Saturday, October 31, 2009

The truth, dear readers,

is that the weeks since mid-August (let's see . . . what happened then? was it . . . right, coming back to work) have been a challenge to my inner resources. Which, like everything else around here, are kind of in an uproar. Sometimes I'm not quite sure where I've put them. When we had the last dinner party, did I stuff them under the bed? up in the closet? did I shove them haphazardly on the shelves? did they fall behind the books? At the moment, my inner resources are a little difficult upon which to lay hands.

Back in the summer, when I was contemplating this moment, I thought of several consolations: when I got back to work, I would be glad to see my colleagues more. Once I got started teaching, I'd quickly hit a rhythm and would enjoy it. I would enjoy seeing my colleagues more (did I already say that?). And as it turns out, I do enjoy seeing my colleagues, but I don't see them all that much more, at least it doesn't feel like I do. I feel just as lonely--when I feel pressed, flustered by anxious work, cut off from the work that is closest to what's most important to me--as I ever did last year when my work wasn't going well. As for that teaching rhythm--well, it has taken longer than I would have predicted for it to arrive.

Moreover, I find myself asking: whence my burnished afternoons, the ones that found me writing, editing, bringing some project to a new level? my sense of the spaciousness of time? the sense of my own powers ready to turn to some new act of making? The answer is, to each of these questions: evaporated, disappeared, gone.

But here are some indicators that lead me to believe that things might be turning around:
  • I read a big pile of student drafts Thursday morning, and they were, frankly, pretty good. So maybe I haven't been doing quite as bad a job of teaching as I had feared/suspected.
  • I had a lively, good class Thursday afternoon.
  • I've had some excellent conferences with my creative writing students.
  • I am sending my manuscript(s) off again (God bless 'em).
  • I am cooking a really good dinner tomorrow for the family.
  • I heard "Lawyers, Guns and Money" while I was doing my errands this morning.
  • today we sat out in the back yard, absorbing the drift happening in the sky, the bird flying straight under the patio shelter, the wind stirring the dying leaves.
  • we caught and released a fat little mouse.
Tonight we will visit all the local grandchildren and see them in their Halloween splendor. And before that, we will see Where the Wild Things Are. I am staring autumn, and soon, winter, right into its yellow eyes, without blinking once. This is the new real, and the new good, or good enough.

TAGS: consolatio, good or good enough, wild, flow, drift, yellow, mourning & melancholia


  1. This post makes me glad. I'm glad enough is going good - or good enough -

    (though now I can't shake the image of Winter's wolf-eyes staring me down - better go find me some drift to absorb and some of that Halloween splendor)

  2. Happy Halloween, my friend.

  3. I hear you. I so hear you.

  4. I'm glad to hear the truth. I suspected going back from summer and sabbatical was doubly hard but I'm glad to hear it's doable.

  5. This semester seems extra hard to me. I have no teaching rhythm expect basic survival. How can I get through this? Also, I don't see you enough. We must remedy that!
    I have no time for many things and some time for others. Also, not enough sleep. Sigh.
    I, too, am staring down fall/winter. And losing.

  6. The header is indeed amazing. Love it.

  7. Hm. I'm not a teacher and I'm not returning from sabbatical, but as a student, I can completely agree with the difficulty of finding the rhythm this semester. I'm having difficulty even spelling rhythm.

    But I do love the new header.



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