Eight easy hours on the road Tuesday, five or six hours in a Faculty Council meeting Wednesday, and now my summer break truly begins. Today I did a mess of weed-whacking in the cool of the morning, worked on two fall syllabi, and then spent the afternoon reading the latest issue of Granta. Peace!
But if I devote the entire summer to such luxury, I'll miss out on things I really need to do. Time to set some summer goals! Aside from neverending feats of weed-whacking, planting, weeding, and cleaning, several summer projects demand attention. In no particular order:
1. Memorize some poetry--on purpose. In my youth I was pretty good at memorizing poetry; I can still bring out long passages from Shakespeare and the Psalms and even "Jabberwocky," and I've learned a few others accidentally just by teaching them so frequently. (I mean, can't everyone recite "Fire and Ice" on demand?) But recently I read W.S. Merwin's "Thanks" and thought I'd like to carry it with me always. I'm not as good at memorizing as I once was, and this poem lacks the tricks of rhyme and rhythm that aid memorization, but I've resolved to learn it--and after that, why not more?
2. Finish fall syllabi, all four of 'em.
3. Evaluate texts and ruminate on assignments for the Literary Theory class I'll teach for the first time next spring.
4. Write a proposal for a spring 2019 sabbatical. I'll have to submit the proposal this fall, which means I need to figure out fairly quickly what kind of research I expect to be doing 18 months from now. (Where's that crystal ball?)
5. Speaking of research...well I don't know just exactly what I need to do to beat that unfinished article into submittable condition (because I haven't looked at it in eons), but that's pretty high on my list of priorities. And after that, I can take a look at expanding that conference paper into a full journal article.
6. Paint the smaller spare room and hang some new pictures on the walls. And while I'm at it, I should print some new photos to hang in the living room, where my new bird painting has brightened the place up and made the old photos look dated and dingy. Time for a face-lift!
7. Wow, how long has it been since the canoe touched water? At some point this summer I hope to find myself paddling on a peaceful body of water while reciting "Thanks."
But none of this will ever happen if I don't get to work. Work: what summer is for.