Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

Will Break Own Heart For Food

Posted by vlorbik on August 3, 2009

Now, that’s not to say you can’t get in a groove while at the same time making a buck. Heck, the feeling of doing something difficult well, all by itself, has probably consoled me from time to time on every job I’ve ever had: momentary glimpses of true spiritual freedom even amidst the crappiest most humiliating conditions I’ve yet had to endure. Not that I’ve had such lousy jobs or anything; work is hell is all. Everyone knows this.

In fact, I bring this up to make the opposite point: “Flow” occurs for me whenever I actually “do math” (work creatively on math problems; I don’t do much of this [because it’s hard to do and harder still by far finding somebody who cares]), quite often in tutoring one-to-one, and sometimes even in lecturing.

Okay, pretty often even then. I’ve just been incredibly blessed. Like I’ve been going around saying, for twentyfour years I made a living saying true things as clearly as I knew how… and quite often feeling myself getting better at it in the bargain.

But there was this one time a couple quarters ago in the 148 class of VME‘s heyday when I noticed that several complicated… and correct, and maybe even sort of witty… sentences had just, well, flowed out of me even as felt myself to be thinking entirely of other things (also related to that very lecture; things like what question to consider next and where I wanted to be standing when I asked it). Boy it was great. It must’ve come from the quasi-obsessive attention I’d been devoting to that class by teaching three sections while blogging about it. And the moment was over as soon as I noticed it of course. But still.

I have… but rarely… sometimes slipped into an “improvise rhymes for singing with guitar” groove. Many rappers get darn good at this kind of thing from what I understand; “improv” comedy is something similar I think. You just keep going even though there’s no time to think and because you’ve practiced or trust god the right words come without thinking.

Now, it’s an objective fact or as close as we get in this business that the two (small, five-day-a-week) sections I felt myself “flowing” in much the most that quarter, did worse on the (departmental) final exam than the bigger, less engaged, two-day-a-week afternoon class that had much less attention from me. Naturally I take this to mean that the students in that bigger class started out closer to those the course was designed for (rather than believing that I’d’ve served the students I was working so devotedly with better by not trying so damn hard to make it right and just coast along and phone it in like the boss wants anyhow). But it’s troubling just the same.

Hey, I’m late. Gotta go.

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