Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mme. Defarge Turns Stenographer

Last June, when I first launched this blog, I was really pleased with the moniker that I came up with for it. The title seemed to capture something about my persona as a professor-who-knits, and since then quite a number of people have told me that they like it too. But now, alas, I fear that it has become a bit of a misnomer, at least temporarily. For I have been asked to serve this term as "Secretary to the Faculty", which means that I will be sitting up front with a laptop during the monthly faculty meetings, taking the minutes, rather than in the back row with my yarn & needles.

I considered devising a code that would allow me to record notes IN MY KNITTING, so that I could do both things at once — very much à la Mme. Defarge — but despite its sinister appeal, that idea was rejected in the name of efficiency and professionalism. As a simple attendee in a meeting, knitting really does help me pay attention, but when it comes to keeping an official transcript of what was said, I type faster than I knit, and using the computer allows me to skip the step of transcribing written notes. Or knitted ones, for that matter. Besides, all wicked comments aside (although academics are famous for their wicked comments, especially in the back row of faculty meetings), I really *don't* need any shrouds, which is what la chère Madame claimed she was knitting. How grimly appropriate, n'est-ce pas? Given that she was sending the Enemies of the Revolution to the guillotine. But I digress...

Secretary to the Faculty or not, I have no intention of renaming the blog. For one thing, my new role applies only to the monthly meetings of the entire college faculty. I can still knit at other professorial gatherings (lectures, workshops, smaller sessions, etc.). Nor is this a permanent assignment. Someone else will take over eventually, although I can probably keep doing it for as long as I like, because there's never an over-abundance of volunteers, human nature being what it is. Right now it's my turn to take the minutes, and I will do so to the best of my ability. Yet I will also remain the Faculty Meeting Knitter, with every intention of reclaiming my seat in the back row when the time comes. Allons enfants de la Patrie...

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