A New Year
Well, the academic year is starting soon for most of us. Some of us have already started classes, some of us are in prep week, trying to get work done between seemingly interminable year-opening welcomes and meetings, and some of us still have a month or so to go! It's also a time when many of us do an accounting of what we've got done -- or not got done -- over the summer, in order to make our new year's resolutions and plans. Lots of depressing self-reflection goes on this time of year, sometimes deserved, sometimes not. Did we use our time well? What should we have done more of, or done better? What will we do next year to avoid feeling this way at the end of the summer?
Well, I'm having a hard time feeling like I've accomplished anything. Objectively, I suppose I have. I've moved across the country and settled in reasonably well in New Town. I'm mostly over the worst of the depression that hit right after I got here. Considering my last year and a half, the stress/depression shouldn't have been a surprise. I've survived my first week of being an official member of the SLAC community. I've got a grip on my classes, although I haven't quite got the syllabi together. Just a couple of days ago, I came up with an idea I want to explore for a paper to give at Kzoo next year, although I can't remember if there was a session in the CFP that looked appropriate for a paper on women and landholding/owning in the eastern part of Francia. (if you have ideas on secondary sources, though, please shoot them my way. This is new territory for me.) Still, I should be able to hammer out an abstract by the 15th, even if it has to go into the general hopper. And I believe (according to e-mail conversations with the RT organizer) that I'm set for a pedagogical panel, which I've been able to use to coordinate a new teaching experiment and will also be using to put in a bid for extra conference money and will with luck result in a write-up for a pedagogical journal of some kind. I hope.
So, not so bad. I've also written the first 500 words of a review. It took about an hour and a half, once I started, and then I just kind of stopped. It wasn't till I read this post at New Kid's that I realised I've really not been writing much at all this summer. One of the parts of adjusting was a very odd kind of withdrawal from my friends and family. I've been reading blogs, but haven't felt much like putting myself out enough to blog about much of interest or importance. New Kid's post made me realise that I really do write more scholarly stuff when I'm blogging about my work. It helps me to settle and to get into writing mode, because I really do compose in my head. I know it doesn't always seem that way, but my blog writing, as informal as it is, is public writing. So as part of my plan for a productive new year, I think you can expect more serious blogging, too. I think I will also try to take at least one vacation where I do not try to work. I need to remember how to have real down time, so I stop feeling guilty and unproductive all of the time.
You know on second thought, I'm not entirely a schlub. I got some stuff done. Not as much as I'd like, but still. Not as much as a Senior Colleague who at last count had written about 75,000 words, but ... hmph. Next time, maybe I'll tell you what I planned to have done by now! It includes having read Heather and Smith on the fall of Rome ... soon, really.
Hope your summers were more productive and that you all have a great new year!