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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Was thinking this morning, while washing the dishes, of how bored I was reading the first chapter of my dissertation. The thoughts there aren't bad, it's just that, for the most part, I have no real interest in them anymore. This is not entirely shocking to me - once I've thought through something, it seems to me that it must be the most obvious thing in the world, and why on earth would I want to keep thinking about something so obvious and, therefore, boring? As a friend of mine put it, "It's like eating food you've already chewed." That's pretty much what it felt like yesterday, slogging through Chapter One.

This made me a little sad, but wasn't particularly traumatizing. More disturbing to me was the overwhelming feeling that I haven't had a real thought in about a decade. I don't actually think that's true, but it's how I've been feeling. That's what came clear to me as I was washing dishes this morning.

Then, as I stared at the suds, it hit me - the class I want to teach is all about heroism (potentially modified by "spiritual," even if only to make it sound like something that belongs in the RS dept.). Heroism is the link between the seemingly disparate things bouncing around in my head as interesting things to think about and potentially cool things to teach. I jotted that down, along with a couple of comparisons and dichotomies that sprang to mind as well, then went back to the dishes, still turning over this new thing - tasting it, trying it out. Am I interested in heroism? I think maybe I am. I think I have been for a while, but haven't really framed it that way. Or maybe I'm just creating that narrative now, because it seems more orderly and acceptable than, "Hey! I want to think about this, now!"

The organizing interpretive question (I like those a lot) is, of course, what on earth (or elsewhere, given the some of the sources), that means. Is (spiritual) heroism religious? How so, or how not? How do contemporary representations relate, or not, to more traditional (classical?) ones? What, if anything, do Benedetta, Anne Marie, Job, Buffy, The Man and The Boy have in common?

So, maybe not so thoughtless after all. Nothing particularly new or earth shattering, but something to chew on.

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