Distractions and Fifth Week Blues
Sixth Week Blues are actually supposed to happen during fifth week, but for me I think maybe they happened during sixth.
What are they? I think it has something to do with getting over the hump in the middle of the term. I have put an enormous amount of work and concentration into everything that has been going on here, and last week it got a little easy to think about the magnitude of the work and lose focus on the object of attention. Its kind of like swimming a length of the pool without taking a breath, only to come up on the other side and realize that now you have to swim back to where you started again without taking another breath. That and the weather has finally become fairly rotten, although not nearly as bad as what I hear from Ohio and France (where it is snowing, slushing, and sleeting with a vigor that England has yet to witness).
So anyway, last week was that week for me. I had two tutorials again. They were both fantastic as always, but there are some definite issues that I want to work on in my writing about Shakespeare. For example, I have a dreadful tendency to misquote or miss-spell things. In this week’s paper, I misquoted daws as doves. I think this had to do with a footnote that I read on a certain passage in Othello, but regardless of the reasoning, I haphazardly used the wrong word. You would think that something this little wouldn’t matter very much, and in a certain sense, it probably doesn’t. It didn’t really render my argument invalid, but it is a distraction, and a fairly significant one. I want to blame this on Word’s spell-checker or the internet, but that is woefully problematic.
On a similar note, I also realized that I miss-spelled Guy Fox day in my previous post. That should be Guy Fawkes Day.
On Friday, it hit me that a return to the United States of America is looming on my horizon, which is also a distraction of sorts. I dealt with this distraction by putting it off till later. I will now return to the states on December 23rd instead of the 10th. This will give me some time to work on my senior thesis after term ends. Basically I have access to the best libraries in the world here, and I would be foolish to try to write something about the books they have in them without the immediate access that I now have to them. The extra time in the country will also let me to do some traveling and sight-seeing that I have been unable to do thus far, most particularly to Stratford-upon-Avon, where I would love to watch a little Shakespeare and develop something of my own interpretation of a background on his life.
I think the fifth week blues also might be associated with the drying up of my adrenaline and the excitement of being in a new place. Life is not as easy as we always want or imagine it to be from a distance and this week the reality of the challenges I am dealing with became a little more vivid and a little less blurred by the speed of their occurence. But I think this is a good thing. Someone said something once about the importance of “knowing thyself” and I think that this week, I learned a few things about that self.
This Saturday, Teddy Hall B Crew, aka Ice Man, had its first race. This is my boat for rowing, which is made up of a tremendous group of guys, but we didn’t do too well. Actually, we got slaughtered. It was good though because we can only get better now, and we need to, because the Christ Church Regatta will be later this week.
To end on a positive note however, the Oxford-Wells lectures commenced last week. These are lectures that are being given by David Scott Kastan, a general editor of the current series of the Arden Shakespeare. His first lecture was absolutely phenomenal. He drew attention to an emerging issue in Shakespearean criticism: that criticism is more interested in postulating agendas into Shakespeare’s life and plays than at examining the text of the plays themselves. Kind of a bizarre issue, but he made it interesting by satirically rebutting the work of James Shapiro (who I believe was present in the first row) as remarkably “entrepreneurial.” I think I got those names and facts right, but if not, I will correct them soon. Details and Distractions…