Monday, May 20, 2013


Last summer was intense--I presented at a conference in Italy. We drove across the country for a wedding. I taught an intensive Shakespeare course for gifted junior high students. In one week, I went through seven time zones. All this while reading for exams, which I started the week before school started in the fall. I swore this summer would be different. And yes, I'm staying in the country, and I'm teaching here. Today, however, I was trying to figure out when to schedule my trip to Duke to do research in the archives there, and realize that I don't have a lot of weeks free. My best bet is to go the week before I go to the Dickens Universe, because I know that that week will be exhausting, and when I get back, there's only two weeks until school starts.  Before that, I'm teaching for five weeks, I'm presenting at the Southern Writers/Southern Writing conference (finally!  I'll get to go to Oxford!), and this week I'm leaving for a week and a half to do a grand tour of friends and family, hitting Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio.

Plus, you know, dissertation writing and job market preparation.  Is this just some perverse quirk of mine, that I can't stay still?  I would say that I can't say no, but I've said no quite a few times lately.  After having been president of the WGS grad student association this year, I switched positions with the VP for next year.  And I don't have any position in the English grad student association.  For my summer class--which is an intensive introduction to fiction which meets five days a week for five weeks--I just cut a whole novel and two short stories from my original plan.  Surely, this is progress?

It's not as though I'd want to say no to any of the things I'm doing this summer.  I'm hoping to think of them as rewards along the way to keep me writing and working on my bigger projects (ie, dissertation and job docs).  That, at least, is my plan for now.  Stay tuned to see how it actually pans out.

(However, I will observe that last summer, though I was tired, was quite a success.  I did accomplish all that I set out to do--so perhaps I should recognize that the more I do, the more I'm able to do, generally.  So perhaps I should focus less on how daunting the summer seems, and instead focus on how much fun it promises to be.)