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Monday, April 20, 2015

Well, whatever...

I hate it when my students say,"Whatever..." in that tone of existential malaise. I also hate "it is what it is." (Not necessarily.) But I'm a bit in that frame of mind today, so I'm working on compassion and forgiveness--for my students (when I have them again) and for myself (much more of a challenge).

I'm making progress, but of course, not as much or as fast as I feel I "should" be. (My father used to say, "Have you been 'should' on today?" Yeah, I'm up to my ankles in should.) Although technically, officially, the sabbatical doesn't "end" until I'm back in the classroom, for all intents and purposes (or, as students would say, "for all intensive purposes"), it ends May 10, because I have now confirmed that I will be working with Bruce on the last minute cluster-fuck of summer schedules starting on the 11th. Then I do full-time faculty schedules, then I have a brief break before I head to the ASLE conference in Idaho--and then it's officially summer, any I start doing my sea-cucumber impersonation, will I, nill I. (Willy-nilly, too.) It's a Pavlovian response: warm weather, no classes, I become officially stupid.

Somewhere in there I have to prep my classes for fall, too.

Of course, all of that is cause for galloping anxiety, which desperately wants to be soothed though liberal doses of chocolate and (gluten-free) cookies--but I'm trying to practice other, healthier forms of dealing with anxiety, including reminding myself regularly that it's all "just in my head." I only need to feel anxious if I think I need to feel anxious--and, as I've noted before, anxiety is only beneficial if it acts as an impetus to work, not if it leads to "self medication" in any ingestible form. (Deep breathing, yoga, massage, soaking baths: all good. Overeating, especially on "comfort foods": not so much. Thank god I've never been much of a drinker and have absolutely no interest in recreational drugs.)

In terms of the glossary, I've gotten through chapter 10 (out of 20); in the trade paperback edition I've been using, page 146 out of 300--so truly, just about half way. Of course, as I go along, there are fewer things to add, as so much has already been established, but I want to continue until I've gone all the way through the book before I start working on the two "hard" chapters that I still have to write: the one on themes and the one specifically on the theme of loyalty and betrayal. As I think I've already said (is there anything I haven't already said?), it helps me prepare for those chapters to reread the novel with the attention to detail that I have to give it to do the glossary. So there is at least a little method to my madness here.

I have no idea how tomorrow is going to play out. I was going to have to cut my work day a bit short in order to have a riding lesson, but the lesson has now been moved to smack in the middle of my most productive work hours. I could have just canceled the lesson entirely, but tomorrow is supposed to be utterly gorgeous, and I loved my last lesson so much that I didn't want to pass up the chance. I'll see if I manage to get any work done around the lesson (and the shower after) and before the planned dinner with Paul--but if I don't, ah well. I have to continually remind myself that part of the purpose of the sabbatical--unstated, of course, but nevertheless known to all--is the ability to relax and let go a little. Between now and mid-May, I'll do what I can. Whatever I can't get done will just have to get done whenever and however it gets done--with any luck at all, because I'm suddenly under pressure from a publisher to produce X by such-and-such date. That would be spectacularly wonderful. (Of course I'd bitch about the stress of that, too, but I reserve the right to engage in "spoiled woman complaining.")

As for now, I'm going to do the evening version of the sea-cucumber transformation. I am stick-a-fork-in-me done.

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