Sunday, August 19, 2007
Reflections for the Summer of my Prose
Last day of summer vacation for me. School begins tomorrow, and the semester will be busy with me teaching a new class, Psychopharmacology. Our enrollments are up again after Katrina so the classes will be big. But I’ve had a relaxing summer to prepare and there will be pleasure in seeing my colleagues and students again.
What an incredible summer it has been, the most productive ever where my writing is concerned, and also just one of the happiest I can remember since the days of a less-than-carefree youth. I’ve realized how truly simple my needs are, how much of a balm the uncomplicated life is to my spirit. For the past three months I’ve risen in the morning around 9:30, spent a leisurely bit of time blogging while I watch the cardinals, blue jays, doves, chickadees and woodpeckers through my office window feeding at our backyard buffet. In the afternoon I’ve written, with ample breaks for reading on the deck or taking a nap. In the evening I’ve written more, with time out to spend with Lana, or with an occasional break in the routine as we’ve gone out to eat.
There have been moments of excitement and/or tension. A trip to Cross Plains for Howard Days. A journey home to see my mom. An SF conference and a book signing. These things were enjoyable, although some did create a little anxiety. But overall it has been a placid time, a time for reflection and work that, to me, is meaningful.
Two novels published this summer, although both were written well before. A third in the works. And now the poetry chapbook. These are things I’d hoped to accomplish years ago. But the timing was not right and that is one thing that has made this summer great. For the first time in my life, my timing has been good.
As for the writing I’ve been doing? Articles for The Illuminata and other places, a revision of the Writing in Psychology text that I wrote a few years back with some colleagues, and the “very near” completion of another major nonfiction project of which I’ll talk about at some later date.
I used to get irritated when people would make a comment like: “You teachers have it made.” They’d usually elaborate by telling me how I was off every summer and had so many vacation days during the school year, like at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I’d get irritated because I've had exactly one summer off since 1986, and most “supposed” school year vacations are actually times when teachers grades tests and papers and make up examinations and plan for the next semester’s courses. But this summer, I can see people being envious of my time off. I don’t blame them. In a few weeks I’ll be envious of myself.
A pleasant aspect of the summer has also been the interplay here in the blogosphere. I’ve enjoyed having more time to explore folks’ blogs and get to know them. No doubt I’ll have to cut back a bit on that as the semester rolls in. I don’t intend to quit blogging but I imagine my posts and my commenting will inevitably slack off. Please don’t imagine that this is lack of interest in what all of you have to say. But hey, even us teachers have to work sometime.
Now, on to a great autumn.