What is Quality?

Greek for "excellence"

Greek for “excellence”

The school was what could euphemistically be called a “teaching college.” At a teaching college you teach and you teach and you teach with no time for research, no time for contemplation, no time for participation in outside affairs. Just teach and teach and teach until your mind grows dull and your creativity vanishes and you become an automaton saying the same dull things over and over to endless waves of innocent students who cannot understand why you are so dull, lose respect and fan this disrespect out into the community. The reason you teach and you teach and you teach is that this is a very clever way of running a college on the cheap while giving a false appearance of genuine education.

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Texas ice and snowfall accumulation managed to eliminate the first two days of school this week, and ended today’s at noon. I took my philosophy class out into the courtyard for a few minutes, because they wanted to see the fat snowflakes filtering through the pines. As they pranced about in the winter wonderland, I looked at this pristine sheet of white on one of the benches, and decided to write in Greek uncials the word we translate as “excellence.” It’s a word that has driven me for years, elusive in its scope, yet always attractive with its possibilities.

I posted the Robert Pirsig quote because for a week now I’ve been dulled and neutered, not so much by teaching, but by grading, and I’m still not out from under the pile. But I resolve to blow away the last bit of grading this weekend so I can figure out where I am and what I want to do next. Leisure has been out of reach, and purpose has been even further, and I feel a deep dissatisfaction with this (no, I don’t want to post a whiny blog!). All of this is just to say: I’ll revisit quality this weekend in my art, my reading, my writing and my music. I’ve been bereft of quality due to a plethora of tasks, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. It’s time to get back to things that matter.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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