Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Still a bundle of nerves, I'm afraid. I was up until 4am last night cleaning the apartment, which might tell you something about my current state of mind. I find that I'm spendng a tremendous amount of time with my iPod headpones in, buffering myself behind a soundscape of Zen flutes, South African jive, and Steely Dan.

I think I have stage fright.

Disarmingly candid comments from a prof recalling his first trip to August Medieval University led me to confess that I have felt dangerously close to hyperventilating while reading guide books. After all, a brilliant and rather eccentric philologist/fantasist rode his bicycle through the quads there! Its founding-place was designated by a chastity-protecting bolt of lightning! It's been a hotbed of Scholasticism and Wycliffites! It's all full of spires and punting and things! I've managed to get by for this long, but surely, against this backdrop, I'll finally be revealed as being not only an imposter, but also a mere tourist and an uncouth colonial. Might as well show up chewing on a piece of hay straw.

Fortunately, some kind souls have helped to tutor me in the ways of the August Medieval University Library and the Repository of National Gloriousness, so maybe a merciful librarian or two will let me watch the real scholars work and look at a few things nobody thinks very much of.

Meanwhile, I did manage to find both of my overdue and recalled books, though not before incurring hefty fines. And Acre's Grad Student Law of Library Recall (for details, see my last post's comments) gave way to the Grad Student Law of Library Shelving. This, of course, means that all the books I most need to consult for manuscript listings are mysteriously absent from the library shelves, although the catalog lists them as being present and accounted for.

And let's not even talk about what arrangements for this trip are doing to my bank account. Let's just . . . not.

Unsurprisingly, I'm about as fun to be around as a pinata full of yellowjackets these days. On the other hand, I do feel as though I'm doing the most honestly productive work of the past four months. So that's something.

Yesterday's extremely well timed massage appointment, a gift from Beautiful Boss, involved a diminutive woman pounding away at a constellation of knots in my back--one of them, apparently, was about the size of my fist. I felt like something out of "Intimations of Immortality" afterward; trailing clouds of glory and all that shit. After my concerned masseuse ordered me to sign up for yoga classes, post haste, I promptly went to the spa's "quiet room" and slept for about three hours. Lovely.

And then, in the evening, my muscles woke up and rioted on me, prompting me to cast a lustful eye on a bottle of Cyclobenzaprine before settling for a quartet of Motrin tablets. My back still hurts today, though it's better, and I think I might just be an inch or two taller.

One thing's for sure: by the time I get back from two and a half weeks of hunching over books and manuscripts, a yoga class or two will definitely be in order.