Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Waves

The past few days have been speeding and mixing up in a way which reminds me of The Waves by Virginia Woolf.

I read this novel a long time ago, during the spring of my sophomore year of college. I don't remember much about it except vague impressions which are artifacts of that time in my life. The waves on my mind then were photons and electrons following counterintuitve rules about time and space. These got all tied up in the novel for me, what with the train lengthening as is slows approaching the station (special relativity) and other phrases evoking the two-slit diffraction pattern, the Pauli exclusion principle, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. And the drama in my life at that time got mixed in, too. And so when I lose my grip on time and structure, I find myself thinking of The Waves.

Somewhere around Tuesday I entered my waves-world. I've been working on so many things that I have 11 books that I'm in the midst of reading; I tend to have at least five of them with me at any time. I've been working on my research, other research, planning my courses. I've scraped almost 25 linear feet of old window glazing. Sleep has been optional. I've been surviving on coffee, kim-chee, popsicles, and cake. I can't remember exactly what it was that I did the other day or even which day I'm thinking of. Any ideas which I've had but which did not get written down are gone. So much to do, but time has dislocated.

Timothy called not too long ago to ask about how I resolved my teaching schedule. He didn't find my new schedule as absolutely super as I find it, and he's wondering if something is wrong. And there seems not to be any good way to explain the ebb and flow of my life. This is the time for writing things up, for putting existing ideas into words. For advancing a plan. This is the chance to glimpse the exceptional. Times like this are rare. A special gift. And like a stretch of hot and humid weather, this will break, too.