Jan 032013

The first days of the new year are traditionally dedicated to resolutions, promises one does to herself in order to be a better person, to perform better, to overcome bad habits, etc., in short to finally “do the right thing”…  I’ve never been very good at this: I always find it difficult to settle on a few resolutions that seem worth the try (too trivial, too hard, too …), when – without much illusion about myself – I am sure that by the end of the first week of January, I will have forgotten and settled back in my old ways. This year though is a little different. I’m faced not with the challenge of  vague resolutions but with the necessity of attaining a goal: to complete a manuscript before the first days of 2014.

On one hand it is scarier – something is really at stake, and self-esteem does not have much to do with it – on the other hand it’s concrete and a goal  possible to reach with some work and will-power. Besides keeping myself seated in front of a computer for hopefully a couple of hours a day, I need to limit distractions, the most dangerous being for me serendipitous reading. Focus, especially regarding reading matters, is certainly the key to my effort. And it is the most difficult part for my curious mind who loves to wander off, to go explore unrelated (understand unrelated to anything I am researching or teaching) volumes, and resists to limit itself  to “authorized” reading..

What am I reading right now? Northanger Abbey, In America and  As Always Julia: the Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. One is for a class I teach in the spring, one is for my research project, and one if for pure pleasure… Take a guess…