I spent all of fall term and most of winter term terribly blocked, but I am working to put work back into a place that has boundaries and that allows me time to focus on my own creative work.
My sabbatical application was not recommended to the board; for now, my plans for Europe are off. Though that wasn't part of the impetus for the sabbatical, it was going to give me the room to write as I traveled open-ended-ly on my own dime over the summer, after completing research in Philadelphia during the official sabbatical. It will happen, but not this year or next.
My tentative new plan is to live fairly austerely this summer, at home, and write. No teaching any classes this summer, for the first time in at least 10 years--but probably 15. If I can do it, I'll try to get back to the Mutter this summer, but for sure, I'm going to plan the Europe trip for Summer 2024 or 2025.
But in the short term, I am already giddy with the idea of having three full months to myself starting in mid-June. I'm also considering buying an Amtrak rail pass and taking a meandering train trip on the cheap, but leaving the cats for three or four weeks is a hard sell. I might do a series of short trips, with the same rail option, though--it seems like a great chance to get to San Francisco or Spokane or both--without driving.
So, I'm focused on summer, I'm also working on getting to a place where less of my work weeks are 60-hour weeks, where I read in the evenings more often than I watch television, and where whatever doesn't get done on Friday will wait until Monday. No one thanks me for working on weekends, and no one probably even notices. If I'm not going to take back my own life, then I'll keep not living it.
In February, I spent a long weekend at the coast (my Christmas present to myself), and while there, I started The Artist's Way again from scratch, and I'm in my seventh week of morning pages. I feel like for a while, this blog functioned as an occasion brain dump in the same way, but right now, getting handwritten ideas on paper is more important to me than this blog that no one really reads. And I need to make it truly a sustainable, daily practice.
In early March, I went to AWP in Seattle, and it was really productive and moving--I was able to see talks by Jericho Brown, Paul Trans, Tyehimba Jess, Naomi Shihab Nye, and more . . . I heard Joanne Gabbin, the founder of Furious Flower, speak, and I saw Gail Galloway Adams! She was speaking to a friend, and very engaged--I said hello but didn't interrupt the conversation. It was amazing to know she's doing well--she looks exactly the same, which makes me think she wasn't nearly as old as I thought she was when I had her as an instructor! LOL. I also saw Toni Jensen and got to put a hug on her on a a downtown Seattle street. I ate wonderful food and enjoyed my hotel room and saw more panels and readings than I usually do.
I'll be back when I start feeling like I have news to share. For now, idea generation, journaling, and doing other creative things--sewing, journaling, embroidery, gardening, dollhouses--are the things that feed my soul. Spending more time on the computer isn't doing me or my creative brain a lick of good. : )