Out of Step with the Typical Academic Calendar

I’m scheduled to present at a localish conference in two weeks.  It snuck up on me as I’ve been sick (again!), and doing mom things like buying Toby a Thomas (naturally) Halloween costume and volunteering to pass out goodies at Montessori, making a carrot cake and things like that (Toby’s birthday was last weekend).  Also, crocheting, which I’m completely addicted to.

I really want to do nothing but snuggle up on this dark grey day and crochet while listening to my new audio book,  The Dirty Life (borrowed from the library, of course, because I simply couldn’t listen to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle one more time, because though I love it, the more informational parts of it make me scream and rail at this stupid world and industrialized food system of ours).  What’s a shower or a meal or scholarship next to sitting and listening to a tale of a New Yorker who used her oven as a bookshelf transform into a farmer while I crochet a ripple afghan with autumnal colors that will keep my family warm?  Even poems seem like nothing next to that, though I am finally, occasionally, reading poems again.  Mary Oliver’s poems now seem luminous to me; I used to think them. . .sort of boring.  (I’ve never mentioned that I write poetry, have I?  I haven’t written poems in several years.  I went to grad school in poetry, then turned away from the PhD in poetry because I was too concerned about being able to support myself afterwards.  As I did my PhD in something marketable, I lost writing poetry along the way as I watched some of my writer friends win awards and publish books.  It’s taken years for me to turn from pea green with envy to happy for their accomplishments.  Of course, such envy says more about how I’m betraying myself than anything about how I feel about my friends. After so long, I feel nervous and hesitant about even starting to write poems again.  Not like a beginner, because beginners have that naivete to see them through, that belief that they can do it because they don’t yet know how hard it is.  But I do know.  But I’m not planning on reading or writing poems today either.)

I have to go on campus tomorrow also, and find a way back to inhabiting the self who cares about universities and scholarly agendas.  I worked for ten minutes or so on the conference paper, just to get a start.  (I’m lucky because it’s on a subject that I’ve done a lot of work on, so it’s just a matter of actually writing it or even cobbling it together from other things.)  But that’s all I’m doing with the prospect of putting in a full day on campus tomorrow.

Sometimes I just don’t care, just don’t care at all, about scholarship, tenure, the future of the university.  I need to recuperate from a hectic academic year, step completely away from it and come back, renewed and refreshed.  Normal academics do this, perhaps, over the summer (though from your blogs you seem much more productive and focused to me).  But I can’t, unfortunately.  This is why I hate my academic calendar.


One response to this post.

  1. yup from about mid Nov through Jan I have my own little seasonal affect disorder that makes we want to just curl up, cook, plan for holidays and in general deny that I am, in fact, at the busiest point of the semester. This year of course the fear is that will derail me from writing. I don’t have any more sabbatical time left to waste! Your afghan sounds lovely BTW


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