Monday, April 17, 2017
Tragedy and Being "Research Productive."
When tragedy strikes, what is most important is to care for yourself, and if nearby others can care a bit for you, ask.
A friend described her situation:
I am living my life post-mortem, and that I'm supposed to fit in the clothes and shoes, eat the food, live the life, of a person who is now dead, as if i am an imposter unable to connect with a person whose place i have taken.
The description is poignant and concrete. She is eloquent in talking about herself, with a genuine of literary and psychological insight. It may be useful try a diary or a memo about how you feel, if only to write such wonderful prose.
People are always saying something like: just snap out of it, you'll get over it, get down to working--you'll be fine. They do not acknowledge tragedy, and wounds that won't just heal--the wounds are chronic although you do learn to live with them and go on, eventually.
I do believe it is good to read, to think, to write oneself notes about what's on your mind, future projects, etc. But real work demands a level of presence that may not be available. In a culture of "research productive faculty," there's insufficient room for tragedy or thinking that takes time.
That I know all of what I say here does not insulate me from believing I should be able to just produce.