Friday, February 1, 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter

It's February first, bitter cold outside, driven sleet frozen onto my car, heaps and heaps and heaps of work to do: reading Honor Scholar submissions, reading Undergraduate Ethics Symposium submissions (last year I read close to 80 ten-page papers as the judge charged with reading all of them to provide some uniformity in standards), teaching a senior-level class I haven't taught before (a single-philosopher class on the philosopher John Rawls), helping to organize a major symposium on global climate change, editing the papers that are coming in for the collection I'm assembling on ethics and children's literature, writing the Lois Lenski Lecture on children's literature that I've been invited to deliver at Illinois State University early next month.

It's definitely time to start a new, more productive life, as is my practice on the first day of each month.

The February new life has to have a LOT of work in it, and work for my job, not my own creative writing. But I think I can easily get it all done if I only pledge to put in a good hour at home early each morning before heading off to work either at my office out at the Prindle or my office on campus (for my teaching days). All I need to do is work at my desk from 6-7 and I will get it all done. But the trick is actually doing it.

Today I worked for an hour on my Lenski lecture, and I have a plan for it that I like. Tomorrow I'll send off comments on the first of the ethics and children's literature papers for the collection; I've already read the paper and decided what to say, so it won't take too long to do the work of saying it. Sunday? Probably another installment on the lecture. Later in the day each day, when I don't need to be so fresh, I'll read Honor Scholar submissions, read for class, read books that I'm reviewing.

Of course there has to be fun this month, too. And there will be. My sister is coming next weekend; the weekend after that I'll be back in Colorado for Gregory's junior recital; the weekend after that I'll be in New Orleans for the Central Division of the APA (American Philosophical Association), where I'm giving comments on a paper entitled "Are children persons?" (short answer: yes). I will drink hot chocolate, and eat oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins, as well as baked sweet potatoes at Chief's. I'll hang out in the evenings with my new housemate, political science professor Maryann.

Here's to a new life for February!

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