Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Semi-Annual Time of the New Leaf

Here we go again, here we go again. Classes start tomorrow.

I'm a little shocked by the extent to which this has failed to sink in--as in, I'm not really prepped for my classes, although the syllabi etc. are printed. (And there's a huge giant error on the 36 comp syllabi: I left in a note to myself and forgot to change a due date, so it no longer makes sense. I shall manually correct these tomorrow. I do not want to ask my students to cross out the note to myself.) But, you know, I'm not too worried. Two years ago I was terrified. Last year I was resigned. This year: Hey! I'm teaching a cool new seminar! Comp sort of maybe makes some sense, and I've already written a lot of the prompts! I've done Brit Lit I twice now, and know it pretty well! No worries!

We also have a new dean who seems pretty awesome so far. I think that that will make a difference in the feel of the year. Our (two-day, mandatory) retreat had a much more optimistic feel to it than last year's; I think that even the skeptics, including many of my dear friends, are convinced that things are looking up. There are a lot of cool new ideas bouncing around; I'm having colleagues do guest lecture-type things in all of my classes; the Honors program that I run might get to do some really exciting new stuff. It looks good.

But the real point is that, again, I have pledged to have a sane year. I've changed my blog sub-heading for the first time since I picked this thing up (and this is post no. 400, by the way): Instead of "do thi werk," a quote from The Cloud of Unknowing that sounds rather resigned (although it's not, really, in the original), I am now committed to Living Well with a 4-4 Load. Damn straight, y'all. I'm gonna own that 4-4.

However: I'm not entirely sure what that involves just yet. Eating well. Exercise. Not completing most of my work in a frenzied chaos of panic. Staying on top of things. Taking time off. And finishing that accursed article.

It's going to be a busy year: on top of the usual, I'm giving a major lecture on campus in mid-October and will soon have the book proofs to deal with. (I am blocking the word "indexing" from my mind until the time actually comes to do it.) The aforementioned exciting new ideas will take a good bit of work if they're to get off the ground, too. But, well. I like my work. Maybe if I can just do my work calmly, the rest will follow.

So, it's a new leaf.

I have a memory of making little boats out of leaves when I was a child, and casting them off into the overfull gutter outside my grandparents' house after a storm. The water glinted in the light and swept down the street swiftly and smooth, like a shining ribbon.

Maybe I'm mixing metaphors for no reason, but off we go: the new leaf is about to set sail.


What Now? said...

I love your new sub-head! Here's to your 4-4 sane year.

Maude Lebowski said...

Yes, I too LURVE this! It really resonates with how I want my first year to be--though I know a sane year my first year on the t-t with a 4-4 might be too much to ask for. :-)