Not Dead Yet (at Least Not on the Outside)

Callie has rightfully called me out on my lack of posts. For what it’s worth, I’m not ghosting y’all, at least not on purpose. I have no intention of giving up the blog; it’s just that other things vie for my attention.

Part is that I am just really, really exhausted. I know the following is whiny hyperbole (arguably the most annoying kind of hyperbole), but it feels like no one has ever needed a sabbatical more than I need a sabbatical right now. The last one I had, I spent caring for a newborn, writing proposals, and organizing a conference. I will have one next year, a year later than I could’ve, because Middle Boy started middle school this year and I had a lot of turnover in the group (people graduating, new people starting out), and I didn’t want to travel too much. But I am just completely exhausted, and it feels like massive, cumulative, possibly mutant-alien exhaustion.

A committee I was on last year that was extremely labor-intensive left me completely disillusioned and burned out. I wrote grants like crazy the past few years so I am set now for a while. I have a number of new people in the group and the transition is always somewhat challenging. Service remains unrelenting. I am now “a senior woman,” which I know refers to my career stage, but it mostly feels like it refers to the size of my ass and the depth of the grooves in my forehead… Yet is somehow still doesn’t stop certain people from staring at my boobs. Seriously, there was one kid in my classes the past two semesters who could not sustain eye contact in office hours, because he kept staring at my goddamn boobs. (I dress really boringly, jeans and black long-sleeved tunics; I am not flaunting anything, in case someone is ready to jump in and unhelpfully suggest that I bring this shit upon myself.)

All this has made me really, really tired. So tired that I just want to do what I absolutely have to do, but I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about the job than I must, and that includes, I suppose, blogging about the job.

Moreover, fiction and literary Twitter commandeer much of my limited free time, but even fiction writing has been on the back burner during the semester. I wrote a lot in August and 1-2 stories per month thereafter. As a whole, 2018 was quite fruitful (28 published pieces in total, of which 9 drabbles (ultrashort flashes) and 19 long flashes or short stories; some of my first horror and science fiction are among them and they’re not too shabby; 1 Pushcart Prize nomination, which makes me happy). However, I don’t have much in the pipeline right now (1 horror piece in January, four more genre pieces in review). I was hoping to have a few days of no work over the break to just write, but work keeps creeping in and makes me upset. I just received an email from a colleague who wants to meet next week over a new hiring initiative, when I planned to take a three-day trip with family; I could feel my heart race as soon as I started reading his email! Honestly, email is the worst invention ever. It completely removed all barriers to bothering people. It used to be that you had to call, or walk up the stairs, or get an envelope and a stamp. Now, imposition on anyone is a mere few clicks away.

So there you have it, academic blogosphere. I am around, you can prod me it I’ve been silent for too long. If there’s something specific you want an answer to, please leave a comment or send an email and I’ll try to get to it. Otherwise, I will try to write more, ideally 2x per week but maybe 1x for now. Ultimately, I have the time that I have and the headspace that I have, and sometimes work takes so much of everything that I have to protect my creative side from it.

Everyone, happy holidays/happy winter break and I hope you have some rest and relaxation!

In parting, here are some recently shazammed songs. (For the record, the second one drives me absolutely nuts with its botching of the conditional perfect clause — he says “would’ve gave you everything” instead of “would’ve given you everything.”)

One comment

  1. Good to hear from you again! I totally understand that feeling of burnout / being utterly sick of your work…I wish I didn’t. Even in my most burned out state, though, I still enjoy reading academic blogs for some strange reason–but I get that that’s different from having to actually write one. I don’t think I’d be able to muster the energy to do the latter when I’m as sick of academia as I currently am. (Any blog I wrote would quickly turn into a rant about why leaving academia is the only sane option…and there are more than enough such blogs out there already.) Thanks for doing all you do, anyway!

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