Friday, September 19, 2008

Grasping at Minutes

The student papers are piling up, the news of the world is more stressful by the day, and poetry is not making it to the top of my priority list lately. I read in fits and starts. I try to keep up with my favorite blogs. And, I recently realized that I hadn't sent out any poems for September, so tonight I made a start. The start feels rejuvenating, but the student papers are leering at me from my bookbag.

I am just about reconciled to being a summer writer, at least for generating new work. I know other academics who work this way, but I had hoped I'd be able to "settle into" my teaching career enough to free up some time during the school year to do some serious drafting. It doesn't look to be happening anytime soon. I make small revisions. I work on the manuscript as new deadlines for book submissions approach. I am carving out time tonight to focus on submissions--the stack of folders teeters to my left. In other words, like so many others out there, I make do.

We've just completed Week 5 of a 16 week semester.


Paul Gibbons said...

Hang in there. Find some experienced teacher who knows how to blow the students' socks into the weeds without giving up all time to do so. Buy her/him a coffee or tea or beer or whatever and talk -- good teachers will usually spill what they do for a pittance! Usually, there are some small ways to nip and tuck some time away to keep the thread of your poetry going, if you can. Winter break can become a time to go through all those fall drafts and toss and revise, etc . . . which is all just a way to say, hang in there, I hear you.

Sandy Longhorn said...


Thanks for the support!

Ron said...

Do you teach every day? I teach three classes, three days a week. Last year, I was overwhelmed (new job, new campus). We're starting the fifth week of our semester as well, and I've a huge stack of grading to get through, but here's the thing: so far, I'm keeping a few hours sacred on Tuesdays. It's not much--it's very little, in fact. But by carving out a few hours a week just for myself, just for reading and writing, I feel that I'm keeping a connection to it. Just start somewhere. Start small. Set aside just a bit of time that's inviolable, that's yours. And keep that appointment.

Sandy Longhorn said...


I teach everyday, full-time 5/5 load at a community college, but your advice echoes exactly what I tell my creative writing students, whose lives are often even more stressful than mine. Thanks for the reminder to put it into practice! It's so easy to lose sight these days.