Friday, December 20, 2013

My Year in Books! 2013!

In the last couple of years, I started using Shelfari and Goodreads to track the books I read. (Though I still keep a handwritten list in a notebook too!—just a little OCD there. And I use them both because Goodreads links to Facebook more easily, but Shelfari lets me track multiple readings better. Maybe a lot OCD, come to think of it.). I like seeing the covers lined up on my virtual shelves, especially when I’ve read the book on my Kindle, and then it’s super fun at the end of the year when the site emails your statistics:

This is an estimate of the number of pages you’ve read in 2013: 20,025 pages.

But then you also get this kind of depressing thing:

You’ve read 59 books this year. Last year you read 70 books, so you’re behind your pace.

In a rather roundabout way, it reminds me of that Monty Python novel writing skit, with the sports announcer calling Thomas Hardy’s new novel: “Thomas Hardy here on the first day of his new novel has crossed out the only word he’s written so far, and he’s gazing off into space!” It’s true that it’s not very exciting to watch somebody write (one day I actually ended up with a NEGATIVE word count), but I love this silly and wonderful quantifying of our relationship to words and books.

I reread a LOT, partly because I usually read at night when I’m pretty tired, and it’s hard to get the energy up to read something new or demanding after spending all day in class and meetings and grading. Mostly, though, I just love to reread a book I loved the first time around; it feels like visiting old friends. I just looked at my Shelfari listing for Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and found I’ve read it four times since it was published in 2005. This year for the first time I read all seven Harry Potter books back to back. And then out of sick curiosity, I totaled up how many times I’ve read one or the other of the HP books: 38. (Whoa.)

At the end of the year, though, when I think about what I’ve read, I tend to think first of the new books, things I hadn’t read before. So here are the books I found most interesting in 2013 (well, and also The Historian), and here’s hoping I have time to squeeze in one or two more before January!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Albums, Love, Hadestown

I am obsessed with this new album.

I’ve had my history of album obsession, starting with wonderfully disgraceful pop music: Donna Summer’s Bad Girl and the soundtrack to Grease during my tween years (though nobody had ever heard of tweens back when I was one). My guy friends apparently all spun Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while I belted out Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable until I found the real thing, Ella Fitzgerald’s The Best of Songbooks (I have the complete songbooks now, thank you God!). Sheryl Crow’s eponymous second album echoed late in the empty office hallways during the years I worked on my tenure file, with me singing along way too loud. And there were the Michelle Shocked Arkansas Traveler days, and the days I played nothing but Atlanta Rhythm Section’s Champagne Jam, and She & Him Volume 2, or the Dixie Chicks’ Fly.

Suzanne Vega’s Retrospective haunted me during my divorce; Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams became my anthem for a new and more complicated life, and my second husband and I debated over “Better Together” for our wedding dance before settling on Ella Fitzgerald’s “I Could Write a Book.” We listened in bed to Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong over and over again. I only need to hear the first chords of a song from one of those albums to be back for a moment in that time, remembering working too late too many nights, remembering that dark Christmas Day that I realized I would be divorced soon, remembering that later giddy Christmas when my old friend courted me with chocolate and roses and music.

A song is a fun little fling, but an album is a full-fledged love affair. I’ve flirted with individual songs like Pink Martini’s “Hang on Little Tomato” and Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark.” And compilations! and playlists! I have a not-so-secret and pretty seriously bourgeois fondness for compilation cds from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn and Starbucks. I love playlists and make one every Valentine’s Day for my husband, and I add every year to my famous Halloween party playlist, spreading songs around me like photos for an album and choosing only the most wonderful. Still, a playlist isn’t an album and never will be, and I can love a song without giving it my heart.

People of my generation (oh my God! I’m old!) have a special relationship with albums, one I sometimes think my children and my students can’t fully understand, growing up as they have in the perpetual earbuds-iPod-mp3-Pandora-Spotify world. Just like most of my students have never read a collection of poems written by a single author, they seem to have a different experience of music, one that seems more scattershot to me, but also somehow more fundamental—they live their lives immersed in an perpetual stream, eddying from old favorites to new music in way I can barely begin to imagine.

I’ve ventured into that brave new world and love it too—but the album! especially vinyl! turning the album to the B side, the hiss of my not-very-good record player still a part of my memory of those old songs. The album, the perfect whole, each song a beat in the heartbeat of the whole.

