Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Goals, Summer Fretting, Summer Musings

I've decided to hold off on the big scary project--Writing My Book--and focus instead on the smaller projects immediately at hand:  revising my Bollywood essay, expanding my piece on romance fiction and poetry, editing the Romance Fiction and American Culture anthology, and writing my own contribution to  that collection, which will be the expanded version of my IASPR conference paper from last summer.  Alongside, you know, all the other stuff (conference organizing, JPRS, family matters), those are my summer goals, while I keep a a catchall file somewhere on the computer where thoughts about Das Book will go.

My thought is that this strategy will keep these projects from seeming like roadblocks or distractions from what I "ought" to be doing, and will loosen me up a bit for the more peripheral, playful thinking that will need to go into DB.  Trying to hack my moods a bit, so that I don't begrudge the time I spend on any individual effort.

And, to be honest, as long as I'm writing something connected to my research, I'm happy.  It's the extended periods of only editing, or writing nothing but reports and emails, that gets me down.


Speaking of which, I recently got this as an auto-reply email:

"Your email has landed safely in my inbox.  I am offline editing and writing.  I will be checking from time to time so please be patient."

Why does it never occur to me to send out a message like that?


One thing I've started to learn this summer:  there's a particular feeling of mental restlessness, coupled either with generalized unhappiness or a recurrent set of mental "scripts"--arguments with person X or quarrelsome thoughts about topic Y--that I've learned to recognize as a sign that I really need to sit down and shut my eyes for 20 minutes...which often turns into an hour.  And, since it's the summer, I often can act on that realization.  Unbelievable luxury, this.  


It's been a while since I've read a book of essays that I've enjoyed as much--or that's gotten me thinking as gratefully--as Charles Bernstein's Attack of the Difficult Poems.  I don't always agree with it, or even quite know what he's saying, in practical terms (i.e., how I'd use his ideas in my classroom or what the student work-product would then look like), but the liveliness of thought and expression here are really welcome, and by no means guaranteed in either academic or literary writing, nowadays.  I'll post some quotes as the summer goes by.


My son's been getting me up to speed on some of his favorite music as we drive off to school in the morning.  Here's one that I enjoyed the other day, by the Arctic Monkeys.  Me, I'm off to nap.

1 comment:

Laura Vivanco said...

Sounds like a very good plan.

Hope you have a happy (and restful) summer!