Monday, November 29, 2010

Back from Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break is over; classes resume today at CU - two more weeks of classes before finals, and then winter break.

I have to admit that I dazzled myself with what I accomplished over the past nine days. My secret was that I had a traumatic upheaval in my personal life, and the only way to deal with it was to observe strict, life-saving discipline in my professional life.

In my most-favorite-ever book on writing, If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland, she talks about a hard-working friend who is a violinist and author. When her friend had a very bad head cold, Ueland recommended that she lie down, covered with a warm shawl, and drink hot lemonade (which actually sounds very appealing to me). Her friend replied, with horror: "Oh, that is no way to treat a cold!" Instead, she cured her cold by working harder than ever.

And I have found that the way to cure deep personal sadness is to work harder than ever. So I made a stern, extremely long to-do list. I required myself to cross off three things on this list every day during the break, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, which I took off from work completely. So now, as a result of my toil, I accomplished: the revisions on Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters, laborious toil on the first-pass proofs for the issue of the Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly that I am guest-editing, an entire set of papers graded for my Philosophy through Literature class, a entire set of reading journals graded for this same class, a careful review of a hundred pages of writing from my mentee's novel, a review of nine submissions for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics conference, a preview of the final book I'm teaching in the Philosophy through Literature course, and more things that I won't even list here for fear of sounding even more braggy than I already do.

Plus, my broken heart feels tons better. It really does. My beloved philosopher Miguel de Unamuno wrote that "work is the only practical consolation for having been born." Amen to that, brother.


  1. Claudia, I'm so very impressed with all you've accomplished (even before this Thanksgiving break) and I'm glad your broken heart is on the mend. I'm looking forward to seeing you in January.

  2. Oh, sympathy! But I'm astonished at how much you got done. What an amazing way to deal with sadness!