So Long Sweet Summer

The last day of August marks the last day of summer for me this year.  Tomorrow I truly do have to begin work in earnest.  And I was trying to pinpoint why I felt like summer has all but disappeared in an instant.  I wasn’t teaching this summer (the second summer in nine years that I hadn’t taught a summer course).  Then I remembered:  I edited my doctoral dissertation.

Oh, THAT!   Right.

But I feel in some sense that I’ve not done anything – no big summer adventures, no jaunts to Vancouver since early July.  I feel like I should have accomplished much more staying at home.

When one works on a large writing project time disappears.  This summer there were not enough hours in a day to get finished.  And yet one can only write for SO long during the day.  Academic writing is not like lesson planning or creative writing.  When I lesson plan the individual plan is part of a whole … one piece of a course.  When I write creatively it gushes forth and the editing process is a molding of whatever I’ve been gifted with.  But academic writing is something else altogether.  It is utterly exhausting and challenging.  I’m not saying the other two are easy but academic writing is a much tighter fit.  I must constantly practice to not gain too much weight and be left with a manuscript that is two sizes two small.

The problem with this summer, I think, is that I finished my dissertation the day before I started lesson planning in earnest.  So I’ve had no breaks, no down time and now I’m jumping into teaching three “new-to-me” courses.  In hindsight I wish I’d had a week in a cabin in the woods, alone, to just prepare for this coming week.

But it is a good reminder to the writing teacher – writing is hard work; sometimes there is no time for rest and we are just exhausted.  Perhaps I will have some empathy for how my students feel in November.

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