Thursday, June 23, 2011

77, 76...

My paper for the upcoming IASPR conference, "Can't Buy Me Love? Sex, Money, Power, and Romance" is done and polished, or as done and polished as it's going to be. It focuses on two novels that I've taught several times, Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation and Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer, but it uses two secondary sources that are new to me: Jan Cohn's 1988 study Romance and the Erotics of Property and Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, by sociologist Eva Illouz.

Of these, the Illouz strikes me as the more useful, even though I only bring it in at a couple of points in the argument. I'll blog about it at greater length at Teach Me Tonight later this summer. For now, let me just say that it strikes me as a book I'd like to bring to my students' attention, since it focuses on how leisure and consumer activity (when I say "consumption" I think Keats and TB) became and remain integral to the culture of romantic love. The one student I've had who actually read it said that it was a book she had to keep putting down, because it was making her think too much about her own life. That's the kind of book I like to assign!


Three of the four of us, chez Selinger, are working on fitness goals this summer: specifically, we're trying to get to 100 consecutive pushups, using a handy book by the fellow who does this website. I'm up to 103, spread across seven sets--no more than 31 in a row, though. Supposed to try 37 in a row on Friday. We'll see.

I'm also doing Zumba three or four times a week, at an hour a pop. That was how I got the IASPR talk written, too, come to think of it: one hour of writing a day, then stop, no matter how much or how little I'd done. I wonder if I can structure my days that way more often, as the summer goes on: an hour of this, an hour of that. Haven't managed it so far, but I did get in some laps yesterday, and some extended sessions on the guitar. Working on basics--major scales, for example--and on learning some four-note, jazzier chords. Major 7ths, 6ths and such. Always wanted to know those.


Inbox down to a half-dozen messages. A lot of work to be done, but today will mostly be about getting ready for the IASPR trip: errands, printing, packing, etc. After that--the getting ready, and maybe the trip itself--a new phase of the summer begins.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Numbering Days

My friend Mark recently posted about his moderate, middle-aged ambition that "perhaps by 50 (and I still have a few years before then) I can know the canon of English poetry as well as any of my peers."

This got me thinking about my own countdown to 50, which doesn't feel to me like a matter of years, though it is, but a matter of days.

How many days? I checked. And without spilling the beans on my birthdate online, let's just say, it's about 900.

Of those, 78 are left in this summer, for me. (For my kids, it's only 63.)

So--what am I going to do with them? And, more important, how am I going to get my 15-year-old son to do something with his days, so that I don't go crazy watching him veg on Facebook and Fail Blog? Boy needs a project, but more than that, he needs to know that he needs a project--and that's something that I can't teach or tell him, anymore.

Summer updates, coming soon to a moribund blog near you!