Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gratitude Toward My Former Self

One of the projects I have to do over the break is to write the paper that I am contributing to an edited collection on romanticism and childhood. I was asked to write a paper on my beloved Rousseau, connecting him somehow to recent children's literature. I hit upon the idea of looking at some recent children's books that feature home-schooling through the lens of Rousseau's Emile, his account of one fictional boy's extraordinary 20-year-long home-schooled education at the hands of his tutor, representing the figure of Jean-Jacques Rousseau himself.

Now is the day I HAVE to settle down to writing this thing. I unearthed the abstract I submitted to the editor many months ago and was agreeably surprised. It's great! I've already done all the work of laying out my ideas and linking them together. All I really need to do now is connect the dots, color it in, flesh it out. I even have detailed, extremely helpful notes on the four children's books I'm discussing: Skellig, Ida B., Surviving the Applewhites, and Stargirl. This is going to be a piece of cake!

So right now I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to my former self for giving my current self such a great head start on this project. Thank you, former self! And, in a pay-it-forward mood, now I want to do something equally nice for my future self. Maybe I'll eat healthfully and in moderation today so that she can be happy weighing herself tomorrow. Maybe I'll put in several good hours on this Rousseau paper so that she'll wake up tomorrow and feel as if the shoemakers' elves have done lovely things for her as she was sleeping.

I want to be as good to my future self as my former self has been to me.


  1. So I wrote something clever and witty and then couldn't post it because I am not that clever and witty.

    Maybe I will try later now that I think I might know a bit more about commenting on someone's blog.

  2. Oh, Claudia! This is a very happy story, and I can hardly say how happy it makes me that it is your story and you are the protagonist. I think that it must be progressively more difficult as you are solicited to contribute more often to such edited collections to sustain the niave confidence (a Roussean "original innocence," if you will) that enabled you to write the original abstract which so nicely bore fruit. I hardly know you as a philosopher and writer, but I know that extraordinary person who blossomed into both those roles, and so I shall pray for your unfettered access to the suppositionally innovative and reflective self that shines forth so upliftingly in what you write.