Day: September 24, 2019


I am on sabbatical this year and it is glorious. I have time to exercise every day, so I’m walking, running, and back to my biggest love — kickboxing! I’m feeling human again, and not just human, but like a grounded, rarely salty, and — dare I say? — moderately energetic human.

I’m not teaching or doing university service, but all the research is still here, as is all the other professional service, being that I’m now apparently a scientific elder states(wo)man (associate editorship of journals; reviews of papers — how am I the tie-breaker referee all the time these days?; reviews of so, soooo many proposals; membership on boards overseeing all sorts of scientific activities).

I was really busy last year, with teaching overload and really labor-intensive department service, but I think I’d gotten reasonably well rested by the end of the summer, and I am really, really grateful that I don’t have to jump back into teaching again.  Instead, this year will (at least in theory) be the year of getting the backlog of publications out to journals and bringing my largely newbie grad students up to speed. Also submitting more grant applications.

This doesn’t sound particularly restful or rejuvenating, does it?

I should be using the sabbatical to do even more science, newer and more exciting science, but it’s hard to be all gung-ho about it when a lot of energy keeps being spent on maintaining continuous funding and getting papers out while training students, all of which are in line with incremental work and orthogonal to making big, rejuvenating leaps.

Anyway, I do have some trips planned in the spring, and some talks scheduled with new communities, where I will hopefully hear some interesting talks and get some cool ideas. Other than that, I think I want to simply spend more time on my creative writing, which has been going well, thanks for asking. 🙂 I am contemplating between, on the one hand, writing a novel — which everyone says I should do, and this free time is a unique opportunity I will not have again for the next 7 years, but I’m feeling meh about it, and even though there are 3-4 stories I wrote that were really well received and could kick off a novel, I don’t crave to spend 80-100k words with any of those characters — and, on the other hand, simply writing more short fiction, poetry (yes, there’s poetry now, too, and not all of it is garbage, at least I don’t think it is), and — newsflash! — screenplays. The latter is what I’ve been gravitating toward, even though, as an endeavor with any kind of payoff, it’s probably far more futile than writing a novel.

How’s your September, academic blogosphere?