I’ve been teaching two classes during our second summer session. One is a junior-level literature course on women and literature, the other a junior-level writing course on women and writing. We’ve just finished the fourth week of the session and have one more to do. I keep swearing to anyone who will listen that this has to be my last summer of teaching. It’s exhausting, which makes me cranky, and it’s keeping me from writing (both my scholarship and my blog).
The money’s pretty good, but I’m increasingly convinced that it’s just not worth it. I have career ambitions that aren’t ever going to happen until I get a second book finished. And my second book isn’t going to write itself. Plus, I’ve been doing a little work on an article when I steal a minute or two between classes and fits of exhaustion, and I’m definitely feeling some resentment that my teaching isn’t letting me get it done (which is obviously a bad thing to feel). So, I’m not planning on teaching next summer. Instead, I’m planning to write (and maybe visit the Alps).
But in the meantime, I’m teaching two classes. The writing course has been focused on women’s autobiographical writing. We started with Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and discussed whether we thought that it counted as an autobiography. We then read Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which is an autobiography and connects back to the issues of slavery and race that Behn raises. Our third book was Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
We spent one day on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s “White Glasses,” an essay that I absolutely love. In the right context (i.e., not near the end of a summer session), it’s a joy to teach. It’s an amazing piece of writing, in my opinion. And now we’re doing Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.
I was a little hesitant to teach Fun Home in this class. Of course one never knows for sure, but I assume that all of my students are straight. They’re also not English majors and may not even be particularly interested in reading great literature, which Fun Home is. So, I was worried about how they would respond.