Welp, That Was Fun
The spring semester and the 2016-2017 academic year has ended. In some ways, I'm right where I've always been at this time of year -- dehydrated and riding down a steep wave of elevated cortisone. In other ways, I'm much different . . . or at least, I have the prospect of being much different before me.
My promotion to full professor from associate professor means I don't have to participate quite so avidly anymore in the various aspects of college service that I found too taxing, or ill-fitting, or uninspiring. It means that I can begin to shape my career at the college according to my own wishes, not the administration's, and as a result my writing career will begin to change shape, too. At least, that's my hope.
I'm looking forward to having more control over how I spend my time at my job; perhaps, you know, being a better teacher. It's exhausting and depressing to reach the end of a semester and feel as though you let down -- whether they knew it or not -- 80-100 students. I'd like to get to a point where I can return graded work quickly, so that the feedback is actually useful and something from which the students can learn. I'd like to return to being a strong mentor and advisor, too. I feel like I've been remiss in this aspect over the past two years or so. It feels strange. I don't like it.
Also, I'd like to spend more time in meaningful communication with the people I care about -- I have messages and letters to answer that I've been sitting on for months.
I'd like to be less cranky around my kids. I'd like to be able to just sit with them on the front porch or on the back deck and just be, without feeling guilty and like I should be cleaning our house or catching up on work. I feel like listening more, speaking less. Apart from this blog, I might be close to another social media "cleanse" -- I've realized I can't get rid of it completely, because it's a way I keep in touch and communicate with a number of different people, but I think I might be quieter for a while.
I'm looking forward to this summer with a kind of tentative optimism, if that can be such a thing: Working on my different writing projects, collaborating with a couple of colleagues (another video poem; more work on Collaborated, the New Hive project I'm creating with visual artists Meredith Starr and Ryan Seslow); prepping for Fall AND Spring classes in a way I've never prepped before, really intensely and thoroughly, so that those semesters won't be a juggling act of prep and grading and other school commitments; and finally, just resting.
Resting for me includes, oddly, yard work. Planting flowers, vegetables, things I haven't been able to do for a couple of seasons now. Resting includes reading, and varied reading. Resting includes playing music with A. again. Resting includes taking my kids to the beach and feeling paradoxically sapped and recharged by the roaring, wild Atlantic. Resting includes sometimes sleeping in, or being awake but lying in bed listening to the birds through the open window.
I feel like maybe over the past few years, because of all of this frantic, frenetic nonsense, I've turned into a bit of an asshole. I'd like to be less of an asshole.
That's a worthy goal, yes?