Second chances

I was too disappointed in myself to post on Wednesday that I completely and utterly failed to write.  Only now, when I’ve managed to heave myself back in the saddle and start again, am I coming back to say: ugh.  I blew it.  I’ve been writing for a long time, so I know that if you blow it one day, there’s nothing for it but to go back and try again.  I also know that you have to string together a lot of days in order to get the work done; still, the way you get those days is one at a time, and some of them will be good and some of them will just be obligatory butt-in-the-chair time, and at least occasionally you (meaning I) will screw up and blow one altogether.

Interesting contrast between Wednesday and today:

On Wednesday, I spent a lot of time functioning in what Profgrrrl, in a recent post, called responsive crisis mode–which, come to think of it, has been the mode of much of the summer.  Illnesses; my sister’s sudden out-of-town trip landing us with the care of the niece and nephew; the sudden departure of our NLNRU admin–all of these have required a lot of response that couldn’t be scheduled or, in most cases, very compartmentalized.  Even the syllabus–you’d think I would have some control over when I finished it, but as it happens, this course is once again offered in multiple sections that require coordination among the instructors, and we only finished hashing out all those things on Monday, two days before the syllabus was due. 

So Wednesday was a lot of people needing to hear from me, and me needing to hear from other people, and in retrospect, I probably should have done what I rarely do and taken my SA laptop out to a coffeeshop from something like 7-9 AM, while Stubb got the Snork Maiden off to camp and before anyone was frantic about anything.  As it was, by the time I’d cleared the decks as much as possible (and really gotten quite a lot of necessary work done), I was in a very cluttered frame of mind, distracted by the possibility of more responses to e-mails I’d sent, and also aware of the approach of camp pickup time. 

I had lunch, and I tried to lie down and take a catnap, but as often happens, I couldn’t quite power down enough to fall asleep.  I got up, cranky, and then neighbor C.Dad called to say that he was sick with the bug that’s been going around (we hope; if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember that he had lung cancer three years ago) and could I give him a ride to pick up his car from the mechanic?  So suddenly my ETD to pick up the Snork Maiden was pushed back an extra twenty minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but the cushion was getting thinner and…well, if you write, you know what I mean.  And this is creative writing, not academic or functional; the old “you have an hour; sit down and bang out 500 words just to get the ideas down on paper first” approach is not where I am right now.  I’m looking at a specific transition in the ms., and I don’t know how to get from here to there, and I have to get quiet and try to hear what’s going on.

So that was Wednesday.  Thursday I spent at NLNRU.  Today was Friday, though, which helped right away because my NLNRU chair was not in the office; she was home, writing.  And even the temp was not there, because she had a previous commitment.  So the student services person and the student worker held down the fort, but not much was going on; like I said, it was Friday.  In the summer. 

I got up early and went in to SA, which was very, very quiet.  The carpet in my classroom was being shampooed, so I went to the faculty workroom next to the library and sat down and had a lovely couple of hours.  I moved about ten degrees closer to where I need to be with this particular transition in the manuscript.  I checked my email a couple of times, but there was very little going on, and nothing I absolutely had to answer. 

Then I dropped in on a couple of colleagues and chatted a bit and, not incidentally, got a copy of the current version of the detailed school calendar, including the August faculty development week schedule, which will help me plan my NLNRU availability that week.  I spent a very happy, time-management-geeky half hour plugging events into the family Google calendar, even making a tentative list of which school events I would prefer to chaperone this year.  And it was only 10:30.

Then I got a haircut and met Stubb for lunch at the pub in our neighborhood that’s run by South Africans.  We’ve been there before–it’s one of the cozier places to have a drink out near us–but during the World Cup we had a couple of lunches there and realized that they have really, really good food.  (Their chef is Chilean, as we discovered on the day of the Chile-Spain match when his whole family showed up to cheer, but the food is a mixture of South African, pub, and American standards.)

Then we ran a couple of errands, and by the time we got home, I was feeling mildly nauseated (might have been dehydration), so I drank a glass of water and lay down to nap and a couple of hours later woke up feeling wonderful.

And even though I only did a couple of hours of work, it was the right kind of work, and I did it and then had some fun and a sleep, and I feel fresh as a daisy. 

(Which is a good thing, because I told the Snork Maiden she could have two friends sleep over tomorrow, and we’ve got a lot of housecleaning to do.)


2 responses to this post.

  1. Goodness, when you get back in the saddle, you don’t mess around about it! Glad the week ended on a more positive note.


  2. Posted by meansomething on July 20, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Thanks! Trying to STAY in the saddle this week.


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