Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Big Day

Lord, today was busy. But it had a nice beginning--I slept SO well, practically passed out as soon as Myka and I finished watching a movie ("The Lives of Others/"Das Leben de Anderen")--very good, all about the Stazi in 80s Berlin. So I totally slept until 9am, which was amazing.

Made my way to Hunter, where I couldn't find 1) a place to sit down, 2) a working PC with internet access, or 3) any good books in the library. The queer section--one always looks for HQ 76.4 in every library, just to see what's there, of course--was about 1/4 of a shelf. Not auspicious. But then I walked down Lexington and found a Barnes & Noble, where I was finally able to grab something quick to eat (the lineup at the Bread Factory was crazy).

This B&N was in a bizarre building, a combination of a shopping center and some type of banking/high finance multiplex, with X-Ray machines at every entrance. I had to get my bag scanned just to enter the bookstore, and then again when I left. Isn't there something seriously fucked up about this? Like, Mussolini-style fucked up?

My Media 371 class went well. Of course, I talked for the full hour, since I always do this for the first class and I'm sure it annoys the hell out of my students. I find it's just best to get all the administrative stuff out of the way first. But they were a smart and lively bunch, so I'm optimistic and excited to teach more.

Eve's class was incredible. Whereas most grad courses during the first week only go for about 30 minutes to an hour--just housekeeping stuff and the rote assignment of presentations, usually--our class went for almost three hours, and nobody was shifting uncomfortably or glancing at the clock. I hadn't eaten since noon (still haven't eaten yet, and my stomach is rumbling up a storm as I type this!), but it didn't matter; I was rapt. She talked unassumingly and elegantly about pretty much everything, and I kept thinking: this really is your scholarly idol who's talking, and she's so amazingly generous and humble. The experience was actually quite emotional--I just wanted to look at everyone and exclaim: "Can you believe that this is really happening? This brilliant woman who's been through so much in her life, and who's had such an impact on the academy and queer studies and affect studies, she's just talking to us in this quiet voice, almost frail, but so full of strength!"

I tried to be as incognito as possible, kind of feeling like I was taking time away from the students, but she still stopped to talk to me in the computer lab--I'd given her an inscribed copy of my Farscape book in the hopes that she might read it, and she thanked me and said that she'd actually looked up the show online to see if she could order the DVDs. "I don't usually love visual science fiction," she said, "I'm more into the print kind, but you make the show sound so fascinating that I think I'll take a look." When Eve Sedgwick pays you a compliment, you kind of remember it verbatim.

I asked her if she minded if I submitted an essay at the end of class, promising to keep it short so she wouldn't have much extra marking to do, and she said: "Of course, I like your writing!" Um, let's revisit this compliment again in slow-motion, shall we? Eve likes my writing. My writing is liked by Eve.

I have to say, these last 10 days have been hard--much, much harder than I imagined they would; I've been missing friends and family like crazy, and those of you who know me also know that I'm not usually the most sentimental person--but getting that compliment really made me feel better about myself. Like. yeah, maybe I can do this.

Now, I have to drag myself home on the subway before I pass out from hunger.

As Callie from Gray's Anatomy would say: "Big day. Biiiiiigggg day."

1 comment:

Matt J. said...

That sounds like an emormous day! I'm really proud of you and I know that, despite the past few days being hard, that you CAN do this. And will do this. And we will dish about all of it together no matter what.

I want a word for word retelling of what went on in Eve's class - you got me on that buster? A word for word!

Can't wait to talk to you tomorrow - I have been missing our chats like crazy. And I have lots to tell you.

Oh, and more good news is on its way.