Well, that was about the most self-indulgent post ever. I'm already slightly embarrassed. But I will not delete it, for reasons of my own. (Actually, the chief reason is that I post so infrequently that I am loath to delete anything that I do get around to posting.)
Anyway, after I wrote it, it occurred to me that the situation is this: If one wants this to be a better school, the kind of school where one is really excited to teach, one must do a lot of the work oneself to make it that way. (I just taught Pale Fire, and I think that I shall use "one" to refer to myself henceforth, at least sometimes.) Because we're so small, individual faculty can make a real difference here.
This is both empowering and debilitating.
Empowering, obviously, because if I want to strengthen the Honors program, I can pretty easily do things to make it stronger. Like setting up a recruitment campaign with automated letter-production through Admissions, putting together a new brochure, setting up a website, organizing new events for Honors students, attending a conference for Honors program administrators this weekend, considering ways of building in study-abroad opportunities for the students (contingent upon funding), more closely monitoring Honors seminars, etc.
Debilitating, obviously, because to do any one of those things, I have to do it. There is no one else.
I could just not care, and go home and do my research, only putting the minimum into service, but a) I would not get tenure, and b) I would hate--or at least resent--my job. Getting invested in the college makes me happier in my work. But it also very much limits what that work can look like.
So maybe what I need to do, here--in fact, obviously what I need to do--is to not feel guilty when I don't write. And to write when I can and want to write, and to apply for everything that might free up some time to write, and not to take on service obligations that I don't care about.
Because the idea of making this a better school? Well, that's pretty exciting.
(There. A more optimistic way of looking at things. But it's not just spin; I think that this is what's really going on, and how I'm somehow even busier than I was in my first year.)