Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Readings, Appearances, and Loose Ends

68º ~ overcast skies, spring thunderstorm season is hear, dew points edging into unbearable territories, the robin parents are busy feeding the young in the nest outside my window

With final grades turned in over a week ago, I'm wondering why I have a week's gap in blog postings. Taking a look at my calendar reminds me why.

Every year I see the turning in of grades in May as the end of the semester and the beginning of SUMMER. I also see this day as the moment I should launch myself 100% into the writing life. Every year, it seems, I forget that May is full of loose ends, and this year those loose threads are compounded by my job transition.

Other teachers and professors will recognize that my calendar, post-graduation day, is filled with nothing but doctor appointments and household maintenance tasks. These are all the things pushed back in the hectic days of the spring semester.

However, mixed in with these for the past week have been two poetry events. Yay.

On Friday, the 15th, I had the pleasure of reading for and talking with a creative writing class at the Arkansas School of Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs, AR. James Katowich, an old friend and stellar teacher, invited me down for the last day of classes there. I have to say that the students were incredibly attentive, given that I stood between them and lunch, as well as between them and declaring the last day of classes over. While I read from all three of my books, I have to say that the sickly speaker (aka The Alchemy of My Mortal Form) resonated well with these students. As this book is so new for me, I'm always happy when it finds a welcome audience.

That welcome audience was repeated on Saturday, the 16th, when I did a book signing at WordsWorth Books in the Heights. WordsWorth is a great independent bookstore in Little Rock that happens to also be only a few blocks from my house. I love all the folks who run the place, so it made me happy to sell a nice number of copies of Alchemy there. Signings are a different beast than readings. In this case, I had about an hour an half at the bookstore, and somehow, my friends managed to arrive in a perfectly spaced distribution. I never felt rushed to get through signing and talking with one friend, but I never had long stretches of empty time either (although that wouldn't have been so bad since I was stationed in the arts section).

My next event with the sickly speaker will be in Fayetteville at Nightbird Books (another great independent) on June 4th at 7:00!

Now, about those loose ends. When I haven't been at health appointments or waiting for the bug man to come and spray, I've been working on extricating myself from PTC and entangling myself at the University of Central Arkansas, where I'll be joining the faculty of the Arkansas Writers MFA Program and the Department of Writing this coming fall. Having been at PTC for a decade, I had no idea how time consuming this process would be. However, I'm thrilled to be taking my teaching to the next level, so I'm not too bothered by forms, meetings, and the physical removing of objects from one office as I look forward to moving into a new one.

And that, dear reader, is where I'll be for the rest of this morning. Soon, though, the summer will begin in earnest and with it, glorious, uninterrupted days of writing.


dilyla64 said...

UCA is so blessed to have you! I wish I could have had you as a professor!

Sandy Longhorn said...


Karen J. Weyant said...

Big congrats! Are you sad about leaving the community college scene?

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Karen. I am sad to be leaving a segment of my students, those whose hearts were really in it. Their lives and their determination were amazing motivators for me.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

I'd love to hear more about how you got your new job--was it something you pursued or did they approach you? And I'd love tips for those of us who think about making a switch. What elements of you and your life do you think helped most in the job search? The published books, of course--but were there other elements too?

So, if you need some blog post topics . . .

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kristin,

Yes, I'll write up something longer, but the short story is that it was a regular job search. The job was posted in the usual places; I saw it and applied. I went through the phone interview process just like the candidates from out of state, and then I had the on-campus interview later.