Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing and the semester beginning

First of all, thank you everybody who commented on my last post and answered the question, if you could write anything at all, what would it be? I'm happy to provoke an interesting conversation. Please go read everyone's responses and add your own if you haven't already!

I just looked over my blog posts for last winter and discovered that this January has been much like last January --- lots of time spent not doing anything much at all, no time spent working on academic writing, a vague feeling of decision that I should quit the whole academic rat race all together.

I have much more time on my hands this time around, however, since I am teaching the same comp class again and only had to tweak it rather than invent it, which is nice, and I did almost nothing to the Fruit Studies course, which is pretty much in the format I want it now, and I set up a very boring and standard-shaped lit survey and have done very little to prep it so far. The nice thing is that this one is somewhat related to my actual comps fields and research, so I look ahead and go, aha! I have read pretty much everything on the syllabus, or even taught it before! And I look ahead and go, aha! I have lectured on this historical development and that literary movement before, and I bet I can do a pretty decent job off the top of my head!

That is a very different experience than the other survey, which I was calling the Stripey class. (I am still using the striped folder to hold my syllabus and notes, however --- I wonder if this will confuse me.) But with that course, even when I had actually read these authors once before (the last time I taught the class) I still felt kinda like a fraud who had never taken a grad seminar in any of this stuff, and was always over-prepping and looking into more background stuff ... and occasionally discovering my "reading" of a text was leaving out the historical or critical background that like everyone uses to understand that author.

In short, I feel like I should be doing something. Or even Doing Something. I've spent a couple weeks, at least, doing lots of sleeping and knitting and cleaning (although I only cleaned out some of my closets and such and should continue that), and now I am starting to get a little antsy. I haven't started up teaching yet --- am I letting time get away from me? Shouldn't I go back to the book revisions??? I talked to another postdoc today and heard about his creative writing and his critical articles and was practically inspired to go do my own academic writing. And, really, I could make a lot of progress the first five weeks or so of the semester since there isn't much to grade at first.


If I don't get one of these jobs I just applied to, I'm planning on giving it up here at the postdoc and move back to be near family. And just get some random job. Or hell, be a slacker and sponge off my parents --- why should the potheads get all the sponging goodness? So I am worried that if I throw myself back into academic writing, it will drag me back onto the academic/adjunct/postdoc Treadmill of Doom. (I just love capitalizing for emotional emphasis, don't you?)

But I haven't figured out what sort of "other random job" I would try for or what sort of writing that might include. I suppose that if I do decide to do something with the nonprofit/grantwriting type stuff, I could spend the time this spring practicing grantwriting and teaching myself the ins and outs of that field. And while I think I could be good at that type of writing, and be happy doing that as a job that paid me, I am not so consumed with joy about grantwriting that I want to just get up in the morning and do it to be a better person on my day that is free from teaching. When I am in a groove, I do feel that way about my academic writing --- and there are many other types of things I like to write that would go in that category as well.

So should I just start writing something purely for pleasure? I dunno. I don't even know what kind of pleasure writing it would be. --- I am so waffly and indecisive that it will probably take me up to the crunch time of grading all the assignments for me to just make up my mind about what I want to write. And guilt-prone ---- I can't get over the feeling that I should have been hard at work writing something, or Doing Something, this month instead of taking it easy.

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