My husband is interested in the music in music; I’m interested in the words. Once as we listened to the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations,” Hayes said “Listen to that cello, how it comes out in the mix towards the end,” and I said in surprise and without thinking, “Are there instruments in this song?” I hear the music too, of course, but when an album rockets to the top of my personal charts, I learn the lyrics first and fast. I can’t sing—though of course that never stopped me—but if I can’t sing along with an album even in my own limping way, if the lead is too deep or too high, I’ll never love that album quite the same way. Ibrahim Ferrer’s Mi Sueño is so lovely, but I’ve forgotten so much of my Spanish now that the best I can do is hum along, and so that album has never risen to the true heights of cult following for me.

Hadestown, though.

A friend who knows I love poetry and music and literature and mythology sent me a link to Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown—listen, he said, to this, this folk opera, this retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. And I listened, and listened, and have listened since August to Orpheus’s multivoiced epic desire, to Eurydice’s sweet longing, to Hades’s deep-throated swagger, to Persephone’s earthy jazz, to Hermes’s scratchy hobo tenor, to the Fates' bright harmonic cynicism—to this myth of the grand but always already doomed quest to bring back love from the dead.

The 2010 album was presciently set in darkness and poverty, the songs written well before the recent US economic slump, and in that setting we see the first and really most substantial departure from the myth. Eurydice is blameless in the classic tale, dying from a snakebite on her wedding day to Orpheus. In Hadestown, though, Eurydice is a woman deeply conscious of the precariousness of her situation, and that anxiety becomes her downfall. In the first piece in the album, “Wedding Song,” she asks Orpheus repeatedly how he will provide for their wedding and their marriage, “Times being what they are / Hard and getting harder all the time.” Orpheus blithely assures her that the river will provide gold for the wedding rings, the trees the food for the wedding table, the birds the feathers for the wedding bed, but Eurydice’s questioning foreshadows her fall into Hadestown.

Eurydice’s yearning for both love and safety resonate profoundly throughout this album, and her unease about her possible life with Orpheus echoes even in her declarations of love for the poet. She is fascinated with Hadestown and its overlord, a world so beguiling and flush that she sees only “Everybody sipping ambrosia wine.” While Orpheus and Hermes warn her that “Mister Hades is a mean old boss,” she sees only the “goldmine” that is Hadestown, not the “graveyard” they try to show her. She is tempted by the prosperity of Hadestown, ending the song “Way Down Hadestown” with her frank desire to be secure:

Mr. Hades is a mighty king
Must be making some mighty big deals
Seems like he owns everything
Kind of makes you wonder how it feels

The plaintive tone of her song here makes it hard to blame her for what we know already will be her seduction by Hades. In one of his most important songs, “Hey, Little Songbird,” Hades plays expertly on Eurydice’s uncertainly and need; such a “pity for one so pretty and young,” but “nobody sings on empty,” he assures her. She wavers, wanting what we all want, “a nice soft place to land,” and calls out a lament to Orpheus, whom she clearly loves. But Orpheus is nowhere in evidence as Hades draws a grim portrait of her life with her artist husband:

Hey, little songbird, let me guess
He’s some kind of poet—and he’s penniless
Give him your hand, he’ll give you his hand-to-mouth
He’ll write you a poem when the power’s out
Hey, why not fly south for the winter?

And so Erydice slips into the afterlife in “Gone, I’m Gone,” giving Orpheus her heart but telling him “It’s my gut I can’t ignore / Orpheus, I’m hungry.” This grim vision of the life of the artist is something about this album I find compelling—I gotta say, poets don’t get much respect or cash in this world, and nobody knows that better than Hades.

But what I love most about this album is the profound way Mitchell retells and transforms the story, honoring it and making it live again. I’ve been working for years now on a collection of poems imaging the life of a goddess in contemporary American, and translating a myth is hard work—or at least I have found it very hard. Fascinating, compelling, rewarding—but really damn hard. I adore Mitchell’s Persephone—her loveliness, her confidence, how smoothly she moves between the ancient myth and today’s world, as a goddess should. In her largest moment in the album, “Our Lady of the Underground,” Persephone sings in a speakeasy, offering the men of Hadestown a forbidden taste of their earthly lives. She knows their despair and longing as only the Queen of Underworld could: “I don’t know about you, boys / But if you’re like me then hanging around / This old manhole is bringing you down,” she begins the song. She’s “got the wind right here in a jar,” “the rain on tap at the bar,” and in lovely moment of contemporary mythmaking, she’s got the moon “right here waiting in my pay-per-view.” Mitchell’s lyrics are superb, and Ani DiFranco performs Persephone’s silky croon with an elegance that is as seductive as the lady herself. Persephone’s power has its bounds, but she embraces that power fully; while Hades is the king, she is his wife, and it is her love for her husband and her pity for Orpheus—and Hades’s love for her—that allows her to persuade Hades to give Orpheus his chance to reclaim Eurydice. Though we know the attempt will fail, she earns him the grace of the chance. As Orpheus sings of the moment Hades first saw Persephone, we are pulled back into the ancient Greek world, but these epic figures have stepped into our world today and made that myth new again—no mean feat, given how often Orphues’s tale has been revisited in literature and art.

