Sabbatical means make your own schedule. I'm still figuring out how to not be manic. As soon as I wake up, my mind has its own mantra: I must justify my time I must justify my time I must justify my time. I am a highly efficient person when I'm teaching classes and doing committee work, so now that I do not have those obligations (and since the semester still hasn't begun, I wouldn't have them right now, but I would be writing and revising syllabi and setting up courses on the online platform, so same thing), I have found that my efficiency has gone into overdrive. For fear of burning out before the actual semester begins, I'll need to take it down a notch. Not yet, though. Here's what I did this week.
I read three books, a novel, a poetry collection, and an anthology about poetry form. I also began reading an encyclopedia of fairies, which I've owned for over ten years and have yet to read. It's simply a pretty book, but since I've been writing about magical creatures, I'm going through it now. I suppose this is research. Also included in research: I transferred some notes jotted on random pieces of paper to their appropriate notebooks and files for safe keeping and use.
I'm blogging right now. Because I'm meta.
I worked on planning two readings. Planning a poetry reading seems to take more energy than planning a wedding. At least for a wedding, you get to eat cake.
I had my first weekly workshop with my artist friend. We've collaborated on a lot of things in the past. This time, we are not working on a project together. Instead, we are making sure we each keep on track with our own projects. It's good to have someone telling me what to do.
I read all my online haunts, and then I wrote one prose piece and revised the one I wrote last week.
Two mundane errands that now count as sabbatical work: went to the library and went to the post office to get stamps and mail things.
The things I mailed were submissions. I needed to address envelopes and print out poems and include a SASE. I haven't sent out paper submissions in years. The process is so different. In total, for paper and online submissions, I completed 12.
I received two rejections from what I sent out last week. That's an impressive turnaround time. One of them was so thoughtful, suggesting two other journals to which I might submit to find my poetry a home. This was the best rejection ever.
I worked on revising my current manuscript. I wrote seven poems and revised one from last week. Two of the seven poems are form poems I revisited through reading the anthology.
Finally, I went to a reading for the Boundless Tales Reading Series at Astoria Bookshop. This series features prose writers mostly. It also is unique in that it starts on time, which is amazing. While there, I bought a book. I will read it this decade. Such wonders of sabbatical!
I would like to point out the obvious--this reading series is in Astoria. That means, I. Drove. To. Astoria. Under the El and everything!
Actually, the driving is not the hard part. Parking is the challenge. I never know where I can park. I actually called Eddie and then sent him a picture of the muni meter I was parked in front of to see if I was okay where I was. He was like, Read the signs. I was like, I did and I parked where the arrow pointed to. Then we had a very confusing exchange about what it meant to "park behind the arrow." We decided that my car was fine, and I'm guessing it was because it was still there intact when I got back to it after the reading.
I suppose, then, that a small portion of my sabbatical can be dedicated to learning how to park in Queens and Brooklyn.