This past week I finished the first full semester of my MFA program--I think I now have a total of 12 credits (counting this semester and the summer intensive residency). In total I wrote three essays (totaling 52 pages), read ten books, and wrote ten short papers about the books. The first two essays were personal essays and the last was a critical essay. For the critical essay, I chose to write on a topic related to Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture, a book which I commented on a bit last October. It’s been a lot of work but a good kind of work. A kind of work that I think Pieper would approve of as bordering on the leisurely, an attempt to go beyond the work-a-day world.
As Pieper wrote:
This is why the ability to be 'at leisure' is one of the basic powers of the human soul. Like the gift of contemplative self-immersion in Being, and the ability to uplift one's spirits in festivity, the power to be at leisure is the power to step beyond the working world and win contact with those superhuman, life-giving forces that can send us, renewed and alive again, into the busy world of work. Only in such authentic leisure can the 'door into freedom' be opened out of the confinement of that 'hidden anxiety,' which a certain perceptive observer has seen as the distinctive character of the working world, for which 'employment and unemployment are the two poles of an existence with no escape.'
Between medical writing work and school work there hasn’t been as much creative energy or time left over to put into this blog so I think the writing here has been a bit thin in recent months. Thanks to those of you who have continued to be regular readers despite that.
The next semester starts again after the first of the year. I’m relating to my sons in a new way: the pressure of homework assignments and the relief of a break in between terms.