So the thing of it is, this semester has been… intense. For lots of reasons. As my last post indicated, there’s been a fair amount of department drama, which has the appearance of having calmed down but which has totally not calmed down, but that isn’t the only thing. We are also in the midst of some massive administrative turnover, arriving at and working out the implementation of a new strategic plan, I’m responsible for getting us to a program assessment plan for the major designed and implemented (which I took on willingly because I’m a masochist and because with my curriculum experience I am very qualified for such a task), I’m teaching four courses (four different preps: a general education literature course, a sophomore-level survey, a junior-level theory course in the core of the major which is effectively half a new prep because the book I used to use went out of print, and an advanced undergrad course that I’ve never taught before), and I’m now on a five-day-a-week schedule for the first time in years (which is wonderful, ultimately, but it also means that I have a lot more consistent face-time with people and so I’m less inclined to write here when I’m done with that). And also, my personal life has been very… full. There has been a lot of socializing, with friends, and a lot of dating and its concomitant drama. It’s not that my life is terrible or anything, but it has been very chaotic. Lots of dreams about crumbling houses and floods and such other obvious symbolic dream things about being out of control and flailing.
But so I won’t lie: I have wondered over the past months about whether I should just close the blog down. I’ve thought about this for a couple of reasons. First is the fact that I am not writing here consistently. I post on Facebook, I actually now have a real-life twitter account, which, sure, I don’t really use consistently, but I could and might, and I’ve returned to actually writing in a journal consistently, which I basically do instead of writing here. Second, I wonder sometimes about whether I really have anything new to write in this space, what with being a mid-career-style academic these days. Sometimes it feels like I’m just writing the same damned thing over and over again. (Being in this mid-career space often feels to me like being in the movie Groundhog Day.)
I know that one option to alleviate the above concerns, if I want to continue blogging, would be to transform this blog into a more “public” blog, as opposed to its current incarnation, which is a more “private” one. I could be more journalistic, comment on “issues of the day.” I’ve never been attracted to writing that sort of a blog -for even when I write on issues of the day I tend to write about them in a very “private” or personal way. Part of why I’ve felt this way is because so many of “public” sorts of blogs already exist and do it so well, and partly because that sort of “public” writing doesn’t really interest me very much, as a writer. So converting to that sort of a public voice really isn’t going to happen with me. That much I know.
So I want to continue the blog (that much I know, too) even if I’m a shitty blogger who hasn’t been posting much lately. This July will be my 10-year blogiversary, which is like 50 years in blog terms – and the fact that I’ve maintained the blogging over that long of a stretch makes me feel like I shouldn’t just pack my bags and high-tail it out of here. I think that I actually do say stuff that people find worth reading, when I do write, whether because they identify with it or because they think I’m a jerk or whatever.And I can imagine that maybe I’ll be energized about this space again sooner or later, even if I’m not energized about it right now. So no, I don’t think the solution is to relocate or to change the sort of blog I write or even to quit, but I do think that I need to have something happen that energizes me to write more in this space, and I think that something like that must happen sooner or later.
On the horizon, there are some potentially inspiring things. I am going to Italy for a conference where I don’t really know anybody in June. And the conference relates to an author that I’ve worked on, but I’ve always been fearful of joining the community related to this author (for a variety of reasons, mainly related to the author himself, who is dead). CF and I might be writing a textbook together (we have interest from a press) for an “Introduction to English Studies” book, and I am finishing up with my current book project and potentially know what my third book might end up being.
In other news, my students are totally inspiring this semester, and a bunch of them are following me to a course in the fall that I’ve totally revamped, and the course promises to be AWESOME, in no small part because of this core group of students who are already enrolled.
So perhaps once this cruelest month of April is done, I’ll be back here more regularly. Things look good: one of my two 30-year-old suitors just texted me to inform me that he is leaving town for a job in TX on Saturday, so that will give me a little more free time 🙂