mimsy and outgrabe //

a record of panic, parenting, teaching and art-making


29.5.15

My Morning Reading: Marina Tsvetaeva and Sarah B. Boyle

This week has featured more reading than writing, but I'm okay with that. (Babysteps towards art-making, right?) I've vacillated between internet essays and the Bloodaxe Books' collection of Tsvetaeva essays, Art in the Light of Conscience, as well as Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva.

And honestly, I'm disappointed in Dark Elderberry Branch. Its subtitle is "A Reading by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine," and I'd hoped for more by two such well known and fairly well respected writers. They've excerpted bits and pieces of Tsvetaeva's poems as well as bits and pieces of her nonfiction scribbling -- from essays to letters -- but the sole commentary on these bits and pieces comes at the end of the collection in an essay/afterword by Kaminsky. 

I'm left frustrated with the feeling that there's too little substance here. I really don't want to say that, because I was excited about the book when I found it, but there you go. For one, the book is so pretty: superficially/physically (I mean, we can all agree that Alice James Books creates some gorgeous books, right?) AND in terms of the translations. Consider, for instance, the differences between the Kaminsky/Valentine translation/reading of Tsvetaeva with Elaine Feinstein's translation (published by Penguin Classics) -- the differences are apparent right from the start, with titles:

 Feinstein, from "Verses about Moscow":
Strange and beautiful brother -- take this
city no hands built -- out of my hands! 

Church by church -- all the forty times forty, and
the small pigeons also that rise over them

Take the Spassky gate, with its flowers, where
the orthodox remove their caps, and

the chapel of stars, that refuge from evil,
where the floor is -- polished by kisses.
Kaminsky/Valentine, from "Poems for Moscow":

From my hands -- take this city not made by hands,
my strange, my beautiful brother.
Take it, church by church -- all forty times forty churches,
and flying up the roofs, the small pigeons; 

and Spassky Gates -- and gates, and gates --
where the Orthodox take off their hats;

and the Chapel of Stars -- refuge chapel --
where the floor is -- polished by tears;
There's more elegance in the second translation -- the poem still feels like a poem, and less prosy than Feinstein's -- although there are elements of Feinstein's that I'm missing in the Kaminsky/Valentine version, like the flowers (where did they go, Ilya?) . . . and yet we don't have the rest of the poem for context. In fact, this is the second poem or strophe in "Poems for Moscow/Verses About Moscow" and Kaminsky/Valentine follow the second strophe with the seventh, which describes the religious of Moscow, "nuns sweeping to mass in the warmth of sleep," and ends with this couplet:

And priest -- place on my tongue
all of Moscow, city of bells!

which is so much more appropriate to the religious imagery of the mass (in particular, the act of communion) and reverent in tone than Einstein's clunky
And priest: stop my mouth up firmly
with Moscow -- which is a land of bells!

In short, Kaminsky/Valentine's versions feel much more confident and at home with Tsvetaeva. Feinstein's versions feel too rooted to the Russian-syntax-as-literal-translation and therefore less a true version of the poem itself. So, naturally, it's going to be disappointing to find that there are far fewer (drastically fewer) translations here than in Feinstein's Selected Poems

Also, since Kaminsky/Valentine made a conscious decision to call this book "A Reading," I would have liked to see more interaction with the work -- from "flash" essays on particular poems to longer pieces like Kaminsky's afterward. I would have liked it to feel more like a reader's notebook than whatever it is in its current form -- at 32 pages of poetry, it's barely a selection, not even hardy enough to be termed a found-essay-through-poems (if such a term were a thing, which I don't think it is).

Of course, Valentine and Kaminsky certainly didn't have me in mind when they created this awkward, though beautifully titled, homage to Tsvetaeva. The problem is that I can't really figure out what they DID have in mind, and that bothers me as a reader. . . . and as a fan of the few translations we find here.

All right. End rant.

The other pieces I've been reading are by Sarah B. Boyle, who wrote that lovely essay published last week about motherhood and used Fabulous Beast: The Sow as a point of reference. I've been reading some of her other work, including this piece from her blog and this essay featured on Luna Luna this week.

Boyle is far more aware/tuned-in than I am in many ways, but particularly with regards to feminism and the lit and alt-lit scenes and contemporary publishing. What I like about her writing is that she's thinking through it, using the medium as a means to do her thinking, and not rushing to proclaim opinions and/or denounce, denounce, denounce, which many of our feminist colleagues are doing of late in a kind of gut-reaction, knee-jerk, emote emote emote stop listening kind of way. 

