I know that I haven't written in an age. This is in part because much of my energy has been taken up since a week ago with not really knowing where I want to go next with Housewives and Hussies. Things are percolating. Fermenting. Marinating. You know. All of that stuff that has to happen passively. And then I have to feel guilty about the fact that I'm not actively "producing" anything, and that takes more energy. And after all that? Well, clearly I need a nap, and I don't have anything left over for blogging.
So now I have a stockpile of things that I might write about on the blog but I don't really know that I want to write a whole and entire post about any of them. I know. That is irritating. I'm even irritating to myself. So let me talk about my sabbatical and how I'm feeling about it and maybe you'll get an idea of what's going on with me and why I've been so quiet of late.
My sabbatical doesn't technically begin until the middle of the month (so like another week and a half), but I've been considering the summer as part of my sabbatical since I had an award that meant I was paid to do research this summer and was prohibited from teaching. Now, as I began with the leave time, I got a lot of advice and words of wisdom from people. Advice about taking time just to rest; advice about allowing oneself to enjoy oneself in this time, etc. And I have done those things. And, actually, in addition to resting and having fun I'd say that I got a good amount of work done, even considering the fact that I moved and all of that.
But I've found myself over this summer feeling a lot of stupid envious feelings, which I think has to some extent gotten in the way of me enjoying what I do have with this time as well as getting in the way of me celebrating what I have accomplished. See, lots of people I know in my academic generation are beginning their first sabbaticals, too, and they are either a) traveling to fabulous places, and in one case actually living in the fabulous place "abroad" for the time of the sabbatical; b) able to take a whole year instead of the one semester that I can afford (and this envy isn't just about money - it then feeds into the envy about people having partners whose jobs can carry the partner who gets a 40% salary reduction and then I don't have a partner and then woe is me I'm going to die alone and this is bullshit); c) I feel like everybody's work is more interesting than mine, more important than mine, and more ... just MORE than mine, so not only am I trapped in the United States, with only 4 months of sabbatical leave where other people get the whole academic year, desperately alone, but on top of that my research is stupid.
Now. I do realize that all of the above is pathetic and self-pitying and not only not useful but also not even how I really feel. Or, well, I feel those things, every now and again, but I also the majority of the time feel like I don't want anybody's life but my own because my life is pretty great.
And then I'm also feeling irritated about the fact that it's the start of the academic year and that as much as I want to be totally checked out from what's happening at my university and my department I'm not. Instead, I'm trying really hard to force myself away (which I know is good) but then certain things find their way to me anyway, and then I feel like I want to punch people in the face. Like, for example, I've got this colleague who... Ok, the most diplomatic way that I can put this is that this colleague's scheduling needs have had an impact on my teaching schedule (both in terms of times that I've taught as well as in the courses that I've taught) in a number of different semesters. I am sick of it. And yet, what's the first thing I hear when I pop into the office to check my mailbox? That once again this colleague may well be being accommodated and that it may well affect my rotation of courses. And I am sick of it. This colleague is unpleasant, doesn't carry hir share of the service burden, and students hate the colleague. Why in God's name don't we tell this person to suck it? Because I would really like to tell this person to suck it. But, if I were to do that, it would make other people's lives difficult and I don't really want to do that to them, and so.... Yeah. (Anyway, knowing the track record of this person I feel like this is probably going to come to nothing anyway because zie will change hir mind at the last minute, but whatever.)
And then I'm also irritated by the fact that my department chair had asked that people on sabbatical come to the department retreat (even though we are not supposed to have to go to it according to the faculty handbook) and I know that some people are just not going to show up, and I know that if I show up and they don't that it will fill me with rage, but on the other hand, I feel like it might be stupid of me not to go to the retreat because I know that we will discuss some important things and also it's really hard for me not to do what my chair asks. Colleague Friend suggested that I just plan to be out of town and that way I wouldn't need to worry about making an excuse, but that sticks in my craw. I don't want to lie or to shirk. What I want to do is to be up front with my chair about the fact that it's bullshit that I'll be at this thing while other people just ignore his request and that is why I won't be there - or won't be there for the whole time (because I can imagine wanting to be there for a couple of items that I think will be on the agenda). Gah.
But see? I feel like I have all of the irritation of the academic year without any of the joy of being excited about teaching my classes. And I also have hit this block with the book, feeling like it's lame and like I'll never finish it anyway so what's the point? (That last bit isn't true. It's just how one feels at this point in a project I think. I've done enough now that I see exactly how much I have left to do, and that's daunting.)
So. I'm going to go and attempt to make some headway with research (a) and with the conference I'm planning (b). Wish me luck.
2 years ago