Perversely, even though I hate it here in Scary City, I know that one of the things that makes it easier for me than it is for R is the fact that I am not there, in the house, where Mr. K and his movements and reactions were conditioned into my muscle memory. So that after he passed on, every time the doorbell rang, I would stiffen, waiting for him to bark. Coming in the door from outside, I would be waiting for the sounds of him coming over the greet me. Or I would be lying in bed and find myself turning over to look down and see him in his little bed. These were all rather awful bodily reactions in the aftermath of his death, as they only drove home his absence. I am sad that R has to deal with that alone.
Anyway, let me try to actually use this space to focus on something else for a little bit. It is probably good. Like the fact that tonight I am going to a movie. Juno.
I was called in as the university examiner for a thesis defense. The defense was postponed because I was away in Home City for Mr. Kasper. It is coming up, now. It is an MFA defense, not an MA. I don't work in the Fine Arts, obviously. I am an examiner because the theory that informs the candidate's work is the kind I work with, broadly speaking. There is an exhibition - the thesis exhibition - and then there is the written work, about two thirds of which is a theoretical meditation.
I am confused about how to evaluate/examine this piece of work. I am confused about the criteria. I presume they are different from the criteria used to evaluate an MA thesis, since for an MFA, the actual artistic work is the most important thing. So I assume that I am to tread lighter with the written work than I would if it were an MA? This becomes an issue because I don't think the written work is very strong - I would have serious reservations about it, were it an MA thesis.* But I suppose I am just to let it go, to ask the candidate some good, challenging questions that push their thinking - and leave it at that? Nobody seems to be able to answer this question. It's a little disconcerting.
* I feel like a little bit of an ass for even writing this, as this is the first time I've been involved in any kind of defense and I guess I'm still having impostor syndrome as a new tenure-track faculty member - who the hell am I to be a gatekeeper for grad students??