This Week In My Sabbatical: Winding Down and Waiting

  My sabbatical ends officially on June 30. I leave on June 29 for a week’s vacation in Vancouver, so that will mark the transition nicely. I already feel a shift, though, not just in how I’m using my time but in my attitude: the big push I was making to get new writing done has yielded to a period in which I have to wait and see what comes of it, and while I haven’t stopped writing (or planning more new writing), I’ve started doing some prep work for my fall classes, like setting up Blackboard sites. I could put that stuff off until later in the summer, but I don’t enjoy doing it, so picking away at it a bit at a time works best for me. I also like the sites to be up and running before term begins, so that students can check them out.

I suppose another approach would be to rush headlong at these last two weeks and see how much else I can get done. Also, the summer months are meant for research and writing as well, so it’s not as if June 30 is my last day! I will certainly try to do what Jo calls “laying down some breadcrumbs,” so that after my vacation I can keep going, both with the George Eliot material and with some other ideas I have about possibly “pitchable” pieces. I love writing for Open Letters (honestly, I don’t think you’ll get better edits anywhere you submit — I never have), and I don’t intend to stop, but I also want to branch out a bit if I can, for the experience and exposure, for my own self-confidence, and, just a little bit, for the health of my c.v., so that I can point to work I’ve had accepted at places where I’m not on the masthead…in case, just for instance, I decide it’s time I applied for a promotion or something like that.

But speaking of Open Letters, that’s where much of my attention has been this week, as I’ve been working on a review of Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins for the July issue, wrangling contributors for our annual Summer Reading feature, and doing my share of editing on the other new pieces we’ve got.

I wish I had something more exciting to report!  But it has been a pretty uneventful week, really, at least where sabbatical stuff is concerned. It is also my son’s last week of high school, so that’s eventful in its own way: it has made me more sentimental than I expected, and very conscious of the passage of time. I’m kind of in between books, so I’m rereading Venetia just for fun; my book club meets in a week or so to discuss Iris Murdoch’s Under the Net, so that’s probably my next serious read.

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