Writing and Puppies and Migraines, Oh My!
Well. My family and I survived the week of the Leadership Academy conference, but it feels like we did so just barely. It ended on Friday at noon -- and Friday around 8 a.m., just as I was sitting down to begin our final day, a migraine hit. Those visual disturbances called "floaters" arrived first, so I scrounged up 2 Tylenol and 2 Advil from colleagues at my table, shoved them into my face, and hoped for the best. It turns out the best did happen, and I had a minor and manageable headache for about an hour, and then I felt better. It was a huge stroke of luck -- I was afraid I'd be laid up in my car, unable to drive anywhere, unable to get my kids, unable to finish the conference . . . but luckily, none of that happened. Crisis averted.
The Leadership Academy was long and required a lot of attention and energy, but I guess I can admit that it was not without some worth. I can't totally buy into every facet of what they preached, but if anything I came away from the week with a lot of new work acquaintances -- colleagues from my own campus I didn't know existed before this point, and who were really a lovely group of people -- and also a kind of "to-do" list that's supposed to help me manage my workload and the way I approach my role(s) at the college.
For all that, I'm glad it's over now. I was exhausted yesterday -- I could barely summon the energy to do much more than sleep and read and play with the puppy and the kids. (And then, alternately, yell at the kids and sometimes the puppy when the house seemed completely chaotic -- I soooo miss my anti-anxiety meds.)
I've been trying to work out some way to write in the mornings AND pay attention to the new puppy, who is a wild man for the first few hours after he awakes. And there's not much chance of waking up before the pup, because the minute A. rises around 5 a.m. for his shower, the puppy is barking and asking to be let out from his crate. Because I'm revising still, and not trying to create from scratch, I don't need complete and utter silence, but it's still a challenge to rack one's brain for the perfect word and be semi-conscious of the fact that there's a chewing noise coming from somewhere around you and it's not the sound of teeth-on-chew-toy, but rather, teeth-on-wooden-chair or teeth-on-couch-upholstery or teeth-on-daughter's-shoe.
Despite these setbacks, I've revised up to the second section of Chapter II. (I write that sentence and laugh over how ridiculous it sounds.) I'm going to have to pick up the pace, though. Ideally, I'll revise three stanzas of the fairy tale over the next thirty days so that I can send the MS out to the fall first-book contests without submitting at the very last minute (a fear I've mentioned previously, like here).
If this doesn't work out, however -- I want to be optimistic, but I have to admit that things rarely work according to plan -- I may send out the MS without having completely revised the fairy tale, anyway. I don't think there are any huge flaws -- just places where the language could be improved and the meter more regular and the poem more musical. Hopefully those places won't stand out so much that the contest judges put down the MS with frustration.
A whole slew of magazines open up their reading periods in September, too, so I'm trying to prepare submissions now so that I can just pop them in the mail or email, depending on the policy of the mag, when the time arrives. The less I have to think/prepare once the school semester begins, the better.
Next week -- technically, tomorrow onward -- I'll be preparing for my fall classes. I have lists -- many lists -- of school-related tasks, of things that require my attention very soon, but course prep is really of the utmost importance. I know that if I'm behind on course prep it makes almost every other aspect of my life difficult, so I'll be better off if I have course outlines and assignments and day-by-day agendas laid out before that first week of classes.
Bernadette Geyer was just named the winner of the 2012 Hilary Tham Capital Collection, published by Word Works in Washington, D.C. Her manuscript, The Scabbard of Her Throat, was chosen by Cornelius Eady. (Yay Bernie!)