Sprung spring not quite

Posted by in Personal Travails

The subtle sounds of spring are quietly entering the streets of Montreal: birds chirping, ice melting under sun beams, the chatter of many people hitting the pavement. But alas, it is not quite sprung. It is still dreadfully cold here and save for the warm rays coming through winter glass, the trappings of winter remains tightly bound round my body, mind and soul. It is that time of the year again, the last cragging gasps of the long, cold, white and gray Quebec winter and I am so ready to change the scenery. A sluggish work ethic has set in and made home in my head, my arms and legs. Even my tongue is too tired to contort into shapes that keep my personality a little more interesting than a fern in a corner store. It is the long drawn-out gray days of a long stint of work. I’ve been studying now steadily, without much break, for five years. Before that four years with summer breaks. I’ve completed my course work in my PhD at Carleton and I am so exhausted from the cycle of reading and writing that I’m questioning the very foundation I’ve been building for myself as a future professional scholar – a hard working steady-as-it-goes member of the academy.

And then there is Cinema Politica. The project that has consumed Svetla and I like a lifeforce that needs our lives, all of our lives, to function and flourish. Our social and scholarly lives have become so indellibly intertwined with this sprawling beast that it is inseparable from most of everything we do. This is due in large part to the way the project has taken off like wild fire this semester. There are now 40 active locals in Canada and a handful scattered around the globe. All require time, energy, attention. Some need much more of our time than others, but in all, the network has grown to a project that would—in a normal scenario—require at least one full time staff and one part time, to say nothing of a small battery of volunteers. This is why we need to get more funding and move Cinema Politica out of our home and into an office and hire someone part time, or scale back the scope so that we can concentrate on our other work.

Ahhhh, burnout – it’s always so predictable but I never seem prepared. So these days the hours go by with me fretting over my upcoming 700 page book with Tom Waugh and Michael Brendan Baker, my TA sessions, my Second Comprehensive exam, two conference papers in May….and oh yes, that nagging unresolved question: what the hell am I going to definitively tackle—what philosophical question as Ira Wagman would say—for the next two years of my life as I research and write my PhD thesis? I’ve got an idea, but I thought I would be much much closer at this point. I just hope I figure it out before we go to Europe in June…