I’ve been listening to Hadestown pretty much daily for the last two months. In that time, my own poor goddess has been closed up in her notebook, her poems neglected, while I grade papers and argue about curriculum and advise students for their spring schedules, while I attend Senate meetings during the day and Scout meetings with my son at night. She’s languishing, that poor goddess, my poor book. My hour’s commute listening this album keeps me connected to my writing, and I know that this album wouldn’t resonate for me so powerfully if there were not something here I must understand. My goddess tends more towards Eurydice’s longing and grief than Persephone’s strength—and here is where I must look further—but I don’t know yet where this observation will take me.

I believe, though, that one day when I recount my life through albums, when I remember grading papers that year to Yo Yo Ma’s Bach Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, and when I think affectionately about my brief new age phase and Songs of Kuan Yin, when I am amazed at how young I was during the Donna Summer days, I will remember Hadestown with more than my usual fondness for the album that represents that period of my life. Hadestown is a masterwork, an elegy to lost love, a gorgeous meditation on the need and doubt we all struggle with each day. Listening to this music, I am Eurydice, I am Persephone, I love Orpheus, I want Hades, and I am lost—but somehow still myself. Only in the greatest art do we recognize ourselves and transform ourselves.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Get this party started

We had dinner the other night with friends and I bought a Woodchuck limited release hard cider called Summer for us to drink, just out of nostalgia. Another summer slipped out of sight in the rear view window as we sped into school.

I never had students write those “What I Did this Summer” essays, although I always thought they’d be fun if you wrote them Natalie Goldberg style. I’ve never had much impulse to write them myself, for that matter, but this summer was so epic (for us) that I’m tempted. Don’t worry! I won’t! But probably that explains why here school has started and I’m as tired now as I was after exams in May. I keep seeing photos from my public school teacher friends’ Facebook pages of their shiny new classrooms, and I can barely muster the energy to just imagine sifting through the piles on my office floor. Never mind actually start!

Still, I have good classes this fall—a first-year composition class, a poetry class, this new South Carolina Studies class online. I worked on the online class much of the summer, which was fun since I really had time to let ideas develop, but also frustrating because—what about the beach?? It’s strange to write a whole course without students there; even if I’m teaching something in a face-to-face class that I’ve taught before, I change it around to work with that group of students.

Each group is a little different, after all, full of people who love to read or hate to read, who are learning how to have their first jobs or who have left careers to come back to school. As I wrote assignments for my classes, I imagined the students and what they would make of the tasks—and then poof! the mythical students are here!

They have practice all afternoon or bad work schedules or new babies or chemotherapy or anxieties about using computers; they’re helping their kids with homework before bedtime. They want to be social workers and lawyers and teachers; they have no idea what they want to be. They want to start businesses, run their businesses better, join the Peace Corps and live off the grid, make money and change the world. They’ve read Melville and Twilight; they watch Game of Thrones and Sherlock.

I see freshmen each year learn that sometimes it’s as simple as doing your homework, see them gain confidence when they start asking for help. I talk to a junior I taught several years ago as a freshman and am amazed at the change. I wonder sometimes what they’re thinking, but then other times I remember hating that philosophy class while I read all the reading, required or not, for that History of Mass Media class. I remember cutting some classes, never missing others, making mistakes, writing that one perfect paper. I showed up for my first college class hoping it would be wonderful—and I keep showing up for my next college class every fall, knowing it will be wonderful and so much work and so frustrating and still so wonderful.

Working on a class all summer alone is odd. It’s like having a long conversation by yourself, like cleaning house and cooking for days waiting for the party to start. The party’s started!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing Writing Writing—and Not Writing

What I’m really learning here is that I can’t work very successfully on more than one writing project at a time. I’m trying to finish my poetry collection—that’s mostly done, but there are several poems that might stand some revision, many poems to send out to journals for publication, contests to enter, money to toss away on contest fees. However long it takes me to actually place the book, I’ll essentially still be writing it and working on it, even though in theory it’s done.