Anyway, that's all I'll say so far because I'm just beginning to read her work and I haven't had time to explore it more fully, but I thought I'd at least make this important note: that Boyle did more than one favor for me when she wrote about my chapbook for The Hairsplitter last week -- she introduced me to her writing, and there's something in the voice of this writing that resonates with me, and that resonance is a gift.

Welp. Onward! Time to go to the office and meet with my independent study student. (Did I say I was off the clock for the summer? C'mon . . . you believed that?)

22.5.15

Finding and Maintaining Optimism

It's been a week of recovery! And Plan-Making Lite, meaning that I'm beginning to think of the best way to tackle all of the things I'd like to do with these next few teaching-free months. My summer class was under-enrolled and didn't run, which is probably more good fortune for me than bad: I'll have less money, but now I can use the next month (the one where my children are still in school) to do prep for the fall at a leisurely pace, and to work on the things that I'm feeling starved for, like reading and writing. And exercise -- even the simplest kind, such as walking through my neighborhood or stretching. And sleep. Lots of sleep.

I've begun reading this week, as a kind of segue between Disaster Semester and Disaster Semester Prevention Planning, Lynda Barry's Syllabus. It's really marvelous. Lynda Barry is one of my new favorites. I discovered her via my colleague D.W., who studied with her at University of Wisconsin-Madison (and is actually in a class photograph in the early pages of Syllabus). When I bought Syllabus early in the semester, I skimmed it and discovered that the composition notebooks she requires of her classes is close to the Commonplaces Book A.P. and I have been requiring for our Effective Thinking courses at Stuffolk. (I know, Effective Thinking is possibly the worst title ever for a class, particularly a humanities course. The course is a lot more interesting than it sounds!) 

And Lynda Barry's course syllabus, by the way, looks like this:

Anyway, she says some striking things about art-making and image-making, and when she speaks of images she's not just speaking of visual art or cartooning. In fact, I copied this down in my OWN notebook the other day because it struck such a chord with me:
"When someone learns to draw -- to render -- it's the first thing that goes -- the aliveness -- And it's what some artists spend their whole lives trying to get back."
If I think about my own attempts to render images through language, this feels very apt and true, and her exercises for her students are a deliberate attempt to remind them -- and herself -- that it's the act of image-making that's important. Far less so is the finished image; at least, to the artist herself.

So in the next few weeks I'm going to attempt to revise my Effective Thinking course based on the trial and error of this semester, and next time I teach it I'll probably introduce Lynda Barry into it much earlier than I did this time.

Also on the school-prep slate: doing all assignment prep, all reading notes, all exam questions and materials for ALL my fall courses so that, perhaps, my fall semester will be less stressful because I won't be simultaneously prepping AND attempting to grade at the same time.

But for my summer reading/writing projects: I'm going to finish my little "independent study" with the essays of Tsvetaeva and her poems. I'm going to read many books and chapbooks of poetry. I'm going to rework and write more of my play. I'm going to write individual poems, too. And some reviews. And some essays.

AND I'm going to collaborate on a poetry video project with one of my colleagues at Stuffolk, something that will fulfill a faculty development grant requisite AND be a refreshing attempt at doing something new (while not completely outside of my wheelhouse). 

These little projects -- the idea of them, before I've even begun -- are the things that have buoyed my spirits after the nastiness of last week. They don't compensate completely for the loss and the disappointment, but they bandage the wounds nicely (hide them, keep them from showing so clearly). And I know that as I become more involved in them, as they pull at my time and attention, I'll care less about the disappointment and feel more optimistic about everything in general.

ALSO happy-making: this personal essay by Sarah B. Boyle in The Hairsplitter that also doubles as a review of Fabulous Beast: The Sow. I had not an inkling that Boyle was writing such an essay or that it would even be published until she sent me a brief message yesterday indicating both. It's so thoughtful and eloquent and definitely made my day week.

Today is promising, too, however: I'm going to visit The Boy's first grade classroom as a Mystery Reader, and then take him out to lunch for some one-on-one time. Another good thing about no summer class -- more flexibility and time to do fun things with my kiddos.

