Thursday, January 26, 2017

So Begins the Spring Semester!

Ok, so really, it began like a week ago, but last week was a little crazy for me. The first week of the semester is ALWAYS crazy in general, though this time it was particularly so due to medical b.s. I had my appointment with another specialist last Monday, and she wanted to do a bunch of tests, which required a trip to the outpatient hospital. All of this really threw me for a loop so my first week was a big wonky. I hope students didn't notice too much. Fortunately, that's now behind me and I feel like I'm actually in the swing of things.

This spring, my schedule is actually quite flexible, which is nice. I'm teaching two hybrid online courses, one fully online course, and one "traditional" course. I'm on campus twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, though it's for the entire day. So far, it's working pretty nicely. On my days at home, I grade, plan, and, surprisingly, I've actually been able to write, albeit a little bit. 

So, in theory, this semester shouldn't be too crazy. I should have some time to travel, write, and have a semblance of balance. All good things. 

I feel like I'm on edge a bit, though, in some serious limbo. I'm waiting for word from the PhD programs I applied to. I'm waiting for word on a job. I'm waiting to move forward on my book. I'm waiting for the summer to begin my residency. I'm waiting for the results of my biopsy. All of these things are outside of my control. I've always been really uncomfortable with uncertainty, and it seems that's what my life is made of right now.

Last weekend, I was running with my dad, explaining my conundrum. "I feel like the future holds so many unknowns," I said. My dad said that I should look at these unknowns as opportunities. With the exception of my biopsy of course, the rest of those unknowns are all kind of exciting, or they could be anyway if things shake out the way I'd like them to. It's hard to keep that frame of mind, but I think particularly vital for me. 

For now, I think the best thing for me to do is immerse myself in my work -- both my students and my writing. Easier said than done. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome, 2017!

Well, it's day two of this brand new year, 2017. Of course, this makes one naturally reflective, so, aside from getting over my little hangover yesterday, I've been contemplating the kind of writer, teacher, and human being I want to be in 2017. Where is there room for improvement? What do I need to work on? What would I like to accomplish this year?

Those are all really big questions. The big thought that's continually run through my head is that, all things considered, I'm doing a pretty decent job at this whole life thing. My career is on track. My health (or at least the things I can control about it) is excellent. I have meaningful relationships with people I love. My house could use to be a bit cleaner but bleh.

So, the whole "new year, new you" thing isn't going to work for me, as it never does, because I like the old me too much. There's no need for a new Katie because old Katie is fine.

Last year, according to my blog, I wanted to finish my next poetry book (check), find a new writerly direction (errr...), do at least 50 submissions (I did 64, finally did the math), 5 Out of Area Readings (I went to San Angelo State, Gemini Ink San Antonio, Malvern Books Austin, Langdon Poetry Weekend in Granbury, and TACWT in San Antonio, so... check!), pursue career advancement (check), and run (uh... yes).

Again, it looks like I have a pretty good thing going, no? Nonetheless, here's what I'd like to accomplish, do, and focus on in 2017:

1. Find direction for new poetry manuscript in the works. I don't need to complete it, but I'd like to have an idea before the end of the year as to how it's going to all come together.

2. Stop being afraid to try new writerly things. I'm a poet, but I'd like to try writing fiction, criticism, memoir, children's lit, SOMETHING ELSE to diversify. Let's make this a goal -- publish something this year other than poetry and book reviews.

3. Thrive in my transition. Change is coming in 2017 in one form or another, and I'm genuinely excited about it. There are so many unknowns, but may this fill me with joy rather than anxiety in the coming months. So far, I've been able to keep that attitude. Change is good. Change is growth. That's my mantra.

4. Maintain a writing routine, even in busy times. I'm a writer, dammit, first and foremost. So why is that not the first and foremost thing I do when the going gets a little tough, as it oft does? Here it is, in black and white. Every. Damn. Day. Katie. Write. This doesn't mean I have to write a poem a day, but it does mean I have to sit down in front of this keyboard everyday and get something down.

5. Keep what's good -- keep going to readings and networking, keep submitting, keep my positive attitude, keep good friendships, keep health a priority. B always says, don't fix what's not broken. So, the things that are working in my life, let's keep those up.

This is all doable. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.

Happy 2017, y'all!