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.


Comments

L. D. said…
I just want to say "good on you" for actually doing stuff with/for students and engaging in the larger community despite the crazy juggling act you have to perform.
sarah gutowski said…
Thanks, Leslie! Those words of encouragement are really appreciated.

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