UWaterloo English’s Linda Warley has been blogging about her half-sabbatical, which she is spending in Vienna (see above for proof). For those who’ve always wondered what English faculty do on sabbaticals, read on, as Linda has kindly allowed me to re-post this piece.
The Rhythm of Our Days
We have found our rhythm. We have approached sabbatical as writers approach their work: set a time of day and number of hours for working and then do something else for the rest of the day. Mornings are our best time for thinking and writing, so we get up early (which is no problem since the nearby church bells wake us up at 7:00 a.m.), fiddle about with correspondence, social media, and games. Shower. Eat breakfast. Begin.
Arlequino is reading plays written by Canadian soldiers in WWI for his next paper and also writing an external examiner’s report for an Australian PhD thesis. I am reading for and outlining a conference paper that I will give at the University of Brno, in the Czech Republic, at the beginning of February. The paper is going to be about Stories of the Road Allowance People, a well-known work of Metis literature. I am going to talk about what other critics have not really commented on: the fact that the text is multimodal (i.e. it is composed of words and also visual images—paintings—and music and voice—it comes packaged with a CD). I am thinking about how so much of indigenous literature is actually multimodal and how literary critics need to develop analytical approaches that can address their generic and formal complexities. We literary scholars do tend to be word-focused. I’m trying to extend my critical and theoretical apparatus beyond the word. I have done some of this thinking before—a paper on how an author uses photographs in her memoir of residential school experience, for example. I have done some work on personal web pages. One of my recent publications is on a graphic autobiography. This is my next step.
We are both going to the same conference, so next week is writing week for both of us. We have switched modes from being excited tourists to being professors on sabbatical in a lovely European city.
More church bells sound at noon. I have to explain. As is the case with many churches, the bells sound out the hour and the quarter hours. But at 7:00 a.m. and again at noon they go crazy and for what seem like several minutes. I suppose this is all about marking the time of day when it is a) time to get up and go to work; b) time to break for lunch; and c) time to go to church. One doesn’t need a watch here to know what time it is. That said, we have noticed a plethora of watch stores in this city. Odd.
In the afternoons we go on an outing somewhere. A museum. A park. A market. I will write about some of those visits in upcoming blog posts, but for now let me just give you a few photos.
This is what I brought with me for work. Shipped a box of books.
You can read more at her blog, https://ladyenglishprofessor.wordpress.com/.