Almost a free man

Yesterday was the last day my Tuesday/Thursday class met, but I still have essays to grade and a final to administer next week. And possibly a review session to host, if anyone expresses any interest. I asked yesterday whether they thought they needed a review session, and there was dead silence, as if to say, “Well, if you want to give a review, we’ll come . . . but only if it’ll make you happy.” The stance of “just wanting to make me happy” is a constant among students—not all of them, but some of them. They will show this attitude, too, in talking about office hours. “Do you want me to stop by and talk about my essays?” Well, do you think you need to talk about them with me? That’s different than my wanting to discuss your papers, which is an almost inconceivable state of mind.

I’ll be a free man soon in another respect, too—unemployed. No more university funding for me, so far as I can see at this point. So it’s time to figure something out. In the meantime I mean to do some serious reading and writing. On the reading side, I’m definitely going to read Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and some Cardinal Newman. I’ve long wanted to read his The Idea of a University and An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Newman should be the patron saint of and hero of all Catholic converts, especially those of us who are students of the nearly 300-year-long state-sponsored persecution of Catholicism in England.

Other summer books on my list include Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, which I see was made into a 3-hour Norwegian movie in 1995; and Phillip Rieff’s Sacred Order / Social Disorder: My Life Among the Deathworks. (Plus all the stuff for my dissertation, which comes first, but which would not interest you nearly so much as Merton, Newman, Undset, and Rieff.)

See, being unemployed is not all bad!


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