15.5.15

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

I went to sleep at two in the morning on Sunday night after grading until I was cross-eyed and when I got ready for bed I checked my email and I had a message from a student who said I have emailed you twice in the last month and have not received a response- please get back to me about my questions and so I stayed up another half hour because I felt the need to write her back and prove with a screen shot that yes, I'd forgotten to send her a reply to an email she sent that past Tuesday but I'd only received one email from her since early April, and I DID reply to the one from April, and I could tell that when I woke up two hours later with the alarm and the beginning of a migraine and the non-sleeping Vampire Toddler it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.

At breakfast Little Miss Talkalot decided she was too tired to eat breakfast and then The Boy decided that he was too tired to eat breakfast and then Vampire Toddler decided she wanted to eat Pirate Booty for breakfast but I held my ground and said she had to eat fruit for breakfast and then she had a meltdown. I was irritated about the meltdown but also laughing because a two year old wailing "Boooooty" over and over again is funny. And then I forgot to eat breakfast.

I think I'll move to Australia Austria off Long Island fuck I can't move anywhere.

In the hallway at school the design professor whose office is across from mine had her design students picking up portfolios and they were all waiting in the hallway for their portfolios and I attempted to walk through them and before I could say "excuse me" to one of them in particular her friend said to her, "Leah, move," and then Leah was all resting bitch face and vocal fry and, "I was just trying to get my portfolio," at the same time I did say "excuse me" in a smaller voice, and then Leah moved and I walked through but as I went back to my office I heard Leah's cohorts mocking my "excuse me" and talking about me on the tops of their creaky voices. On the upside, they called me a girl.

My migraine was now a low-grade headache; kind of like wearing a hat or an elastic band all around the crown of my head. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad week.

On Tuesday I received an email from the publisher who solicited my manuscript a month ago and they said that they liked this one poet's book about a nineteenth-century computer engineer better than my book written in sixteenth-century stanza forms about a woman who grows a prehensile amphibian tongue. 

One of their editors said my poems didn't sing. Another of the editors said section II sinks it and section III doesn’t help. Why did I ask for feedback?
I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

I could tell because while I was trying to grade papers in my office students kept coming into my office and asking for help on essays that were due in an hour or asking if they could drop off papers early instead of attending my class. They said they wanted to study for other professor's exams. They sent emails with papers as attachments even though I don't accept papers as email attachments. 

I hope you sit on a tack, I said to them IN MY HEAD. I hope the next time you smoke pot in your car before coming to my class the cherry falls off and lands on your hemp pants and sets your crotch on fire and the only hospital and surgeon that can do the surgery is in Australia Austria off Long Island fuck I don't want anyone to get physically hurt I just want them to show up with their goddamn work on time.

On Wednesday I think I witnessed a breakup happen between two students just before they took the final. Another student decided not to show up and take the final and her grade in the class wasn't great but it wasn't terrible either and I don't know what that means but she probably just gave up. While I was giving the final one of my friends wrote me a message on Facebook and asked if I'd heard back from that publisher because she read an announcement on the publisher's Facebook page that they were publishing a book about a nineteenth-century computer engineer. Guess who wishes she really wasn't on Facebook anymore?

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

That's what it was, because after the final I had to drive over 20 miles to the Brentwood campus for the honors convocation and the coordinator of the honors program told everyone to keep their speeches about their students to one minute in length and then he and his campus colleagues gave speeches about their students that were two minutes in length and so my one-minute speech about my student seemed incredibly underwhelming and unenthusiastic by comparison. 

Next year, I said, I'm speaking for twenty minutes ten minutes five minutes fuck I'm probably not going to read a speech about anyone because why would they ask me back? 

On the dais it was really fucking cold and while we were waiting for all of the deans to give all of their far-more-than-one-minute speeches my leg hair was growing at exponential rates and 

when our students came up to the dais to receive their honors recognition medals the student awardee I'd been asked to speak about wasn't there because she'd taken off after receiving her award for being "the Spirit of Honors." The irony was not lost on me.

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, I said to no one in particular. No one even answered because people don't like other people who speak to themselves in public. That shit be creepy.

So then I drove home in rush hour traffic approximately an hour later than I'd told my husband I'd be driving home. 

My mother-in-law made us dinner and Vampire Toddler wouldn't eat her dinner.

I wanted to go to sleep or watch TV but I had to grade more papers.

I forgot to bathe the kids, I almost forgot to be the tooth fairy (AGAIN), and I realized I might not have clean clothes for Vampire Toddler to wear in the morning or clean underwear for myself so I did a load of laundry. I hate laundry.

