I went to high school right at that pivotal moment when those who argued to require students to memorize poems lost that argument. However, lucky for me, some of those teachers persisted.
I remember one of the poems I memorized. It still resonates with me:
“Dream Song 14” by John Berryman
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) “Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no
Inner Resources.” I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,
who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.
Clio’s recent posting about “living with these three goblins of dread, demoralization, and futility” reminded me of the poem. But while Clio describes classic burn out syndrome, I’m more bored. I’m heavy bored.
And I’ve tried to fight it.
Professionally: I’ve revamped my composition courses with new assignments and new approaches to evaluating student writing. I’ve volunteered to serve on not one, but TWO newly formed, potentially powerful, task forces. I’m trying to focus on a writing project (and I have so many fabulous ideas). I’m spending time planning and daydreaming about one of my favorite literature courses that I will be teaching spring quarter.
Personally: I’ve signed up for another half marathon and will once again join the weekly “training” group with what is usually a great group of women. I’ve added new novels to my Kindle, ones that I’m excited about reading. I make sure I’m staying social, and not crawling under the covers with chocolates and Mad Men as Clio describes (though frankly, that sounds utterly wonderful).
Seasonal Affective Disorder? Perhaps. But the weather is oddly spring-like these days.
Our college will soon have several administrative-type positions open, and I am being actively courted by a variety of people to apply. I mean actively: phone calls, emails, asides in the hallway, chats over wine during happy hour, invitations for more chats during happy hour. It is, naturally, quite flattering, and I’m finding myself somewhat intrigued.
And after spending the last 2 days grading papers for 8 hours a day, I find myself very, very interested.
But in my current state of utter boredom, my obvious absence of inner resources, do I have what it takes to even make it through the application process? Would a new position really save me from my boredom? Or, as Berryman’s mother says, do I just need to go find some damned inner resources?