Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Month With All the Stuff In It

I feel like I'm always telling somebody that I'm about to become "less busy," but then it never happens. I just stay busy. I only finished grading all the essays from my spring semester kids a little over a week ago, and Tuesday I began teaching my summer term course. Honestly, it's just as well that I have a little structure to my summer. I go absolutely bananas without a normal routine. There's crying and lots of eating involved, and a good measure of comatose staring-off-into-the-distance, all of this paired with ceaseless streaming of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This summer I'll be teaching just one Tuesday/Thursday morning course with only ten students in it--just enough to offer me some semblance of routine. I also plan to stay as busy as possible throughout the summer, and if this week is any indication of how that's going to pan out, I figure I won't have any problem at all.

Monday I had a meeting at St. Thomas for an exciting new class I get to teach there next semester. To clarify: the course isn't new to St. Thomas, just new to me. I get to teach the book Things That Are by Amy Leach, which is a beautiful and wonderfully neologistic lyric essay put out by Milkweed Editions. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday I taught the first class of summer semester and forgot everyone's name as soon as they all left. Then I had lunch in Minneapolis with some people from the Loft and Daniel Jones, the "Modern Love" columnist for the New York Times. How surreal, considering I basically only got to do this because I won a raffle.

Yesterday evening I went to the Master's Essay Presentation event at St. Thomas with my husband, who will be graduating on Saturday with a Master's in English. Somebody referred to him as "the man, the myth, the legend" so I'm wondering if he has special abilities I don't know about aside from being ridiculously brilliant. We went out for a celebratory drink and had to rush home by 9 so that I could participate in Write Fight--an online writing competition hosted by Revolver. My poem is up all day and is facing off against Meghan Pipe's piece, so if you have a few minutes before 9:00 PM (CST), go here and read and vote for your favorite one!

I just got home from guest-hosting a Spongebob-themed episode of What Did You Look Up On Wikipedia, which will probably be available for public consumption in the coming weeks. Spoiler alert: I dress up like Patrick and we drink Pina Coladas. We talk a lot about the implausibility and esoteric nature of the Spongebob Universe, and ask some really probing questions. I'll let you know when you can watch it!

For now I have to go and eat something that's not a french fry. (I love you, french fries. I hope you don't read this blog. If so, I'm not serious.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Update: I'm Not Dead

Another semester is coming to a close, and I'm putting off the last of my grading by writing a blog post, listening to hip hop, and drinking the hell out of some coffee. The only good thing about grading as one of the biggest proportions of my job is that much of my job, in turn, can be performed in my pajamas.

I thought I'd give an update on my new year's resolutions, seeing as it's about a third of the way into the year already (oh crap oh crap oh crap). It's so funny how one of the longest, hardest winters of my life also seemed to fly by the quickest. From mid-February to mid-April, I was chest-deep in yoga teacher training, which is probably one of the crazier things I've ever done. Teaching two writing intensive courses and taking an eight week, 200-hour certification class? And teaching a class at the Loft? And meeting a five-day-a-week yoga practice requirement? And meeting deadlines for some serious grant proposals? And keeping my cool/not flipping my lid? That's definitely something I didn't live up to. My lid was constantly on the verge of being flipped or in total up-in-the-air MEGA FLIP mode. And my planner looked like a novel-in-progress.

But now I feel my life quietly coming back to me. Eight weeks of total chaos abruptly ended, and I'm no longer in yoga seminar ten hours a week. Then I met Garrison Keillor and he read my poem (I plan to make a real post about this later). Then the semester ended, and all I have left is to face some serious freshman paper grading. If I could beat the winter, I can definitely beat some freshman research essays. Though this semester I had the sense to put the kibosh on essays about legalizing marijuana or changing the legal drinking age to 18. 

Anyway, back to the resolutions, one of which was to complete a yoga teacher training program and become a certified yoga teacher. Checkmark! Done. My other goals are ongoing, and mostly writing related:

* Do four poetry readings (I've done three this year, actually!)
* Read at least 52 books (I'm standing at 27, though they're mostly poetry books, admittedly, and I read the majority of them during January)
* Write 200 poems (I've written 60)
* Work on a manuscript (I haven't done this at all--thanks for such an ambiguous goal with no tangible steps to tackle it)
* Get 100 rejections (33 so far--right on target!)
* Practice yoga 200 times (I have a sticker chart for this, and it is as motivational to me now as it was in 2nd grade. I've tracked 78 since January 1st)

Those are my big goals and I feel good about sticking to them. In addition to the 33 poetry rejections, I've gotten ten acceptances, too, including one from the Potomac Review this morning! I am definitely digging this acceptance-to-rejection ratio, but honestly it's really mostly luck, I feel like. If I've learned anything from being a poetry editor, it really depends on my mood when I'm reading through submissions. But here's to another eight-ish months of writing and reading and doing more things I really love. Life is pretty cool sometimes. Like, being alive is nice.