I’m sitting at Scripps College in Claremont waiting to give a paper at the regional MLA conference (PAMLA: Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association).
This morning I taught church school, was lector during the service, stayed briefly for a potluck, and then took off my church hat and out on my academic hat to head to Claremont for this conference. Busy day! Had it not been local, the conference would have been my whole weekend, but as it is, I’m just fitting my session in–kind of how I’ve done a lot of my academic life lately, like since I met Computerguy. There are people who thought once I got married I wouldn’t bother finishing my doctorate. At least I did that, but sometimes I wonder if I had focused more on graduate school, the academy, and scholarship, if I would have a job or something akin to a job. But I can’t really go there. And I like my life. (and I haven’t forgotten I’m teaching a class next quarter.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about vocation. I want the equivalent of a medieval clerk (pronounced clark, same word basically as our cleric), Chaucer included on I the Canterbury Tales. The church and the academy were not separated–no secular humanist academy in the middle ages. Learning was done in the church, so those who learned to read and write, who were the scholars and academics, were also generally in minor church orders. They weren’t the presiding priests, but they were part of the church structure. It was a both/and kind of thing. I could do that.
Of course that was the men. The whole nun thing was entirely different. Even my beloved Dame Julian never learned to read and write…