Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Doors

I want my old door back. Sure, it was worn out, but who could tell? Handouts advertising literary activities on and off campus were taped up on it. A postcard of a Turkish tulip sat underneath another postcard of a group of monkeys sitting in a tree. Above the postcard, I'd posted a blurb from Shambhala Sunmagazine: "Are we living authentically?" it asked, the word "authentically" stopping above a monkey who had slapped his paw on his brow. And then there were my office hours, in Lucida calligraphy, on a sheet of colored paper.

And now there is a new door. Varnished, cool, darkly elegant. So.Not.Me. But identical to everyone else's. In place of using our doors, we were given tiny little metal paper holders, one to a customer, and now that's where my office hours, still Lucida, still on a colored sheet of paper, hang. Alone.

The new doors were given to us as part of a renovation of our building, and we got new office furniture in the deal. The furniture I like. Just about every piece is on wheels, and I can move things around my office to suit me. But the doors rankle me-- especially because we were told not to put things on them in order to protect the varnish. From what? Library of Congress posters? Flyers from the Writer's Center? Literary postcards? Cartoons about school and writing? Flyers advertising the college's writing center, or tutoring center or poetry slam? Life?

Good grief. The other reason is that the college is trying to give us a more "professional" look. I'm a college professor, for goodness sake! Our doors are where we post things that either specifically for our students or specifically express who we are. In a sense, our doors humanize us to our students and, to some extent, to each other. We are professors: we profess; confess; impress; address; redress and yes, we assess.

And yet, in calmer moments I will agree that not all of my colleagues have posted anything -- either on the old doors or the new ones. In even calmer moments, I'll admit that not everyone has the same urge to express herself by putting things on her door, but we're a sizable expressive bunch, and we span the curriculum.

So this post, the very first on this new blog, is a rant about my office door. In moments of a near-meditative -bliss kind of calm, I ask myself "A door? You're carrying on about a door?" Umm. Yeah. Until I can hoist a corkboard onto the door, I'll be complaining. How can I support the arts in my area or college, if I have no- where to post the flyers? Where else can I tape up drafts of my poetry for comments? Or messages to my students? My door is part of how I communicate at work, and I want it back.I want to be authentically me.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger clc said...

We went through this for a while in my former department when we moved into a newly-constructed wing. I put things up anyway. I had to. My door is me.

I use my door and the area around it largely to express who I am politically; my door and the surrounding area scream out my belief in labor, liberalism, and free thought (it helps that my office mate thinks the same way!).

I think you should decorate your door and make them tell you to take it down ;-)

At 7:41 PM, Blogger jocalo said...

Yeah, I say break down the doors to higher education; liberate the professors' doors; don't let this be "The End", my friend.


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