Thimble summer

As always, I’m watching myself have my summer, and as it’s starting to dwindle, I’m critiquing the way I’ve handled the time.  In brief, there could have been more serious writing and more serious recreating.  There has been, I’m happy to say, a slower pace, more sleeping in, more reading for fun, more hanging out with family, more small treats like massages and lunch dates.  There has also been a lot of completion of medium-urgency tasks, responsiveness to administrative dust-ups, emails about things that seemed reasonably important at the time.

I’m thinking I need to look at my summers in a different way.

Although working alongside my SA teaching colleagues has reinforced my idea that I have summers “off,” and most of the writers I know who teach also have their summers “off,” it may be that my life right now is closer to that of an administrator with a twelve-month appointment.  There’s just too much I don’t get to leave behind.  SA slows to a trickle, but NLNRU work goes along fairly steadily, and other professional commitments balloon in the summer, and the current book project steps forward (and I’m still working on placing book #2).  And, I have to admit, I do get compensated pretty adequately for what I do.  Maybe I need to stop imagining that my summers are off, and recognize them for what they are: a time when my teaching responsibilities move aside to make room for other work, including but not limited to writing; and a time when it is possible, with planning, for me to go away for a week or two and be “on vacation.”

So onto my fall project list goes the item Apply for 2012 summer residencies.  That’s serious away time and serious writing time all in one.

And I’m amazed how much I’m still thinking about our wonderful week-long Southwestern trip during winter break of 2010.  It was so completely different from every other week of the year.  I’m becoming convinced that I need a dose of that difference, and winter break–when the Snork Maiden and I are on school break, and when Stubb can often arrange to be free–is a time to get it.  So I’m cogitating about that, too.

Meanwhile–the trickle from SA is starting to run a little faster.  I saw the first version of my course rosters for the fall.  Sixty students in four classes, two preps.  Five juniors whom I taught as freshmen.  Sixteen whose reputations precede them–about half of those in a good way.  This freshman class is rumored to be somewhat rowdier than last year’s.  The longer I’m there, the more chances I’ve had to form ideas about the students before they turn up in my class.  Not always a good thing, I admit, but in this case, it may be that forewarned is forearmed.  Or at least a bit girded.


5 responses to this post.

  1. […] and I’m increasingly convinced that this needs to be an annual tradition.  Summers, as I observed a few months ago, are pretty cluttered around here.  The last two weeks of December, though, are […]


  2. […] deserve time to write and the conditions I need to get my work done.  Among other things, I deserve to spend two weeks […]


  3. […] there is my annual conference, which is pretty fixed.  There is that promise I made to myself to take time away.  None of the residencies panned out, but I did wangle an invitation to go back to the conference […]


  4. […] think it’s really helping that I admitted to myself that I don’t have summers “off“; I’m more realistic about what my summer can look like.  And, although I didn’t […]


  5. […] gave NaNoWriMo a go this year, and my school-year and school-break and summer-vacation posts are often about how to find more time for writing and not to let it get crowded out […]


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