Things, Things and More Things


I’ve been in my office at UnNamed College for just about ten years.  It’s packed to the ceiling with teaching materials: literally thousands of teaching handouts I’ve created over the years, book samples of all kinds, small demo paper sculptures and samples, plaster molds and other armature materials, materials and tools for bookmaking demonstrations, and reference books; as well as artwork and gifts from generations of students, visiting artists and colleagues who are now mostly long-gone.

Now, all faculty offices are being moved to a bright shiny new stable of much smaller enclosures, in a building down the street.  I’ve got to sort through everything, and divide it into:

(1) Things that go to the new office (not much, since I don’t actually teach in that building).

(2) Things that I will need to teach my spring classes; for those I will have a shelf and a filing cabinet drawer in an space in the building where my current office is, where I do teach. This, and a single computer, will be shared by all faculty. None of us will have a private on-site space. Oh, and I’ll have a personal flat file drawer in one of the studios.

(3) Things that need to come home with me because they will be useful for future endeavors, or because they have other value to me (like the art), plus furniture and lamps and other things I brought in originally, when the school didn’t buy such things for the non-tenured.

(4) Materials and tools that belong to the school that have always been kept in my office.

(5 and 6) Things to give away and Things to throw away.

Add a seventh task: making space in my home office, bindery or storage for what will come home, before it arrives.  The deadlines?  December 15th for the move to the new office, and I’ve promised to be out of the old one by the 19th.  My final class is on December 12. It is the sorting, not the actual moving, that will take up monumental amounts of time, and that needs to be done during the last two weeks of the semester.

So, in addition to the usual insanity of the end of the semester, holiday-type obligations, 1000 letters of reference to write and a huge mountain of application deadlines, I’ve got this move.  But, I don’t know how to effectively help people learn to make and/or manipulate Things without Things to show, and I probably wouldn’t be teaching such Things if I didn’t make Things myself, and it takes a lot of Things to make my Things…


3 thoughts on “Things, Things and More Things

  1. OMG!!!! They are MOVING all y’all off-site??! Wow. That makes no sense at all to me. But then again, it perfectly describes it…all the teachers being taken away from the school. What a huge task. And smaller offices? Yikes. Good that you get to sort early but still annoying to move just to move out again. I always think of you when I clean and consider things that might later be useful as teaching aids, b/c you are truly the master of using things to help teach how to make things!!

  2. your academic life seems seriously fluxed up lately.

    as for “stuff,” here’s the first few lines of Bye Buy

    The Man keeps knocking
    Down my front door
    Wants to sell me some
    Sorta social spore
    Says grits & groceries
    Ain’t enough
    In the modern life
    You need much more stuff

  3. Oh, boy. I would dread the spectre of moving as I too am an avid collector of Things. The only thing I have more of than things, is Stuff. And it’s hard to go thru things without stopping to look at all your stuff, especially when you’re purging/culling/sorting and you have to think about it all. But it’s moving out moving on moving up, right? A hug to you and happy turkey day off.

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