A wave of anger washed over me, anger against myself, at my age at the time, that stupid lyrical age, when a man is too great a riddle to himself to be interested in the riddles outside himself and when other people (no matter how dear) are mere walking mirrors in which he is amazed to find his own emotions, his own worth. Yes, for fifteen years I’d thought of Lucie only as the mirror that preserved my image of those days!
–The Joke, Milan Kundera, 1982 (trans.)
The most difficult part of checking students’ written works is knowing where to begin followed by when to begin. Yes, the task calls for me to be unemotional and maintain that unaffected stance, but there are a few instances when I get swayed by a swell of powerful emotions, often good ones. And in some rare cases, bewilderment and it close relatives. Choosing the best words, strong but non-abrasive, used to be a challenge. However, after having done this for quite a time now, I learned to stop thinking about how the language of my comments will affect my students. Like white wine, critiques are best served chilled.
I cannot say I will finish checking all these before the next meeting, but I can try.