Monday, February 25, 2008

Scholarly Melancholy

I'm so glad it's the end of the day. It wasn't a terrible day, just one during which I felt terrible. It's not as if my work has been rejected, though I'm starting to get used to that. But I still have two proposals to submit plus two articles to finish and send off. So my meagre sense of accomplishment last week at finishing one proposal and one letter of recommendation now amounts to nothing at all.

Second, and perhaps a bit more poignantly, I've recently learned that I have lost two junior colleagues to really fine research institutions; one came in with me, the other had yet to arrive from his postdoc. I am happy for them, but I can't seem to shake this negative feeling, which is kind of like having an acrid taste in my mouth or a heaviness around my temples. I can't process what I'm feeling either: Am I sorry to lose two friends (technically, one potential friend), or am I just horrifically envious of their successes? Both seem unfounded- it's not as if I'm in either of their fields, and I'm not on the market. Yet I can't stop feeling awful this evening. I'm also exhausted because I taught three courses for 5 hours today- two one-hour sections plus a 3 hour grad seminar. I wish I didn't have such a heavy course load and could spend more time writing and less time rushing to get research and course proposals turned in, proposals that ideally ought to give me more time to write.

And maybe I feel so terrible because my birthday is around the corner and I never thought I'd be living alone in a small town in the Conservative Baptist South where I still feel so displaced, teaching 3 courses and developing gray hairs the week before my 32nd birthday.

I wish my maternal grandmother were still alive. She'd call me "Sarah Heart-Burn," tell me to stop being so morose and melodramatic and to get back to work. Then her sister (my great aunt) would start to sing "Pick Yourself up, Dust Yourself off, and Start all over again." Then suddenly we'd all be in a technicolor musical number, wearing bright red lipstick and vivid green shoes.

If this is just melancholy, then maybe Burton has a cure- I ought to make myself wetter and hotter by going for a run or something. Instead I'm sipping a Pinot and listening to Couperin. It might be exaccerbating the problem.


skookumchick said...

:-( So so sorry, muse. :-( Wish I could come bring you dinner and maybe brownies. As it is, it will have to be an internets hug: ( )

hd said...

solidarity, sister. perhaps some retail therapy is in order? or a writing exchange? I know i could use some new pants *and* a kick in them.

muse said...

Aw, thanks friends. I'm feeling a wee bit better today (not sure if it was the Pinot or finishing one of my research proposals). And yes to all three: bring on the brownies, retail therapy and work exchange.

A Wisconsin Yankee in King David's Court said...

I didn't see this post till Thursday but I also wanted to cheer you up! I'm glad you’re feeling a little better now. When I have days like this, I find that things don’t seem quite as dire after a good night’s sleep. I know that might sound trivial and not very comforting, but for me at least things always seem worse when I’m tired. Also, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you not to confuse temporary straits (which you’re already working to get your boat out of) with a permanent predicament. OK, that’s my pep talk, and if that doesn’t work you’ll just have to come and visit me and Anya. A week on the beach in TA will cure even the worst doldrums and put the wind back in your sails. In the meantime, is there anything you’d like for your birthday from the land of milk and honey? :-)