25 November 2021

Thanksgiving, and taking a minute to catch up on everything.

It's been almost two months since I've written a blog post . . . the school term has been a busy one, but when I look at what I'm handling, it's not really all that much. I have four classes, but my writing classes have dropped in enrollment, and my literature class is small. I've been keeping up with the grading, for the most part--and I'm looking forward to having the next few days off, with only a couple dozen annotated biblographies to score. 

I think the biggest difference is going onto campus two mornings a week. When I'm there, I don't get quite as much done, plus the drive (about 15-20 minutes each way) and getting ready in the morning both take a small bite of the day, too. I really think it's the added task of having to be "on" for two days a week--interacting with colleagues, being out in public. Part of what was so great about working from home was that some of the distractions were removed. I wasn't worried about putting on a little makeup, or ironing my clothes. I wasn't concerned about what I was going to eat and what I needed to take to the office each day. Add to that the general anxiety I have about Covid and how some people aren't masking any more, and it's a lot. When I pile it all on top of grading and instructional design, it's a lot. On my days off, I'm simply exhausted. I don't have much energy for the yard, which continues to go wild in some corners and spiral out of control. I am trying to make more of an effort to clean different corners of the house on a rotating basis.

I haven't been writing. I need to carve out the time to do so . . . no new drafts, and no work on this summer's poems. I still have my work sitting on the desks of a few dozen editors, but I've not been sending anything new out--not since September. Lots of rejections have poured in, and just a handful of acceptance letters. I pushed to send my manuscript to 4-5 fall book contests, but I'm not sure that my work is ready. I haven't even made the honorable mentions for any of the 2020 book contests I entered. I am still waiting to hear about the Agnes Lynch Starrett prize, but I don't have my hopes up. I think I might need to table my work to get a book published, and use 2022 to write a sheaf of new work. I learned a lot this summer during the Community of Writers workshop, but I'm just not buckling down and putting it to good use yet. 

My attention span is shit anymore. I don't think anyone's going to be interested in diagnosing me with ADHD as a 50-year old, but I feel like I struggle with it more and more.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I'm not celebrating it in any special way; I'm staying home, and I'm planning on making a pasta dish for dinner. I've knocked a few small tasks off my to do list already today, and I'm hoping to spend at least part of the day curled up with a short stack of The New Yorker. 

I'm hoping to pull out my art journal and start working on some found poetry . . . since it's been a while, I'm hoping inspiration will strike if I just give it a chance. 

I'll be spending ten days in Weirton, WV with my parents in December. I haven't been to Weirton in 3-4 years, and I haven't been there on Christmas Day in at least 7 or 8 years. I am looking forward to visiting Pittsburgh a few times--I really want to get in to see the Warhol, and maybe Phipps Conservatory. The National Aviary is not far from the Warhol and Mattress Factory, either . . . so I need to find out from my parents if they've committed me to any events pre-Christmas. If not, I might just head up and spend the night in Pittsburgh one night--museums on both the day before and after. We'll see. I wouldn't mind playing some pinball, either--and Pittsburgh has several good pinball spots now. 

I have the cat sitter in place, and I'm trying not to worry about leaving the cats for so long. With travel figured in, I'll be gone more like 12 days. I haven't been away from them for that long ever. Several of them will be fine, but Maudie has some separation anxiety issues, and both Polly and Winnie like to pick on Maudie, too. I'm hoping with the house to themselves, they'll be fine. I have to be able to travel--I have missed it so much during the pandemic. I have a few smaller trips in the works for 2022, but I would also like to start doing some small, inexpensive road trips. There's so much out West that I've not seen--and there's no reason why I shouldn't just go.

What I'm hoping is that I'll be able to use the time at my parents to write some new work. I plan to pack strategically, so that I don't bring a lot of hobbies or reading along with me.

That was a big digression! My submission records are caught up, and I'm going to send a few groups of poems out today, just to keep those muscles exercised. Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. : )

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