Thursday, January 14, 2016

DotMagis: Dusting

I'm back.  I packed up plants and books at the end of last May and moved home, with plans to write and to travel during a six-month sabbatical leave.  I wrote and wrote:  three essays for Nature Chemistry, an essay for the UN for the International Year of Light, an op-ed on the internet and pseudoscience for C&E News, 17 blog posts for my Culture of Chemistry blog and a solid first draft of a book of writing exercises for chemists.  Then I traveled, to talk in Texas and Rome and Barcelona. Lots of exciting things happened (two NPR interviews! new colleagues to collaborate with!)  And that was just the professional end of things — about which I have to submit a written formal report next week.

My other authorial persona tried out a few new things as well — writing a short piece of fiction about an encounter with Pope Francis, in two languages no less— though that wasn't part of my official plan for my sabbatical.

But yesterday I went back into my office for a full day, and today am working on writing not only that report, but also polishing up the syllabi for the three courses I will teach this spring (intro chem, physical chemistry and a first year graduate course on quantum mechanics), and finishing a letter of recommendation for a wonderful former student.

This shift from extraordinary and the ordinary has prompted me to do some tidying of my study and office, and to write a reflection on the spiritual arguments for not dusting for DotMagis.
Dusting reminds me that our daily life, even when unremarkable, is perhaps not so ordinary. As I step back into my teaching, into the very ordinary days of my life, I’m reminded to think twice about brushing off the infinite hiding within the immanent.
Read the rest at DotMagis.  Read all of Marilyn Nelson's science flecked poem about dusting and chemist and spiritual writer Mags Blackie's thoughts about her return to the everyday from sabbatical.

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