Sunday, August 19, 2012

Work and Play

One of my only regrets about my first year in Indiana was that I had too much fun. "All play and no work makes Claudia an unproductive girl."  To be fair to myself (I love being fair to myself), much of my play was to throw myself wholeheartedly into every single university activity, from reading groups (I was in six in the fall, five in the spring) to lectures, films, student theater productions, sitting in on a course on The Tempest, helping advise Fulbright applicants, and more. So my play had a lot of work incorporated into it. But it wasn't the kind of work that produces any product. And I do love producing products!

So this year I'm vowing to work more and play less. Or maybe just work more, while continuing to play the same amount. I gave up early rising last year, as it is so dark in the morning in Indiana, situated as we are in the wrong time zone: Eastern time when we are far enough west that we should be in Central time. I could double my productivity just by getting up an hour earlier every day. (Note the title of this blog!).

Today I decided to inaugurate this program of increased productivity by heading up to my office at the Prindle early this morning with the plan of doing the revisions for the paper about children's author Beverly Cleary that I gave at the conference in China last June, in preparation for its publication in a Chinese and American edition of the conference papers. The job involves expanding the paper a bit (but not too much), incorporating insights from Cleary's two memoirs, adding a reference or two to some of the papers by the Chinese scholars, and - this is the tedious part - reconfiguring the citations for the Chinese edition.

I did work for three or four hours this morning. But then I realized that the job was too big for one day, so I might as well take myself to the closing day of the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.
Which I did. I mean, what is the point of spending a year in Indiana if you aren't even going to bother going to the Indiana State Fair? I admired prize-winning quilts and many cow-themed handicrafts (the theme of the fair this year is YEAR OF DAIRY COWS); I watched the North American six-horse-hitch classic competition, I ate corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter, as well as a chocolate ice cream soda (but passed up the fried butter, tempting as it was to be able to say I tried it once).

Tomorrow I'll finish the China conference paper, and face my syllabus for the new semester, which begins on Wednesday. I'll work so hard! I'll accomplish so much! But I don't feel guilty for stealing a few hours for the Indiana State Fair - though maybe a tad guilty for not sampling fried butter. Who knows when I'll ever get a chance to eat fried butter again?

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