I couldn't finish my grading in time, my house is beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders, and I haven't balanced the checkbook in a month. 

I left the dirty dinner plates in the sink and we have an ant problem.

***

And then, yesterday morning, my husband's aunt passed away. It was untimely and she raised two kind, intelligent, beautiful children who now have to navigate their way through early adulthood without her loving presence. Those kids, and her husband, are going to miss her so very, very much. We, her extended family, are going to miss her very, very much.

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, but it bears repeating what is so obvious: that I'm lucky to have a life that's so full, even if sometimes it's full of crap. It doesn't take a tragedy to realize it, but it stands out in relief when you lose a member of your family. 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I read it to Vampire Toddler last night (not sure she understood it all, but she picked it from the bookshelf and then sat through the whole thing while I read it). Alexander doesn't have that moment at the end of the book where he realizes nothing is as bad as it seems, or as it could be, which keeps the book from being saccharine or scary, but he does end it peacefully, blissfully, deeply asleep. 

C. passed away in her sleep, and all we can hope is that it was peaceful and blissful, and that the sudden, unexpected death of their mother doesn't keep P. or S. frightened or prevent them from living lives that might be sometimes terrible-horrible-no-good and very-bad, but that are mostly gorgeous and bright and full of things about which they care, and care deeply.

Even if they move to Australia.

3.5.15

The Big Poetry Giveaway 2015: The Results! With Pictures! And Exclamation Points!

I held the drawing for the blog's Big Poetry Giveaway on Saturday, but because of life and children and grading and sunshine I wasn't able to get to the computer to post the results (and recap the excitement of the drawing!) until now.

First, in preparation for the drawing, I attempted to gather all of the books I'll be mailing out tomorrow (or Tuesday or Wednesday, because let's be honest, the end of the semester never goes smoothly or as anticipated):


As you might be able to tell, I wasn't successful with my gathering. Ooh, quick, let's play, "Which part of the Big Poetry Giveaway 2015 is missing?"  I'll wait.

 . . .

Yes, that's it! It's The Black Sea by Stephanos Papadopoulos. I left the copy I was giving away at the office (I've since picked it up), but for the sake of the photo I substituted with Papadopoulos' first book, "Lost Days," the cover of which -- fun fact -- features a fine painting by his father, the Greek artist Nonda.

Then I wrote out all of the names of the people who commented on my blog during April on little scraps of paper. Then I found a pretty bowl (which sits uselessly on a bookshelf most of the year, collecting dust), and more picture-taking ensued. Yay!

From left to right, starting with the cover with the pig on it: Fabulous Beast: The Sow by Yours Truly; Zoonosis by Kelly Boyker; Little Songs and Lyrics to Genji by Adam Penna; By Fire by Jessica Cuello; Lost Days (substitute for The Black Sea) by Stephanos Papadopoulos; and the Winter 2014 issue of The Gettysburg Review.
Then I had to wait for my assistant to return from a walk to the bakery. So I checked some email:


This is super exciting, isn't it?

Eventually they returned . . . and my sister was still in a good mood! It was a Big Poetry Giveaway miracle!

Then we had to wait for my assistant, and HER assistant, Vampire Toddler, to finish their doughnuts. (Donuts? Whatever. SUGAR.)

V.T.'s pre-nap meltdown, courtesy of that huge white-frosted confection, was epic. Thanks, Nettie's Bakery!
I feel like I'm writing one of those cooking blogs, where you must scroll down through annoying photograph after photograph, and you're just like, get to the recipe already, damn you!


So anyway, as you can see from my lovely assistant's excellent Vanna White impression, Karen Weyant and Guy Traiber, the author of the blog Utopian Fragments, were this year's winners. Congratulations, Karen and Guy! I'll be contacting you both shortly for your mailing info!

And thank you to everyone who visited and commented on the blog. I hope you had some fun discovering new blogs, and that maybe you'll return to this one at some point.

Me, I'm going to go weep grade papers now, and then pass out, because crying grading is so very very tiring.

Two more weeks of this nonsense to go!

17.4.15

Post-Conference Pandemonium, Starring (Naturally) Yours Truly

The week after AWP is always the worst, not only because you leave your friends and the Bookfair and the readings and general good cheer, but because -- when you are me -- you return to all of the things you neglected to do BEFORE you left, and a long list of items to complete NOW THAT YOU ARE BACK.

