Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sabbaticalling: Weekly Roundup #8

Sometimes I feel like I’m getting nothing done and then I look back and see that I did get stuff done, and that’s what happened this week and last. I did stuff. Lookit.

I’m almost finished reading a novel, and I’ve got two poetry collections I’vestarted reading because I suddenly like to read more than one book at once. I never used to do this, but I like it now.  

As far as online reading: The Rumpus, McSweeneys, Electric Literature, Fence, Booth, Blunderbuss, This, The Toast, and Paris Review.

I submitted to seven journals, some of which required paper snail mail submissions. I also received one acceptance (yeay!) and was asked to record some audio for it (double yeay!). That meant withdrawing the piece from several other journals. It’s an off-beat poem, so I hadn’t submitted it to many other places.

I also had to withdraw some poems from some journals that don’t accept simultaneous submissions and I’d either inadvertently submitted simultaneously or I submitted pieces that I thought had been rejected elsewhere but weren’t. For one particular journal, I explained this dilemma, all apologetic, and they were like, Next time read the guidelines. Um, I did read them. I made an error. Maybe YOU should read the guidelines next time.

I realize this mockery is not going to get me published.

I received a very nice manuscript rejection. The publisher actually discussed some of my other writing he’d found online that he found entertaining, and indicated that the collection wasn’t for their press but it had elements he really liked. So that’s not so bad.

Oh, I also received a record-time rejection. In under five minutes, I submitted and was rejected. Talk about amazing turnaround!

I wrote some notes for poems. I wrote some poems. I workshopped and then revised some poems. Poetry writing: it’s what I do.

Also, blogging. Clearly.

I’m almost caught up on all the episodes of The Catapult, the podcast.

I planned a bunch of readings and publicized a bunch of readings, both my own and ones for Poets In Nassau. Then I researched some places I might be able to read, so I can take this poetry show on the road. I sent out a bunch of query emails. So far, I got one auto-reply and one reply that had grammatical errors. Even when I’m not teaching, I can't escape them.

In addition to readings, I had a few people contact me about holding workshops and being on a panel, so I started looking into those endeavors, too. (Email me if you want to take a workshop on contemporary poetry. See? I'm efficient).

I also enrolled in a free online class through Coursera about website building. I don’t know if I’ll actually take the class, but I did want to take a look at their course materials.

Oh, I found out that Book/Mark Review ran a review of WakeBreatheMove, so I’m ordering a copy of the journal today. Let’s see if it’s a good review. Let’s assume it is (or so I’ve been told).

And rounding out the week of sabbaticalling, I went to work. Like, campus. Like I was in my office and everything. No, I’m not a maniac who can’t help myself from working. I mean, sabbatical itself is work, so I’ve been working. I had to go to campus to sign my promotion binder. I didn’t seek out committees to serve on. I didn’t pop into a classroom to teach a lesson. I went to my office. I chatted with my officemates. I went to the main English office. I went through my binder. I signed it. I put it back. I chatted with the admin assistants. I went back to my office, chatting with a few people along the way. It was all very non-teachery.

If you want to feel good about your-work-self, go on sabbatical and then go back to work when you’re on sabbatical. Everyone I saw smiled at me, surprised to see me, and without saying “hi,” said, “You’re not supposed to be here,” but they said it in a way that was all cozy and warm and happy for me.

Also, seeing that many people and being out in the world spun me for a loop, so, of course, as I walked to my car, I rejoiced in the way I usually do.

Ooh! This is a good opportunity for a quick quiz.

Upon walking to my car, did I:

A. Do summersalts across the football field covered in goose poop

B. Sing "Climb Every Mountain," asking those around me to join in

C. Sweat uncontrollably for no apparent reason other than I’m me

If you chose C., you know me well. If you did not choose C., for shame!

Anyway, sweat and all, it was fun to see everyone. I really miss the people I work with. However, if I were teaching this semester (and doing all the work that comes with it), there’s no way I’d be getting all this other stuff done that’s necessary for being a writer. And that’s the whole point of sabbatical.

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