It's been a couple of months . . . I was feeling quite guilty about taking the time off, but I'm going to be honest about a few things. First, my job--my teaching--was so stressful last year. I was teaching online from home, but the administration was acting as if faculty members were somehow getting away with something . . . I always felt so much anxiety, never felt appreciated, and I was due for my five-year evaluation last year during the pandemic. All of it was HARD. Then, I participated in the Community of Writers workshop in June, and I wrote a whole string of poems about Mr. Greene and our marriage and his death. That suite of poems wiped me the fuck out.
I taught summer school, then took three weeks off in the first part of September--no work, no writing, no home projects. I feel as if I'm starting the school year (still online) in a much more restful, peaceful place, and I think this may become my September plan every year. There is a new president at the college, who seems to be on faculty's side of things, for the first time in a long time we're feeling heard and appreciated. Our provost was removed yesterday evening--she is no longer with the college--and with her goes more stress. I'm starting the school year without anxiety for the first time since before the shooting, to be honest. I'm delighted--I feel so hopeful.
Classes start Monday, and I'm still online this fall. I think I'll be having knee surgery in January or February, so I'll likely be online in winter term, too. Now that the provost is gone, that won't be a fight. A good friend has stepped in as our department chair, and she is a capable, excellent chair. So much feels right for the first time in a long time.
So, today, I recorded the few rejection letters I've received since July, and updated my Duotrope records. I will be planning to send out work again starting tomorrow . . . and today, I sent my manuscript out to four first book awards:
The Black Ocean Debut Book Award
Silverfish Review's Gerald Cable Award
The Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts Press)
Copper Nickel's Jake Adam York Prize
I did not submit to any of these contests last year . . . and in late October, the first deadlines for contests I DID submit to are coming back around again. While I'm still waiting to hear from the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press), it's the only remaining contest where my work is under consideration. I figure that it's high time to get that manuscript out there again!
I will be trying to write blog posts more regularly again, now that I'm starting the school year, it's easier to keep a schedule for submitting and blogging.