The holidays are a time fraught with over-commitment. The holidays should be used for slowing down. As I write this blogpost, I’m taking time to reflect back on the busy fall term (aren’t they all?). I’d like to reaffirm my commitment to make more time for my academic projects in 2012, and the people I serve at the university.
One of my favorite stories about making time and its benefits involves the Italian renaissance man, Michelangelo. As legend would have it, a member of the Italian nobility went to visit Il Divino (“the divine one”) in his studio in 1500. The prince found Michelangelo staring at an 18 by 3-foot block of marble. The massive stone had been quarried from Carrara as Michelangelo had been commissioned to sculpt a symbol of Florentine freedom.
Many Florentines had heard of the project but rumours were that Michelangelo was making little progress. Friends found him staring at the slab of marble for hours at a time. Many months later during a visit, a friend asked the artist what he was doing. So as not to break the mood of quiet contemplation he had created, Michelangelo whispered “sto lavorando” or “I am working”. Three years later, that block of Carrara marble had become the great statue of David.
As academics, scholars and yes, librarians, we lose something when we forget about the importance of quiet contemplation. Slowing down should be a part of the cycle of regeneration of life at this time – but it seldom is. Some of our most important work comes after reflection and making time to be quiet. Making more time for these activities is my new year’s resolution for 2012.
I hope more of us bring that sense of quiet determination to our work at the university in the coming year.