Monday, December 12, 2005

In dreaming, truth?

A couple of nights ago I dreamt I was talking with the dean of the university's library, with whom I have generally had a good collegial relationship.

Teaching, I told her in the dream, was like getting married and divorced twice in every year.

On waking, I thought that that simile was a little overstated. Over the top. Overblown.

Granted, I can think of at least two students whom I hope that I will never see again. Both have the quality of being psychic-energy sinks. In a big lecture class of a hundred bodies you would not know it, but in a small seminar or workshop of eight or ten, their very presence seems to lower the temperature in the room.

Then too I wonder if I could somehow have done more with them. But in the case of one of the students, another professor in her major department told me that he felt he could not teach her anything, so I wasn't the only one. In the other's case, the chair of his major department said frankly, "We're just babysitting him."

Yet was I too unfocused? Stretched too thin? Thinking too much about my own writing, about The Pomegranate, about some special project for my dean? (Standard teacher self-criticism, all of it.)

Now the wheel has turned, and it is time to think about spring-semester classes. Last spring I lost two months to the flu, feeling only half-alive through February and March. All I want is a semester that goes well without nasty surprises.

None of this explains why my Dreaming Self chose the dean of the library as the other party.



Blogger Steven Tucker said...

Excellent post. I've never had any insight into the dreams of others, but excellent post.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Sterling said...

The library is a place where you go to look things up. It's where you gather your information. The dean of the library is someone you have gotten along with, perhaps you might view her as someone who has a clue, even if she's not someone who you would normally go to for advice in the real world.

Getting married and divorced is tumultuous, even if it is on happy terms both ways. In teaching you get close to people and then you send them off -- sometimes happily, sometimes with resentment. But it's a rollercoaster, either way. Perhaps you were hoping the dean of the library might help you "look up" a solution to the emotional turmoil.

10:11 PM  

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