Friday, April 23, 2010

Drafting: Lost the Battle

69 deg ~ stormy clouds, a slight breeze strengthening, moderate chance of severe weather

Confession: I slept late today, Dear Reader.  One consequence of my teaching schedule, blending on-campus classes with online classes, is that on Friday's I am not obligated to be on campus unless called to a meeting.  I worried a bit about this last fall, when I was able to create this schedule, wondering if I could stick to a writing and teaching schedule on Fridays while at home and prey to the easy distraction of cats and chores and TV/movies/music.  I have to say that I am proud of my semester, in that I set my early alarm for Fridays habitually and was at the desk writing until eleven or twelve and then turned my eyes to grading/prep work.  I have drafted more new poems this academic year than ever before.  Yay!

Today, however, I woke up knowing that drafting would be a battle.  I woke more blurry eyed than usual and my brain felt stuffed with straw.  I wavered as I went through my routine.  Yes, I'll be ready to write.  No, all is hopeless.  And back and forth.  I made my coffee.  After the first few slurpy sips made their way down the gullet, I felt my spine straightening, the straw-laced stuffiness clearing.  I had hope.  And then...nothing doing.

I pressed on for about an hour, painfully.  Finally, I was able to remind myself that I am not a robot, programmed to draft poems on Fridays.  The end of the spring semester is always the hardest to bear, and I inevitably forget the exact nature of the fatigue that creeps into me, muscle and mind.  Brainwork, creative and academic, is hard on the body.  I am stunned by this.  Many of my family members are blue-collar workers, who actually use their bodies to labor day in and day out.  I see the fatigue in them year round. They share bad knees, bruised knuckles, rotator cuff surgeries, stitches, and scars. And, yes, there is a physical nature to teaching, unless one sits through the class period, which I've never been able to do, but it is not the same.  Still, by this point in the teaching year, it all builds up to an exhaustion of the brain cells and the body cells.

One last thing: I know I'm blessed to have this schedule.  Many thanks to my husband, my family & friends, and to the folks at PTC who all make it possible.  I promise I do not take it for granted.

So, I'll tackle the mindless busy work on my desk, pay some bills and whatnot and see you all on the flipside of the weekend.  May yours be hailstorm-free.

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