“FREE BOOKS! by taking them away” I wrote on my office door. I had an hour before my next appointment to reduce my life at Rutgers to a carry-on suitcase. So I had to leave behind everything that I can buy again, even those volumes soaked with memories: my first linguistics class, my first book chapter, conferences where colleagues blew me away with their wit and intellect. You know, you’re all mentors to me.
Sorting the shelves gave me the thrill of picking an old ripe scab. Like a sudden disaster that engulfs your house, like a subway door that closes after you and shuts out a latecomer, the scythe made me declare which arm belongs to my memories and which leg belongs to me. Highly recommended.
After all, books (like children and love) are better free.
This fall semester, I’m excited to be visiting Cornell linguistics, home of Mats Rooth’s computational linguistics lab. For excitement in the spring, I plan to visit Tsukuba computer science, home of Yukiyoshi Kameyama’s programming logic group. For both of these opportunities, I am grateful. After them, all bets are off. I want to keep learning and teaching, whatever that means. Maybe it’s time for me to work on a new citizenship. I’m open to suggestions.
The sun is brilliant. I didn’t just run into an old friend yesterday. I was also delighted to experience Bollywood for the first time, to get a tooth crowned for the first time. I won’t just meet up with an older and younger friend tomorrow. I will also be delighted to hear a new talk, to find a new thought.