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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ye gods and little fishes

I had absolutely no notion that I would still be here at this hour--and I'm still completely wired; it's going to take a while to let my hair down, metaphorically speaking.

Scheduling was remarkably bumpy, despite the running start I took at it yesterday. Part of the turbulence was caused by the usual issues: senior faculty making requests that we had to check with Bruce about, whether we could do X or Y contractually, whether Prof. Z or Q was qualified to teach the course he or she had requested--and the usual groaning and tearing of hair over the people who can't figure out the grid, or say that their first priority is Friday off and then request classes that meet on Fridays....

We ended up working until 4:30, which is later than usual, but since I have to leave early tomorrow, and since one of us can't be there at all on Thursday, I figured we should wrestle through as much as possible--even though I realize we may end up spending an inordinate amount of time tomorrow backing up and knocking down another long chain of dominoes. We haven't even gotten to the tough part, where we have to start making two- and even three-way swaps in order to give people low on the seniority lists any kind of schedule at all; we get to start having that fun tomorrow, as we're already completely out of some sections of comp. Well, fun and frolic.

After we wrestled our way through as far as I thought our brains could hold up for today, I ended up spending at least an hour, probably more, combing through an e-mail I'd drafted to one colleague, a full professor who has already treated me to a pretty snotty complaint about a previous schedule and who made requests that we cannot grant--because of regulations in the bylaws or union rules. I wrote an initial draft, which I ran past one of the members of the scheduling committee (while the other, bless her, was in yet another committee meeting in the room next door), and he pointed out that what I'd written suggested the possibility of an outcome that was not, in fact, possible. After we wrapped up the collaborative work, I returned to the office to revise the e-mail--and the endless revisions were my attempts to cover every single possible contingency that she could use to complain about what's going on and at the same time to be absolutely clear that no matter what she does, we can't guarantee she's going to get anything remotely resembling what she wanted. (What she wanted, for the record, included two English electives--which we can't give anyway, to anyone, under any circumstances.)

It will be very interesting to see what response we get--and when. (I copied Bruce, Cathy, and the other members of scheduling on the e-mail: I've got as much ass coverage as I can possibly manufacture.)

I also spent a fair amount of time--both during "lunch break" and since finishing up the scheduling for today--grinding out an e-mail to an ASLE colleague who agreed to look at the sabbatical project and give me some feedback from his perspective. I got a message from him about it this morning, in which he asked some very good questions, and it was rather a challenge to answer them, explain my thinking--and I hope I have, in fact, addressed his concerns, though I may have misunderstood what his concerns actually are. His questions did get me thinking about the challenge I face getting the damned thing published: it does not slot neatly into any textbook publishers' already existing format for "critical" editions. In fact, it doesn't really slot into any of those formats at all. I'm hoping I can "sell" a publisher on my particular approach--maybe create a new format (and, sure, do the same kind of edition for other Le Guin novels or other SF or fantasy: wouldn't that be heavenly?)--but reading my colleague's e-mail I did feel a slightly sick, sinking sensation: "Oh, fuck, I've done all this work and no one will want it." I keep saying that even if I end up just getting packets made for my own students here on campus, it will be worth it--but I still hold on to that dream of having my edition actually published, a real book, produced by a real publisher, purchased by real professors....

And while I'm speaking of publishing things: in scheduling, we got into a conversation about the new and more stringent requirements for teaching creative writing courses, as the discrete AA in Creative Writing has been approved by every necessary body on this campus and just needs the final stamp of approval from SUNY before it's a real deal. I mentioned that I now am no longer considered qualified to teach Fiction Writing--and Sabrina, who is not only on scheduling but is also one of the co-chairs of Creative Writing, said, "But Tonia, get some of your stuff published! We need you!" One of the qualifications, you see, is--in lieu of an MFA that focuses on the workshop process--a "proven track record of publication." I have at least three, possibly four, stories that I think are worthy of being considered for publication--but I told Sabrina that it's been so long since I last collected rejections letters I have no idea where to even start submitting things. She said she'd try to remember to send me a link to a list of online publications to which I might submit; I'd sure be grateful if she does. I would love to have more of my creative work published (apart from my one lonely poem, published several millennia ago), but I really simply haven't felt like I had the time, energy--or impetus--to go through the necessary steps that could lead to publication. However, with that boost of enthusiasm from Sabrina to generate some impetus, perhaps I'll find the time and energy.

It's been that kind of day. And there's some stuff going on in my family that needs some careful thought and attention, some e-mails that need some time and attention on that front as well; I started to work on them this morning and then realized I couldn't take the time, as I had to get my butt here, to campus, and now I'm thinking, "Oh, fuck, I can't spend more time writing blog posts: I need to get my butt home to work on those e-mails about the family thing."

Ye gods and little fishes. Oh, my giddy aunt. Yikes and likewise zoiks. Whatever exclamation is appropriate to the feeling of having suddenly been sucked up into a whirlwind. And more to come tomorrow--though, thank heaven, at the end of the day I get to look forward to a dinner in Manhattan with Paul. I might even decide to postpone a good night's sleep and go dancing for a while after, despite the need to be back here on campus the next day for the final throes (throws) of scheduling. Wired for sound, man, I'm telling you.

(Cue sound effect: microphone vibration and feedback....)

Probably won't have time to write tomorrow, but more soon....


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