Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The smell of chalk dust

Today I went into NYC for an organizational meeting for a class I will be helping to teach that starts tomorrow. I'm part of a "teaching team" which is a real euphemism because it's not a democratic, collaborative arrangement and the adjunct instructors make less than 1/10 of what the professor in charge makes. But it sure sounds good, doesn't it?

What I thought was just a morning meeting actually ended up being a talking session that lasted from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm with lunch brought in so we didn't need to (couldn't!) take a break. It is a good thing I'm a low maintenance person because by 1 pm I was ready to leave and by 3 pm, I started checking my watch every 20 minutes. Grumble, grumble. But I need this job and I'm glad to be working again.

I haven't worked since August when my last job ended and I decided to concentrate on my writing. Now I'll have to emerge from my writing cave, take off my working pajamas and dust off the business clothes, and reacquaint myself with a makeup brush. The solitude and unstructured life had turned me into a bit of a hermit...if I'd been a man, I'd have a beard down to my collarbone.

Being a writer (or trying to be one) is a dangerous life for an reenforces our isolationist tendencies and leaves too much time for brooding self-reflection. Anxiety has free rein except for those moments in which you manage to corral it and put it back in the closet.

This class, while it will take time away from my work, will get me back out among students (I taught for six years) and walking the streets of the city. There will be a lot of fieldwork--taking students out into NYC neighborhoods, looking at new and historic churches--and that will be the best part of the position. I look forward to getting to know more about areas of NYC that I haven't ventured into before. The adventure starts tomorrow night...