Friday, March 13, 2009

One day to go

Just taking a moment after another day's scattered running around: just time enough to start the usual pre-flight routine of wondering of why I would leave my loved ones and my home and my files and my books, let alone why I would submit myself to the horrors of a long-distance flight.

There are good reasons, I have to remind myself. A sabbatical from a workplace is a good idea, both for those going away, and for the ones you leave behind. And even though I increasingly get homesick, I do usually work very productively when I am away, and there will be fewer distractions than at home. I will also get to give talks in some fantastic university communities, and I know I'll get really helpful feedback and lots of ideas as I pull the book together. Leaving all my archives and specific Garter material behind will help, I hope, in the process of looking past these wonderful, seductive trees to see the wood, getting past the weird and wonderful anecdotes to pull an argument together. I'm going to read and read. I'm going to contact my publisher soon and arrange a meeting in the next few weeks. I'm going to do some work with Tom on the medievalism book as well (I spent the morning sketching out the first part of our talk for Penn). I'm going to hang out with David's graduate Chaucer class at Penn; I'm going to see friends in Philadelphia, New York, Boulder, Washington and Kalamazoo. And then for the second month I'm away, I'm going to be doing all these things with my beloved man and boy, including a trip to Amelia Island in Florida, we hope, to see Paul's "American father" from his AFS year, when he was 16 (goodness, just two years older than Joel will be in a week's time).

Given all this richness, it seems silly to be fretting about what coat to pack, or how terrible I'll feel on the Dallas-Philadelphia flight after 19 hours in planes or airports. I have a new ipod (blue, if you must know), and think I might read Sense and Sensibility on the plane, while thinking about how Samuel Dundas was such a compelling Don Giovanni last night in one sense (devilishly attractive in his white boots and silk shirt and long white brocade coat), but strangely weak in the final scene. The first time I saw this opera — I think it was an Australian Opera production — the final scene showed the progressive degeneration of Giovanni's household, as one of the attendants lazily smoked a cigarette, his arm describing a slow arc, up and down, with the smoke and the little red dot. This production did a similar thing with red curtains and cushions, but couldn't muster the same horror of the final descent. Must see the Joseph Losey film again before too long.

Anyway, one day to go, then I will be blogging from Philadelphia...

4 comments:

Pavlov's Cat said...

Yes, there are good reasons, and they are all the ones you list and more. I wish someone had told me decades ago when I was pushed back into a PhD topic that didn't go beyond Aust Lit (the one I really wanted to do would have been identified as 'feminist postcolonial' if either of those terms had yet been in use in Australian Eng Depts in 1977, but alas they were not) that I was shooting myself in the foot travel-wise. Oh well.

As for the being in a flap thing, it serves you right for scarpering off to the US just as I'm coming to Melbourne. Hmf.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Well, no one told me anything either, really: I just couldn't, you know, see anything other than medieval literature when I was doing honours, though the person with whom I was then domiciled couldn't really see me doing that anywhere other than Melbourne. If I had really wanted to travel, I probably could have got myself a degree from a fancy-pants English university, and turned myself into a different kind of medievalist. As it is, there is just enough travel on my agenda to suit my love-hate-flap relationship with it.

And yes, a great shame I won't be here when you are: we'll have to sort something out for later in the year.

stray said...

Think the final scene of Don G is always tricky, somehow. It either takes off or it doesn't. I saw one once where the Commendatore was a mob of protesters, and G, thus under siege, slashed his wrists standing in a coffin. It shouldn't have worked but really it kind of did.

Welcome to Spring... :-)

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, Stray: it's a spring that's colder than my usual winter, but I'm enjoying the evening light; and there is something almost ... cleansing ... about the cold.

That production sounds wild. Yes, it's a hard ending. Could he really, willingly, go down? And if he does that with consistent characterisation, how can he appear sufficiently seductive to make sense of the list?