I am so tired today. These are the days when I, somehow famous for an intense work ethic, can accomplish nothing. I sit and daydream, mind moving through poetry and refusing everything save the strange riddles of art.
Strange half-dreams, sitting and imagining: favorite poems, favorite works of art. Allowing them to speak to one another in my weary mind. Dante to Eliot. Eliot to Caravaggio. Bernini to Dante. Sophocles to Rilke. I remember their works, their words, their colors, their shadows. Re-visit. Know them better. Artist speaks to artist, cor ad cor, and I stand in the background – learning.
I refuse to call myself an artist. I’m an academic. I learn.
This is my gentle reprieve. The waking-weary hours of a restless mind, caught between the contradictory burdens of beauty and of truth. These twin worries of mine, twin loves that should go together, and yet whose divorce continues its sundering advance. Sometimes I feel as if my own mind might split, and I hold my head in my hands to prevent its fracture.
Worn days, when I cannot seem to hold it together.
The job market is exhausting. After an onslaught of interviews, my thoughts have scattered into countless worries. Every interview was different, bent on tapping different skills. Though happy to have so many areas of interest for departments to latch onto, the experience leaves me with a vaguely schizophrenic feeling. Would they rather the language theorist, the Medieval metaphysician, the sacramental theologian? The student of German philosophy, the admirer of Western art, the… Well, it goes on.
Who will I be? And where?
I’m tired, and no longer sure what to do – except lose myself in commentaries on The Divine Comedy. I should be fixing a summary of Heidegger.
But I’d much rather puzzle over Beatrice than Dasein.
There is something in this restless fatigue that lends itself to art. I’m never sure what. I’m always too tired to guess. Art used to be that place I escaped to when theology became too much. When, I mean, when work became too much. Theology is my work. Or it becomes that way. Art, though: art was what I poured over when no one made me pour over anything. What I memorized without compulsion. My love for theology was always bound together with my sense of duty; art never was.
I lament that art is not quite an escape anymore. Not now that it is part of my portfolio. I lament this, though I understand why it had to be this way. Something about unique interests shaping scholarship. Something like that.
Still, these ghosts – Dante, Hopkins, Ovid, etc. – keep me company when I am too tired to work, and too tired to sleep.