Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Books as Symbols of Our Lives

Books can symbolize so much, even in the small events of everyday life. Let me give you an example. A couple of days ago, I went to my department office to check my mailbox, and found three books there. One was a book I had lent a new colleague, and she was returning; this symbolized to me the give and take, the mentoring and collegiality, of our department and of my colleagues. The second was an academic book that had been sent to me by the publisher as a thank-you for having reviewed the book proposal and sample chapters for that book, a couple of years ago. This symbolized the service we academics all do for our professional communities, a way to contribute to the larger academic work we engage in. The third was not actually a book, but a copy of a book cover, plus an acknowledgements page, left there for me by a USF colleague in a different department (Philosophy), one with whom I had written regularly during the fall semester, when he was finishing up his book, of which he has just received a preview copy. During breaks from writing, we had talked quite a bit about our respective projects, and I particularly remember discussing his proposed title, with which he was struggling. He was kind enough to include me in his acknowledgements, about which I felt pleased and honored. This cover and page symbolized the faculty writing culture at my university, and the rich and enjoyable collegial relationships I have with many faculty members in different departments there. Something about the confluence of finding these three books at the same time in my mailbox reminded me of the wonderful web of professional and personal connections I have at my university and elsewhere, and for a moment I savored that feeling and thought about how fortunate I am to be doing this kind of work I love: teaching, researching, writing, reviewing, working with colleagues and students both at my institution and all over the country and world.
Site Meter