while I was out…

There’s no denying a time-stamp. It’s been two years since I last wrote anything here. I tend to write on demand these days–recommendations letters, emails, organizational memos/reports, scholarship, teaching materials, etc.–and fail to take time for more leisurely kinds of writing (though I have been writing poems off and on over the years…more off than on). I’d like to get better at integrating the compulsory and the leisurely, and I guess that would require some discipline (leisure takes work!), so I’ll get to thinking on that.

Now that I’m in the final year of my position as comp director, and just months away from the beginning of my sabbatical, my perspective is starting to shift toward ideas I’ve been kicking around, books I’ve been wanting to read, writing I’ve been wanting to do–basically, all the stuff that’s had to fade into the background when other duties took precedence. I’m a little anxious about being in control of my time. Maybe this is how people feel when they retire (I am in no way equating “sabbatical” with “retirement”–only connecting the feelings generated by both): cut loose with no regular schedule, in charge of decision-making, responsible to oneself. It’s not hard to see why work is a primary means for producing and sustaining a purpose in life.

Anyway, something on my mind lately has been the kind of writing I want to do in the second half of my career, if I can call it that. I’m interested in writing a more narrative-driven kind of scholarship than I’ve done so far. Or taking a more exploratory approach to writing. I’d like to try to do some writing here to think through this a little more, to figure out what it is I want from writing.

In 6th grade my classmates and I had to complete “career reports.” These were essentially research projects, assembled neatly in three-pronged folders, about our future careers. For me, it was writing. I decorated the front of my folder with the main writing technologies of the time: image of a typewriter and a wooden pencil for which I had made a holder out of paper and glued to the front of the folder. The tools were part of the fun, for sure, and not incidental to the act of writing.

What did I want from writing then? That’s something to kick around in the following posts.

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