I have an office! It's all mine! It's not the one that it looked like I was going to get when I visited in June, because apparently the department has been playing Musical Offices, but this one has a view of trees too, so it's all good. They are dogwoods, and they will be pretty in the spring.
There's still a bunch of stuff left over from the previous occupant -- some files with student work, a bunch of literature anthologies and a science fiction novel that looks like it might be interesting, and a Canadian flag over the door (I may have to do something about that). The computer is his, too, and so far it refuses to acknowledge me as its new mistress. The A/C window unit is entirely too feeble to make a dent in the heat. Still ... office! My own!
I've been thinking a bit about office doors. Back when I was an undergrad, I used to like to look at them when I signed on for a class so I could get a feel for the instructor's personality. One of my favorite profs had Doonesbury cartoons about grade inflation. I went back for a visit in February and they were still there -- a little older and yellower, and they had been very yellow even when I was a freshman. The children's lit specialist in my grad department had a brightly colored poster titled "Telling About Books," with lots of happy multiracial children lounging around reading, and a list of questions: "Who was your favorite character? Which picture in the book do you like best? How did you feel about the end of the story?" Ah, if only things stayed that simple...
So anyway, I think office doors are important, for the same reason that the title of a paper is important -- you don't want your office to be the equivalent of one of those freshman essays entitled "Analyzation of a Poem" or "Essay #3." So I thought I'd do what one of my office-mates did when I was in grad school, and put up poetry. There needs to be more public poetry in the world. I've been going for a universities-and-teaching theme, like this:
In a Classroom
By Adrienne Rich
Talking of poetry, hauling the books
arm-full to the table where the heads
bend or gaze upward, listening, reading aloud,
talking of consonants, elision,
caught in the how, oblivious of why:
I look in your face, Jude,
neither frowning nor nodding,
opaque in the slant of dust-motes over the table:
a presence like a stone, if a stone were thinking
What I cannot say, is me. For that I came.
And like this:
Turning Thirty, I Contemplate Students Bicycling Home
By Rita Dove
This is the weather of change
and clear light. This is
weather on its B side,
askew, that propels
the legs of young men
in tight jeans wheeling
through the tired, wise
spring. Crickets too
awake in choirs
out of sight, although
I imagine we see
the same thing
and for a long way.
This, then, weather
to start over.
her skirts of sulky
what is and shall not be....
the complaint of these