Friday, March 02, 2007


So this has been a week of perspective gaining. Orals reading (and meetings, and other work) were pretty rough this week -- in fact, it was one of the harder weeks I've had in grad school (though, thankfully, everything seemed to be back on miraculous track by Wednesday evening).

However, the best part of my graduate school experience -- the friends I've made while being here -- came to my aid. Today we had a bit of "group reading," in which a few of my friends who are also in process of reading for exams and I get together, together. As a side note, I'm into the Historia Ecclesia and will be posting a draft of my new rationale - on "Language, Religion and National Identity in England: Imagining (the) English ca. 900-1066 CE" - sometime this weekend. Anyway, at one point, I was lamenting the focus on minute detail that can get people so stressed out in Academia (there were reasons for this, but I don't think they really matter). And one of my two friends suggested that what was needed was a bit of perspective.

He phrased it this way: "We live the way we do [reading for a living and quibbling over minutiae], and 40 million people are dying of AIDS right now in Africa."

And suddenly, my difficulties and pains and anxieties of the Old English variety melt away. In the end, I'm just damn lucky. Not that I should be complacent in my work, its engagement with others or my relatively comfortable life as a graduate student. However. Recognizing how lucky I am, to live as and where I do now -- I hope I can use my good fortune to make the world around me. Regardless of how far out my admittedly small sphere of influence might extend -- that I live gratefully, and with an eye toward giving back, however I can find ways to do that.

In other news -- Christopher A. Jones gave a remarkable lecture for the ASSC at Princeton Thursday. I'm amazed at how fascinated I'm becoming with prose, and particularly with religious prose. And here I always thought I'd be working only on poetry.