Academic summer

I haven’t truly had an academic summer like I’m having this year. Two years ago, I was new to the job and overwhelmed with everything I needed to learn. Last year, someone left and I picked up his duties for a while.

I had academic summers as a kid and young adult, of course, but I always dreaded summers then. The more time I had to interact with my parents, the less I enjoyed my life.

This year, I’m having a bit of a true academic summer. I work 12 months a year, but things slow down for a bit. I have exactly two meetings all week – during the school year, it’s more like two meetings a day. I have things to do, but nothing urgent.

I don’t have classes right now. My mind is not constantly moving from one thing I need to do to the next. I’m not reacting to residual grade-related stress.

It’s sort of a mental cleansing.

I started doing beadwork again, which I haven’t done in a while. Made some new medic alert bracelets.

I’m delving deep into my writing, and I figured out how to flip a novel manuscript I actually finished years ago but never pursued publishing because something about it bothered me. I just figured out what that something was, and I know how to fix it now. If I work hard enough this summer, I could have the new draft done before classes start again in the fall.

Lupus is annoying, but sans academic year stress, things seem possible in a way that they sometimes don’t when I get busy and have less time to reflect.

 

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Autumnal

It’s finally feeling like fall. Some early leaves are dropping. The air is chilly, the rain is cool, I wake up at night shivering. The other day, there was a smokiness to the air. This is my favorite season, but it’s all too brief.  

Winter is a wasteland. It’s cold, and I don’t particularly enjoy the religiosity or consumernalia of it.

By spring I’m restless from long months of cold and just crave heat.I don’t enjoy it, per se, it just represents freedom from the restrictions of winter.

I always want to hit the pause button on fall. 

Two days a week this fall, I start my days later than usual. I have classes in the evenings, at the same university I work for, so I’ll get to do mornings for a while. Time in the morning is a new concept. I usually just rush in and start my day.

Cooler weather also means a break from heat-induced fatigue. I already feel it less. Though I’m sure it will soon be replaced by intellectual fatigue, as I start PhD level courses. Which lead to comps, which will also happen in the fall, three years from now. 

Fall just always seems so important. So essential.

3-Day Novel recap

I spent this past weekend doing the 3-Day Novel contest, and it went better this year than it has in other years. I’ve had this particular story in my head for years now, and it felt good to get it down.

Though…I had a subplot failure right in the middle. Which, when you have only three days and you’re trying to reach a goal, is a little frustrating. But it was fine – ultimately, another subplot came to me that I think is infinitely better. I actually can’t wait to flesh it out more and see where it takes me. I’ve been thinking about this story for years, and the ideas I had always felt incomplete. I think this new piece is what was missing.

This novel could be the next one I query. I’d queried one a few years ago, and an agent broke protocol of not giving feedback to give me feedback – which I genuinely appreciated. (Some writers are defensive assholes…but I’ll listen to any constructive critique.) Ultimately I decided to put that project aside, and I started writing simply for the sake of writing.

And honestly, that was a really good thing, and I’m glad I forgot all about querying and publishing and target audience. I just wrote, no thought to what would happen to it, just digging into stories and stretching my creative limits. I wrote with no intention of anyone ever reading what I was writing. I wrote for myself.

But I think this one is one I’m going to try to get back out there with. And I think I’m way better at writing now than I was a few years ago, because I cocooned myself and just practiced and practiced and practiced.

I’m tired as hell, but feeling satisfied.

 

Space to breathe

If you followed me at my last blog, thanks for following me here. It’s nice to have a space to metaphorically breathe.

Having people lurking around you that you don’t like, even if they’re not directly being bothersome, can still feel oppressive. It’s not fun to feel like you’re being watched by people you don’t want in your life.

This just feels better. I feel lighter. Breaking that last connection to people who abused me makes it feel official somehow. I’ve blocked their email, blocked their phone numbers, blocked them on social media, and now I’ve moved to a new blog that they know nothing about.

Permanent no contact is official, and I feel really good. It’s a relief.