The life maintenance took longer than I expected, and as I had a pretty bad night of sleep last night and have been headachy all day, I couldn't get myself to focus very long or very well. I didn't mark any essays; I didn't even do what I consider a sort of running start, the bit where I make sure I have everything in alphabetical order and write down the list of how many I have to mark (counting backward, so as I cross them off the list, I see how many I have left to do).
So what, you may ask, did I actually do in terms of work? I'd been somewhat blissfully forgetting that I'd agreed to help with proofreading the literary journal that we publish, and I'd somewhat blissfully forgotten that I'd agreed to provide comments on an essay that wasn't submitted to Turnitin until yesterday. So, I did those two things. And that's where the energy petered out.
The spirit of Scarlett O'Hara haunts days like today: "I'll think about that tomorrow." And I am interested in observing my own cycles and psyche here: how often I know that I am simply making life harder for myself in the days to come and yet find myself lacking the will or discipline or moral fiber to do something "today."
So, tomorrow. I have my beautiful, wondrous folding editor's desk with me; I have the batches of this, that and the other all clipped together, ready to roll, as soon as I'm up and fed tomorrow. And I know that I will not get as much done as I currently think I might: that's another perpetual self-delusion. Note the weird contradiction there: some part of me thinks I really might get a whole slew of the fucking things marked; another part knows perfectly well that won't happen, for whatever reason (or for no discernible reason: miniature black holes that simply the time-space continuum and speed everything up so I sit down to work at 11 a.m., and by the time I have the first essay marked, it's 3 p.m.).
And when the chipmunk voices start shrilly telling me that I will never get everything done and I need to panic, PANIC!!! a saner, lower-pitched voice says, "Prof. P, you think this every semester. And every semester you manage to get the work done. Come the end of the third week in May, you will be done with this semester and already thinking about the next one."
Actually, I already am thinking about the next one. I had a wave of panic (PANIC!!!) at the thought of reworking the syllabus for SF in the fall. Why that induced panic is rather interesting to tease out and has at least a little to do with my desire to meet everyone else's standards for what "ought" to be taught and not simply to please myself. And that thought led me to a little spurt of panic over what I'm going to come up with for the essay assignment for the 102s this semester, which led me back into thinking about the 101s I'll be teaching in the fall....
Apparently, I simply haven't had my panic fix for a while, so I'm manufacturing reasons to have one. It sucks to be hooked on cortisol and epinephrine. (And that thought led to a little exploration on Google of other hormones and neurochemicals related to anxiety/panic. Fascinating stuff.)
But now that I'm clearly nattering, I will consider it time to bring this post to a close and to move into my evening. A running start tomorrow would be lovely, but don't anybody hold your breath....