Last night, at one in the morning, I gave myself permission to close the blog without contributing an article to the hopper. Now, it’s the next morning, at one thirty, and I’m debating if I do that again. I don’t like going two days without contributing anything, and part of what leads to that is the feeling that all I have to do is something and that’s a start.
Normally, I can sit down and go: alright, well, what can I say I’ve been thinking about today?
It’s not like I’ve had an empty day. It’s not a brainfog day or a day where a game ate all my time or where I’ve been working on The Word Pit so much that my brain is mush for fun things to write about. Today, I walked the dog, I went to the store, I checked out new types of daifuku mochi, I checked out a new bakery (and by ‘new’ I mean it’s older than I am but I just never went out of my way to it) which means that the shops is more of a walk and that that’s okay now…
But the thing is that’s not what I’ve been thinking about.
What I’ve been thinking about is arguments.
Arguments, going around and around in a loop. Arguments about what I was doing today, which, now is months ago and not relevant any more. Arguments about marking. Arguments with myself if I’m being too mean or too nice or if the student will appreciate this tone or if it matters more to them that they get the mark. How much feedback is too much feedback on a final report? They can’t implement it. Is this useful advice for this piece of work that they presented and useful going forward? How many times am I just repeating points they already know – is a weak assignment a result of the student genuinely not realising it was weak, or was it the student not giving a shit? I respect not giving a shit.
I don’t make my students into writing. I try to put distance between my students and this blog that people pay me to make.
What I want to talk about then is the way that this is an input/output problem. Because of my work, I couldn’t spend any part of today indulging my mind in things I find interesting and I think make for interesting features on the blog. In order to do that, I need to have part of my mental hygiene just the experience of taking time to think about things that serve this purpose, and if I can’t I need to be okay with not forcing the work.