I’m a little stuck tonight. I am intensely excited to be going back to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing but I’ve got homework to do. Every year I leave jazzed, inspired, and feeling wildly geeky. Unlike most years, I am trying to finish up all of my homework before I leave so I won’t be preoccupied during the conference.
This is not going terribly well. So I sat down to watch some TV.
This may seem counter-productive, particularly since the TV I most enjoy is serialized and highly addictive. But a blogger I admirementioned that he considers wool-gathering a legitimate part of academic work. Since I read that last year, I’ve tried to think about what spaces I craft for myself to think in, and what I can do to get the most out of them.
The problem is, I do my best thinking while reading or watching fiction. (Occasionally I literally wool-gather, which has lead to my new Etsy shop). Some of my favorite inspirations, the ideas about which I am most proud, came during a marathon of Battlestar Galactica or a trip into the depths of the Erik/Charles fandom. I’ve had ideas for papers, projects, relationships to build, all bubble up like jellyfish who will only peep up from the bottom of the ocean if the temperature is right.
Watching TV and reading for pleasure cools my brain from its normally scurrying pace. The trouble is, I feel guilty. I wish I could find inspiration in exercise, or conversation, or homework. Tonight, I particularly wish I could feel recharged after slamming through revisions on my last 6 Arabic essays or writing an analysis of a gambling situation using Savage’s ideas about utility. Alas, rote revisions don’t fill me up.
But while TV is great for helping me spin blog posts or craft campaign ideas, it does nothing to motivate me to do the rote memorization which makes up the majority of my work this semester (that’s what I get for taking almost exclusively language and music classes). So at some point, drawing on all of the energy I’ve saved up by refilling my coffers watching TV, I have to open my Arabic textbook and start filling in the blanks with this week’s vocabulary.
Which is what I will go do, right after I show you this clip, which accurately represents how I feel about memorizing the latest batch of Arabic vocabulary:
“One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people’s excuses for failure.”–Robert Townsend