82º ~ sunny days, very dry for the past month, a wee chance of showers tomorrow and Tuesday
This week, I will have my first official reading in Conway, AR, as a faculty member of the UCA Writing Department. I'm super excited to be reading at Conway ArtsFest with my colleague, and fellow new faculty member, Jennie Case. Jennie writes in both poetry and prose, largely influenced by place and environmental themes, and she hails from Minnesota. Jennie is also the assistant nonfiction editor over at Terrain.org, so we've had editorial stories and issues to discuss as well. We are aligned on many planes. Knowing the existing faculty at UCA prior to landing the job, I knew I'd been granted an amazing opportunity to work with some excellent folks. Adding Jennie to the group has been the bonus icing beyond my sweet-tooth dreams. I can wait to share the stage with her on Thursday, 10/1, at 7 p.m. at the Faulkner County Library in Conway.
Thanks to Mark Spitzer for making our poster!
In true literary event form, this reading conflicts with at least two other major events in central Arkansas, including the Porter Prize Gala and the fall membership party for the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. While I'm bummed to miss out on both of those opportunities, I'm thrilled that central Arkansas is now rife with literary goings-on.
I'm also doubly pleased to read with Jennie because we are both negotiating the demands of a tenure-line job and realizing exactly what that means in terms of our own writing time. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you will remember that PTC was a community college that did not look for publication by its faculty (some CCs do, some don't). I always said that I was thankful to not have that pressure, and now I realize just how much I was thankful. I'm glad I had that space to learn how to balance writing, writing business tasks, teaching, service, and professional development. Now, the workload has been ramped up, though, and I'm struggling to re-adjust.
Enter my thankfulness for Jennie. Early in the semester, we struck a deal to write together for 90 minutes weekly. So far, we are on track, and I confess that if I didn't have a partner to whom I felt responsible, I would have thrown that schedule out after the first week. Instead, I have three new, teeny tiny poem drafts, each about 14 lines long (no sonnets). Now, I'm thinking book #4 may be a book of sister poems (not the angry sisters from two years ago) all in 14 lines. Hmmmmmmm. A glimmer emerges.