wordinista: (Shelley - Defence of Poetry)
Time is such a funny thing. Response, reaction, reflex are all associated with the immediate -- we absorb information as it happens, and we respond dependant upon that information. It usually happens so quickly -- immediately, really. We get news, we react. And when we get news that is not recent, that reaction, however justifiably strong it may be, feels... wrong, somehow, because the while the information and reaction are immediate, the event that occurred isn't, making strong emotions feel somehow... inappropriate.

I discovered something the night before last that hit me hard -- but the event itself happened two years ago.  This feels almost like an exceptionally delayed reaction, but I realize it isn't.  I didn't know she was gone, and somehow that makes it hurt more.

Dr. Betty T. Bennett was, without a doubt, my greatest influence during my graduate school years.  She was a fascinating woman, an amazing professor, and a devoted scholar.  I was lucky enough to take two classes with Dr. Bennett, despite the fact that I went to an entirely different university.  (In fact, in order to take the second class, I dropped a class I was registered in with a GWU professor, who apparently thought I was touched in the head for choosing to drive to American for a class on Gothic Literature when I could bask  in her presence instead, never mind the fact that my thesis was on Gothic Lit, and she as a Post-colonialist scholar. But I digress.)

Dr. Bennett was uncompromising and demanding; she was a woman who made you work, but the outcome was always worth it, always rewarding.  She made me question a text in ways I hadn't before, and she was always willing to help a student if they were stuck -- I remember once when I emailed her at ten PM with a question I didn't expect to get answered the next day.  She wrote back immediately, and, for the next hour, emails flew back and forth until something clicked and I suddenly got it.  She was always good at that -- she never gave me the answer, but she asked me the right questions that led me to figure it out for yourself.  And then, when I finally got it, when the light bulb went on, and everything made sense, she'd give this little half-smile that seemed to say, "See? Knew you could do it."

I was in my second year of grad school, the 2001-2002 year, when she was diagnosed.  When she cancelled the first class, we were surprised, but the first time someone stepped in and covered for her, I think we all knew something was seriously wrong.  For the rest of the semester, we met at her house and had class in her living room.  About half way through the term, she told me she wouldn't be able to fulfill her role as a reader for my thesis, but still returned my first draft to me with notes all over it (I eventually rewrote it completely).

There are some people you meet, for however brief a period, whose influence is profound, and it's not the amount of time you knew them, but the quality of that time.  I will never be half the scholar she was, but what scholar I am is thanks to her.
wordinista: (Dreaming Dragons)
bronte in a box
wordinista: (Hatori/Mayu Someday)
I've been having very strange dreams lately. Not bad ones, just... weirdly vivid ones that leave me with an unbelievable warm and fuzzy feeling.

Cut for weird dreams that may be TMI for some... )


wordinista: (Default)

April 2011

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