And this year, because the conference took place during National Poetry Month and the month that our Creative Writing Festival takes place at SCCC, it's such a weird mix of annoying, world-of-academia bullshit and then also super-lovely celebration-and-good-things.

Yesterday, in the early morning before my own children were even attending their own classes, A.P. and I met with local high school students. We read them poems, some of our own and some of others (Kinnell, Berryman, Sanabria, McDaniel), and then answered their questions. They were sweet and attentive and gracious and it was the best way to start a day. I wasn't expecting that experience -- I don't know what I was expecting, frankly -- but it was really wonderful.

Then I drove to my campus. There, I spoke with one of my independent study students about the reading of the musical she's been working on -- the reading is taking place next week, and I'm so excited for her. While we were talking in the student lounge, my colleague M.S. was hanging the Poetry and Fiction Broadsides that her Drawing II and my Creative Writing students produced in collaboration. They are gorgeous, and inventive, I can't wait for my CW students to see the art other students created with their words. And then I ran to the cafeteria, because it was 11 and I hadn't eaten anything yet, and I saw my independent study student from LAST semester, and she gave me the absolutely lovely, super-good news that she was accepted into Hunter College's undergraduate creative writing program. 

SUCH GOOD THINGS.

Just totally uplifting and happy-making, right? And then I drove to another campus and had my soul slowly sucked away by a Distance Education meeting. Because Committee Work. Because Bureaucratic, Administrative, Power-Stupid Nonsense. Because it went over 2 hours long and so I didn't make it home until 6:45 in the evening. 

It. Was. A. Long. Long. Day.

But such ups and downs! This week I've been emailing back-and-forth with the printer for the student lit magazine I advise, and it's been palpitation-inducing trying to get everything right so that we can have an issue in our hands when we host the Issue Release Party and Reading we organized, as part of the CW festival, on Wednesday. (It makes more sense if we have copies of the issue at the issue release party, right?) Also, holy due dates! It feels like everything is NEEDED RIGHT NOW. I had to make sure I submitted an application for funding for NEXT YEAR'S professional development on time (by April 15). Also looming over my head is the deadline for the 2016 AWP Panel Proposals, which is at the end of the month (and keeps crawling closer and closer).

For the record, I need both the professional development (a theatre residency/graduate credit course) and a major conference presentation for my next promotion application, which is due in June of 2016. It's ridiculous, I know, how far in advance I have to set these things in motion, but there IS an end to it all. I'm applying for full Professor next year, the last of the promotions, and then this song and dance crap will end.

Or at least, that's the fairy tale version. We all know that I'm liable to find myself JUST as busy and frantic even after I'm promoted because that's just the way I roll. But perhaps the frantic-ness will derive less from soul-sucking stupid stuff and more from the uplifting, celebration-of-art kind of things in which I like to immerse myself.

Onward into the fray and all that jazz. Cliche, cliche, cliche and so forth. My brain is mushy. I can't wait to start writing again and reading again and I hope that's what the summer holds.


30.3.15

Big Poetry Giveaway 2015

I'm going to participate in the National Poetry Month hullabaloo by joining this <<<< circus, The Sixth Annual Big Poetry Giveaway, because 1) contrary to the loner/cranky poet stereotype, I like joining things 2) I like attempts to get people to read more poetry and 3) I'm curious to see how this turns out.

If you keep a blog and you're a poet and you'd like to participate, see Kelli Russell Agodon's Book of Kells post for the dirt on how to join in. If you'd like to participate in MY Big Poetry Giveaway, here's what you have to do:

Leave a comment on this post with your name and email address (you should probably use the [at] format instead of the @ format so that spam-bots won't suck up your email address and overload your account with nonsense about discount handbags and/or sexual performance enhancers). 

Hell, leave a comment on ANY of my posts during the month of April and I'll include you in the drawing. 

What am I giving away, you might ask?

WELP. I'm giving away a crapload of awesome things. This is far more than the Big Poetry Giveaway requires, but the way I figure it, I might as well GO BIG during my first and possibly only attempt at this. TWO READERS WILL WIN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING GROUPS OF BOOKS:

GROUP/PRIZE ONE:

1) A copy of Jessica Cuello's By Fire, a chapbook of exceptional poems about a 13th century Cathar noblewoman by a talented fellow Hyacinth Girl Press author. Here's a blogger review of the book if you're interested in learning more.