Then there’s the memoir project, without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write. The need for sustained attention to a difficult period in the past really just livens up the present, let’s just say. Most of what I’ve written is really just awful, too, though I do have several short chapters that are quite good—these are giving me hope that there might be value in this project, but I’m not used to writing this much awful stuff anymore! It’s demoralizing! Add in the whole needing therapy thing, and wow, this is exhausting.

Because I am a broke academic who doesn’t get paid in the summer, and because I still haven’t learned not to overcommit myself, I’m also working on two grant projects. One is to develop a new online course, which is fascinating but very demanding. The other is to complete an article on women writing about their experiences of sexuality, also fascinating, but I’ve just found that I can’t wrap my head around but so many writing projects in a day, and this one, the least urgent, is suffering.

And finally, I leave tomorrow morning for the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, for almost two weeks of workshops on my poems. Sewanee is a venerable conference, my workshop teacher won a Pulitzer, and I can still scarcely believe I’m going at all. My friend Fran told me today, while you’re there, don’t be a professor or a mother or a wife, just be a poet. How? These threads of my identity tangle together (just like our sorry attempts at knots for Scouts! to use a bad yet fitting metaphor!) and it’s hard to imagine separating them. I also can’t imagine being away from home and my family for two weeks! And my new baby kitty!

Still—I have a crate of books packed, books by the faculty I’ll be working with, my mythology books, my little Bastet, that sort of thing—and tomorrow afternoon I’ll stack them up on my desk in the dorm at the University of the South—and enter a new world. Drink the wine—but stay away from the pomegranates…

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Week 2

Well, that didn’t go so well. I adjusted the week’s goals down one day because we had Regional Campuses Faculty Senate Friday, which meant four hours driving to get to the Salkehatchie campus at Allendale, plus the six hour meeting, plus Will’s last Cub Scout Pack Celebration before he crosses over to the Boy Scout Troop. Awards plus the Raingutter Regatta races for the little boat he built last week meant the Pack Celebration would probably be at least an hour and a half, maybe two. So I think anybody who has twelve hours of unavailable obligations should get the day off from writing. Because, shoot, writing is HARD.

But then Laura got sick and I had to drive to Greenville to pick her up and take her to two different doctor appointments. And I had Senate prep and grading rewrites for my 102 class. I’ve been on the phone a lot with the insurance company trying to get my car fixed after somebody bashed in my bumper in the parking lot. Essentially just a whole lot going on.

So I did meet my time goal for the week, but waaaay down on the word count. Still I managed to write a little over four pages with all that going on, so I guess that’s something. It’d sure be nice if I felt that I’d actually written anything good in those four pages! It’ll come together if I keep working at it, I know, but wow, that eight-word day was a bummer.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 1

Alas, the whole book writing plan pretty well nixed the National Poetry Month posting a poem every day project.  I did work on my own poetry manuscript this week in addition to the new writing project, at least!

So the first week went by, and I met both my word count and time goals every day.  So that’s, what, 2169 words, about eight manuscript pages?  It’s a little hard to estimate because some of what I wrote sucked and I rewrote it away the next day, and I really only worked on segments, so there are two sections of complete draft, but also a lot of little place-marker chunks about what I want to do.  I’m not generally good at rigidly defined goals (do something every day???), so that’s a good first start.  My writing accountability guru is all about treats.  Wonder what my treat should be??

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Superman's Daily Writing Goal

I am a chicken.

I’ve been thinking about writing a book pretty seriously for a couple of years. Not a collection of poems, which I’m finishing one of now, but a creative nonfiction project. Nonfiction as a genre has a bad rep, truly. How many bad memoirs can there be in one world? EVERYbody has a story they want to tell, and it’s truly painful how few of those are interesting to anyone other than the parties involved. And really, just image your mother reading it!

But I’ve had it. I don’t care if this book sucks. I’m going to write it anyway. And it’ll never get published. But I’m going to write it anyway.

So here’s the story. It takes me about 30 minutes to write 250 words. I’m shooting for a length of about 75,000 words, just based on what published books typically run. I think what I want will actually be shorter than that, but I won’t really be able to tell until I start writing it, so let’s shoot for the high end. So let’s say I write 30 minutes a day, 75,000 words as the target. That means I’ll have a really shitty first draft (as Anne Lamott so elegantly calls it) in 300 days. I can already tell you I won’t write every day. There’s that whole work thing, commuting thing, kid thing, and occasionally I’d like to actually exchange a word or two with my husband. So let’s just call it an even year to end up with a really shitty first draft. That’s with me using something like 42 Goals to track the writing time. And a lot of cussing or praying, depending on the day.

