Friday, November 19, 2010

Sabbatical and Writing and Time and Fields

The root of sabbatical is letting the fields rest every seven years -- ceasing.

I'm a couple months in my sabbatical and this has not been my experience. Many 8 to 12-hour days in the fields -- plowing, digging, riding tractors. Scouting out more land. If I knew what a combine was I'd use it in a metaphor.

I sometimes make my grad students hand in weekly writing hours. It's anonymous. They take a strip of paper, jot a number, and we tally. It's a spot check so they never can tell when it's coming. We always get one zero handed in. It has to be a shock to them to write that number down. It's surely a shock to me.

So I lecture. I lecture and lecture and lecture on hours. It's the hours that matter.

The fields need rest, yes. Agreed. But even if you aren't digging, you've got to be walking the land.