2) A copy of Stephanos Papadopoulos's The Black Sea, which ALSO explores history -- albeit a very different history -- through a beautiful series of sonnets and persona poems that recreate the/a narrative of the Pontic Greek massacre. Reviews of The Black Sea by the Hudson Review's David Mason and poet A.E. Stallings can be found archived here.

3) The Gettysburg Review's Winter 2014 issue. I will have an undying loyalty to this journal because they were the first magazine to take a chance with my Fabulous Beast poems. Also, in a freak occurrence I received, like, three copies of this issue . . . so why not share the love?

and finally

4) A copy of my own chapbook, Fabulous Beast: The Sow, which received this generous and thoughtful review from Paul David Adkins in Luna Luna magazine.


GROUP/PRIZE TWO:

1) Kelly Boyker’s Zoonosis, another gorgeous -- inside and out, -- collection of poems from Hyacinth Girl Press. You can read an in-depth, really wonderful review of the book by Carlos Matos at The Cleaver Magazine.

 2) A copy of Adam Penna's Little Songs and Lyrics to Genji, remarkably fine and heartbreaking poems from the guy I share an office with. Poet George Held wrote a lovely, generous, and spot-on review of the book which is archived here.

3) The Gettysburg Review's Winter 2014 issue! Let's get those extra copies read!

and, of course

4)  Fabulous Beast: The Sow, published by the fantastic feminist micro-press, Hyacinth Girl Press

Readers of this blog have until April 30 to make a comment on the blog. In May, I'll put all names into a hat/bowl/discarded children's easter basket and pick super lucky winners. Or something to that effect. This assumes I'll have more than one name to draw!




20.3.15

On Not Quitting (Not Quite Yet) Feat. A Flagrant Overuse of Commas

This semester I think I've come as close to quitting my profession as I'm going to get. 

I mean, I won't, because, first and foremost, I need a job that helps support my family, but ALSO because I've invested a LOT of freaking time and effort into doing this particular job, this career, and how does one just walk away from all of that? I suppose it would be one thing if I'd made Full Professor and I'd jumped through all the hoops I was supposed to jump through, but I haven't, and so: How do I leave behind all the hard work to get where I am, with just a tiny bit more to go? (I apply for Full Professor at the end of next year.)

This feeling, this closeness-to-quitting, stems from more of the same, not enough hours in the day, but it differs from previous years because, perhaps for the first time, it's not really tinged with resentment. I mean, sure, did I grumble yesterday about my students obsessing over grades on papers but not really connecting those grades with their efforts in class or their attempts to actually learn the material? Yes, yes I did. But that's grumbling, not the insidious, vein-lining, green-muck of resentment, where one blames and blames and blames and feels oppressed and put-upon. I don't feel like that. I know quite well how I arrived at this point (STAGE WHISPER: IT WAS ME! I DID IT TO MYSELF!!) and yet I'm not really blaming myself either. 

I'm at a point where I clearly can't do all of the things I've agreed to do or want to do, but the solution doesn't seem to be a matter of giving up tasks or roles I've taken on at work. It feels bigger, like I should just dump the whole damn thing and walk away. Because my job requires multi-tasking, taking on several different roles, and frankly, I don't think I'm good at it.

When it comes to teaching, I'm sloppy in my lectures and class prep and I'm absurdly, to the point of laughter, dismal with my grading and feedback to students; and when it comes to the non-teaching, the committee work and service to the college, I'm failing because of my inability to delegate responsibility and relinquish control. 

I'm not even beating myself up when I type these sentences. These are facts. I'm just layin' 'em out there.

And I know, I sound like a broken record. If you've read this blog for a while, you've read this all before. (And frankly, how are you still here? You deserve some kind of medal for perseverance and optimism.)

So what is it that makes me not-quit, besides the practical I-need-a-paycheck? Is it REALLY just obstinacy? How boring, but probably true. How stupid! (But probably true.) Maybe it just comes down to me being really not-that-bright.

That's part joke part truth. If I was smarter, I wouldn't be here AGAIN, right?

I'm tired of this story, you know? It's not that interesting. I feel like my multiple attempts at revision are failed attempts, and perhaps it's time to move on to something new.

However: something new, drastically new, isn't practical.  No new job. No absence of job. So what do I do?

(I suspect I'm going to keep running my stupid fat head into walls again and again until I pass out, or until someone removes the damn walls for me.)

Here is a more eloquent, and certainly more clever, attempt at what I'm trying to say: Want Less by Clara Chow.