Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Restorative Powers of CFPs

Things have been downright crazy. May was annual evaluation time at work. Evals weren't actually due until the beginning of June, but I was out of town for my MFA residency from May 21 through May 31. (Another thing to get used to at this level of management: managing the bajillion emails that accrue when you're out of town and otherwise occupied!). My book has gone to print in the capable hands of Robert Ward at Bellowing Ark, and I couldn't be happier. (Those of you who pre-ordered weeks ago should find your copies arriving shortly.)

The past few weeks I've been struck with an odd malaise where I am utterly weary, and it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed and be as energetic as I need to be at work. I blame a confluence of factors, like the heat and humidity of summer (you'd think I haven't been living in the South for the past 10 years the way I react to this every year), utter lack of sunlight in my life *despite* it being summer, the post-residency letdown, and my lack of gymming and eating well. I am, in short, a hot mess. This has leaked into worklife a bit, and I am getting frustrated more often than usual. And so, I need a kick in the old pantalones to get myself back in proper gear.

So far, I've recommitted to healthy eating, and plan to recommit to the gym in the near future. (Like, next week. No, really this time. I swear.) Unless it starts getting sunny on the weekends, I may revisit my old fake 'n bake habit to get some color and make me feel less blergh. I'm working on worrying less about work once I'm out of the office so that I don't feel like I'm at work all the time - mostly, I've decided to use evenings as reading time instead of still-glued-to-my-laptop time, and unplugging just by that little bit has definitely helped me feel less anxious.

The other thing I've decided is that I need to do some research. Library-related research. I've been so bogged in managing staff and the day-to-dailies of meetings, crisis management and aversion, and planning for the absorption of services (like our media & microform center) that I feel I've lost touch with why I love librarianship so much. It's not that I dislike the work I do now - I do feel I'm contributing to a smoothly-running library by monitoring the quality of our customer service, streamlining processes, and collaborating with other departments. It's that I somehow feel very disconnected from the academic library as "educational institution" - likely a result of the fact that I no longer deal with research questions, nor do I teach anymore. And I miss it - a lot.

And so, recognizing this, I responded to two calls for papers today - one was a library-related call for book chapters, and the other was a call for papers about recycling myths 9which happens to be what my MFA critical thesis addressed). The book chapter one is a work-from home deal, the myth one I already have the bulk of the paper and it needs only minor additions (and the presentation locale is Wales, which would be lovely). I'm also considering tossing my hat into the ring for the AWP Pedagogy papers, I'll look at that this weekend, I think.

Yes, I deal with stress by adding work. But it's work I love, which hardly counts as "work." Plus, I decided to defer my admission tot he MS in Technical Communication to January of 2010, figuring that I can't do that *and* the MFA this fall, much as I would like to.

See? I'm working on developing some minor common sense. *grin* And hopefully, soon I'll be pleasantly busy, instead of just frazzled-y busy. I'll keep you updated about acceptances and such as I find out.

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