(At least I don’t have to save the world every single day!)

Then a year to revise it. What order does everything go in? (I’m envisioning a sort of collage narrative at the moment, so that’ll be loads of fun to arrange, and I know this from several months of trying to figure out how on earth to get poems into a reasonable order.) How do I stop using the word “still” every three lines? What on earth was I thinking with that sentence? Then a year or two to try to figure out that it won’t get published. Writing a query, identifying publishers, revising again when I find the flabby stuff again. 

So the question comes down to this. Should I spend 30 minutes a day for three years writing something that won’t get published? 

Well, if I’d started this in May 2011 when I first started taking notes, I’d already be hopelessly searching for a publisher! So since two years have gone by and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, yes, I am.

To make it simpler, let’s start with the daily goal and the first big goal. 
A shitty first draft in one year.
250 words or 30 minutes writing time every day.
And get over the chicken thing.
Guess it’s just as well I don’t watch TV anyhow, right? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Material Girl

In my head, Friday is always payday, even though I actually get paid at the middle and end of the month. I have a vexed relationship with money—love it! want it! not willing to be an accountant or whatever to earn more of if when I can read books and talk to students instead! but sad about that sometimes too (like when Laura’s tuition bill comes due). It’s funny that when I was in college I was absolutely insistent that I would make my career choices on what I loved, not how much I would make, and that I wouldn’t later regret that. It sounds so dumb (and clearly is an indication that I was fortunate!), but I genuinely didn’t care about money then. I actually haven’t regretted my career decisions, even though they haven’t always been as financially rewarding as one might hope. The older I get, though, the more interested I actually am in money. Apparently I’m not the only one! Here’s a snippet of poem for today:
“Middle-Age Poem”
Grace Paley 
              With what joy
I left home to deposit one thousand, one hundred and nineteen
                    dollars in the bank
I was whistling and skipping
you would think I had a new baby and a new cradle
after so many years. . . . 
I love historical currency conversion—so Paley’s 1985 $1119 today would be $2414.44. If I had an extra two thou to deposit today, I’d be skipping and whistling too. :) At the end of the poem, Paley compares going to the bank to meeting a lover. I dunno know about that! But I do love the way Paley’s poem grapples with the way our desires change over life.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Catalogs and Hardware Stores

Cataloging is the fancypants poetic term for list-making, which must explain why I am drawn so frequently to catalog poems. Whitman of course was the master at this, his long lines unfurling like the longest coil of rope you could buy, just running right of the page. I don’t actually know much about the author of today’s poem, Nancy Willard, but her “A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God” is another of my long-time favorites. I can’t remember now where I found it—I’d guess Poetry Daily, where I first really discovered the random loveliness of stumbling something online that you’d never have found otherwise, something that changes your life.

I’m noticing in thinking what to post for Poetry Month that the poems that come first to mind I’ve loved so much I copied them from their books, by hand or with the photocopier, or I printed them out to hang them on the refrigerator or on my office door at work. Something in the act of reproducing the text makes those words more permanent for me. In other words, those favorite poems have the physicality of artifacts, appropriately enough for this jewel of a poem that finds the divine in the aisles in every sod-smelling Ace or Lowe’s. The first few lines:
“A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God”—Nancy Willard
I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees . . .
Willard evokes the sacred potentiality of the hardware store, every Phillips-head screwdriver or pack of Sweet William seeds waiting for the breath of the divine—in our hands and work—to bring this new world awake.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I really don’t have favorite poems, any more than I have favorite children, but I do have one poem that I have carried in my calendar for years, one that I read and reread with joy every single time.  I’ve always loved Linda Pastan’s work—I read “Ethics” and wish I taught philosophy (and NOTHING else has ever made me wish I taught philosophy, let me tell you).  And her “Love Poem”! (Look! she and Neruda BOTH got away with writing “Love Poems”!  I’d never dream of trying!)  Pastan’s “Lists” though!  So many lovely images.  Such a wonderful idea, the list both worldly and transcendent.  A few lines from the middle of the poem:
And all the time the tree
is making its endless list
of leaves; the sky
is listing its valuables
in rain. My daughter
lists the books she means to read,
and their names are like the exotic
names of birds on my husband’s
life list.
I love the juxtaposition of the tree and the sky and the daughter and husband all making their lists.  I’m incredibly list oriented myself; I’ve made lists all my life—grocery lists, to-do lists, playlists.  In 2011 I started keeping a list of all the wonderful and funny and strange things my children say, and wow do I wish I’d started that one earlier.  But I am a very literal minded list maker, unlike Pastan.  Below, for your entertainment, are the books I was reading my last year of high school during my heavy science fiction and fantasy phase—don’t judge!  :)  When I read Pastan’s poems, though, I start to think maybe I should make a list of the titles of books I’ll never write, or the ones I wish someone would.  Pastan reminds me that lists are elegant little universes we draw on the backs of envelopes.  (Hey, I could use that in a poem!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Love Poems

