Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mouth. Smaller than it looks.

I'm developing a bad habit when it comes to break. It's called, "I'll do that over break." And then break is much less a break than a nonstop mad-dash to get it all done before the next semester starts and I can start making promises about what I am going to get done over the next break. This break coincided too with the final proofing stage for the Bending Genre book, which is coming out March 14th. We copyedited this book. Then we proofed this book. Then we sent proofs out to our contributors. Then we proofed the proofs. Then, in the height of my annoying times, I decided now would be a good idea to revise my essays therein (really, just the white space, but my god, didn't I have like 19 other chances? Push. Shove. Met.)

I was getting letter of recommendation requests on Christmas Eve. I'm not sure what's up with that. Never before have I had so many requests over break. Is it because the electronic systems now don't allow students to send requests until they finish their application? Of course students want to do their apps over the break. Why would a university have a deadline of January 1? Like they're all sitting around on New Year's Day, waiting for the apps to come in. Anyway, there were 19 letters to send all over the break.

I also had blogs to do. The blog post here took two full years to write. Then, the essay daily blog, which was so awesome and fun but I made it a pain by writing 4 pages. Then I wrote a blog of the Poetry Center Wordplay blog (my post not up yet but it's a great website for recommendations for kids' books) which is also 4 pages. I also wrote 4 pages in an answer to some interview questions for Mountain Living magazine. Apparently, 4 pages is my standard response to the universe.  I had grant applications due (also 4 pages), one nonfiction book manuscript, part of a novel, part of an paper for an scholarly journal to read for my friends (I'm almost done fine friends). Ander and I judged the annual essay contest, meaning we read over 100 manuscripts. Plus, I'm behind on normal Diagram duties. Oh the internet, you seem like fun but you are often work-like.

For the Bending Genre book, we have a 'marketing questionairre' to fill out. I tried to find good places to send the book to be reviewed and to get a few reviewers. I also have to think about Quench, which is coming out around the same time in March. My publisher was very sick last semester so things got a little delayed but I think are back on track. I have to think of marketing plans for that book too and make web sites for both. I think for the Bending Genre book, I'm just going to use a Word Press blog site that I can just update with new news and make some links. For Quench, I think I need a whole new "author" site, which sucks because somehow I lost my old one and now I'm flummoxed. Speaking of websites, I added a FAQ for the English Department and am still working on this whole fundraising mailing that no one wants me to do but damn it. I already ordered the business reply envelopes so that is that. Also, Michael Martone is coming for the High Altitude Writing Institute and Pam Houston is coming for the Northern Arizona Book Festival. It's going to be a busy spring and I may as well send a mailing out about it.

I had normal holiday tasks to attend to. I made peppermint bark. We decorated the tree. I bought presents. I stressed that I didn't buy enough presents. I cooked prime rib and every winter vegetable known to man--except the turnips, which we ate raw. We took down the tree. We also went to the desert desert to see my family where it was not even that warm. We had dinner at my sister's boyfriend's parent's house and now my sister and that boyfriend are getting married. Coincidence? Doubtful.

The best part though was when I stopped worrying about getting all this stuff done. Erik had 10 full days off thanks to holidays and flex time. Zoe and Max had two weeks off. On December 31st, Zoe and Max and I went hiking in the snow with Cleo. On January 1st, we went sledding. On January 2nd, we went cross country skiing for the second time this break. On January 3rd, we went ice-skating for the first time ever for Zoe and Max and the first time for me since I was 12. Max thought it was cold but Zoe liked it. On January 4th, we went nowhere and Zoe wondered what happened to our week of winter wonderland sporting events? On the 6th, Zoe took a private skiing lesson and Erik and I took Max out on skis for his very first time on his first birthday.

This week, I finished my grant apps, the Fall 2013 teaching schedule, and, my syllabi, in so far that syllabi are ever finished.

And now, today, on Sunday, we have finished the thank you notes for Max's birthday and for Christmas and I have written a blog so everything can return to normal which is sadly as busy as the break, but with less winter sports (I took Zoe ice-skating on Friday in an effort to maybe start a habit.)

Next weekend, camping in the desert!


radagast said...

I'm exhausted just reading about what you've bitten off and are trying to chew, Nik! I hope much of that stressy stuff will melt away once you are ensconced in the desert. That sounds perfect right about now.

What Now? said...

Dang, you've got a lot of balls in the air!

(I initially typed "a lot of galls in the air," which would clearly be a weird metaphor and not exactly apt since all of the many things you're describing sound great and not at all galling, but I thought I'd tell you about it anyway since your next post, about all of the anxiety, seems like it could perhaps use that metaphor.)