this one rewatching all of Buffy and Angel (half way through the latter) — though I’m not sure I’ve entirely processed my thoughts on that yet.
  • Or, I could write about how I’m not only planning a class for Spring, but have done my syllabuses for the Fall and am trying to plan ahead not to have a maddening year this coming year in terms of prep and grading.

Or, again, you can suggest a topic, though I retain the right to demure if it’s too personal or revealing or I don’t have much to say on the topic.

>Facebook killed the blogosphere star

>No, not really.

Remember, correlation is not causation. Just because I’m on Facebook pretty regularly does not mean that’s the reason why I have not been blogging as much lately. In fact, the reasons why I’m not blogging as much are the reasons why I’m on Facebook — it fills the electronic conversational gap that my inability to keep up with blogging right now has left.

As for why I haven’t been blogging, that has more to do with my ridiculously poor time management skills this semester. And the reasons for those are something I do want to blog about soon…if only I can find the time! (Oh, the irony.)

But now I have to get ready to go have lunch with a certain very dangerous blogger. And then later I’ll be attending his big talk, followed by dinner.

And tomorrow Bullock and I are off to visit a town with a rockin’ museum to eat some pig’s ear, take in the view from our lakefront hotel, and belatedly celebrate my 40th birthday.

>I hab a code in my node

>Translation: I have a cold in my nose.

I’ve been sick for a week now*, which partly explains the silence and/or bad writing around these here parts. And the Pastry Pirate may be stopping through tomorrow night on her way to her next adventure. And then on Wednesday, it’s dinner with Job Candidate #3 (yeah, we’re doing a search and I’m excited — yeah, new hire!). So forgive me (and don’t worry) if nothing new pops up here for a few days.

But then I want to do the “Why Do I Teach ______” meme that New Kid tagged me for, and that was inspired by Dr. Crazy’s posting on why she teaches literature. I think I have things to say that haven’t already been said, especially since New Kid specifically tagged people who study pre-modern subjects.

OK, now to go give my nasal passages a saline wash. TMI, huh? Sorry.

*Btw, I blame the 2007 Boston Marathon. Until then I got sick maybe once every 2 1/2 years, and then for only a couple of days. But I ran that damn thing with the tail end of a cold, and then came out of it and its freakin’ Nor’Easter with a worse sinus infection thing that made my teeth hurt, too. And now I get sick if someone around just says the word “sick,” I swear.