It’s National Poetry Month!  As usual, I had great ambitions—I would post a snippet from a favorite poem every day during the month of April!  In this parallel universe where I have time, I would make a tumblr with photos related to the poems!  I didn’t really even entertain the idea that I’d get the tumblr going (The Academy of American Poets does this better than I could anyhow).  But I did think I might manage the poems.  However, here it is,  April 2nd, and obviously I didn’t start yesterday.  So, let’s go with imperfect intentions and still get a wonderful poem out there. 

I have a great fondness for Pablo Neruda, and also, I’ll confess, some envy.  How does Neruda manage to use the word “love” so often and get away with it?  I know, I know, it’s the wool socks.  I love so many of his poems it’s hard to choose:  “Ode to My Socks” and “Ode to the Cat” are two that make me swoon with the desire to have written them myself, but his love poems just make me swoon.  My husband knows this, as you can see from my last Valentine’s present.

Here, then, the first few lines of “In You the Earth” from Neruda’s Love Poems
at times,
tiny and naked,
it seems
as though you would fit
in one of my hands . . .
Whew.  And yes, bring on the honeysuckle.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The depths to which I regularly sink

I had to absolutely force myself to write today.  Fortunately, there’s Written?Kitten!  Fresh kitten every 100 words!  Whoo hoo! (I did, at least, make some progress on my draft!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break cookies!

So the kids’ dentist office is right across the street from this fabulous bakery.  I never go there except at Halloween to order petit fours for my party—and every single time I take the kids to the dentist.  Which is sort of defeating the purpose of the dentist, I know.  But look! if you have to work all Spring Break, at least you can have a fabulous adorable cookie!  

Spring Break is a cruel joke on academics

I think I’m actually almost well now!

In other exciting news, it’s Spring Break.  That means I’m grading the revisions I didn’t grade when I was sick, and taking my daughter to the dentist, and taking my son to the all day regional science fair judging, and figuring out textbook orders for my fairy tales ENGL 101 next fall and my South Carolina Studies class, and working on some overdue grant paperwork, and trying to decide if I have time to clean out that section of the garage I’ve been threatening to work on since Christmas.

Beach?  What is that???

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Plague has struck

I mustered up enough energy to make it to Columbia for a meeting yesterday but felt so wiped out after it that I was wondering how on earth I was going to manage to teach.  And then last night around 10:00 my daughter’s school—about a two and a half hour drive away from our house—called to say she was sick too and to come get her.  They’ve had about sixty out of a little over two hundred students sent home, so that probably even does qualify as actual plague.  :)

So I drove over there in the middle of the night in this torrential windstorm (can you call a windstorm torrential?) to pick her up, asked my husband to email my students for me to cancel class (how funny! he wrote it like he was me! but we don’t sound anything alike!), and collapsed about 2:30 a.m.

This is not conducive to getting well.

I worry that my poor students’ song lyric papers are perpetually stuck without me, like a record skipping... Maybe not.  Maybe my students are just relieved to get a little bit of break themselves.  I hope they’re enjoying it more than I am!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gotta love a deadline

I’ve been sick for a week.  My daughter is emoting on Twitter IN ALL CAPS, REPEATEDLY.  I should be grading papers, or working on a poem for my workshop group tomorrow.   But the fact that my husband got a grant today (yay!) reminds me that perhaps I should spend a few minutes on my own overdue grant paperwork?  Yikes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Welcome, or oops!

One too many horrible GoDaddy SuperBowl commercials plus a hosting price increase—and poof! I’m trying to host my webpage on Blogger instead.  We’ll see how this goes.  In the meantime, as they say in construction zones, expect delays.  :)