Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bleak House

Photo: the approximate colour of my new office at Bleak House.

When Dalhousie campus expanded with the construction of the McCain building, which is where most of the arts & social science programs are now housed, the buildings that those departments used to be in--old houses dotted around campus on the various side streets that lead onto University Ave.--got taken over as study spaces and offices by various teaching assistants, graduate students, etc. Bleak House is ours. For all of you who read Dickens, you know where the name came from, and it's pretty accurate. Bleak House is, well, a bit bleak. It's old, labyrinthine, musty, badly lit, and mouse ridden. It is also my home away from home for the next three months.

Now that it's time to get down to the business of finishing my thesis, I need a home base on campus where I can keep all of my books and articles, someplace that I can make myself a cup of tea, lock the door, and really do some good work. Home is not the place to do that, for reasons mentioned in previous posts, and working the Killam library means that I would have to schlep with me any books that I needed to use that day. As I honestly don't know what books I'm going to need to use on any given day of my thesis, it's not exactly a practical solution. So, here I am, set up in a corner desk in a VERY yellow room at Bleak House, and I'm quite enjoying it. I've got bookshelves, a lamp, some photos from home, all of my books, a kitchen where I can heat up my lunch and make coffee, and a big desk that I can spread out on. There are four desks in my office, but the people who normally use them haven't been here this week, so I've had the whole room to myself. Yes, I do believe that mice live in the sofa (I'm not about to sit down and try that theory out, although I am one of the fortunate few who think that mice are cute, rather than disgusting) and the bathroom is apparently so gross that it's best to go over to the library and use theirs, but I'm here, and I'm being productive. It works for me.

I apologize for the shoddy quality of my posting so far this week. Honestly, all I've been doing is reading books about Northrop Frye (finished The Bush Garden this morning, now I'm onto The Legacy of Northrop Frye), editing my two conference papers (gotta get those done today), and working on a statement of teaching philosophy for George Brown college. The hubby started studying for the bar exams on Monday, and he's not going to be any fun until June, so productivity it is. My big excitement was going to Staples yesterday to stock up on pens and Post-It tabs. However, I will have much more interesting goings-on to write about after the MA colloquium on Friday and my weekend in Sackville, so stay tuned for that. Until then, I'll try to find something fun to put up, and thanks for your patience.