I plunked out a long lamentation about workload, strain and self-pity, then
blew it off the monitor with an Elbovian wisp: ‘DEL’.  This looks
like it’s going to take a lot of work.  With a few small
exceptions–nothing shocking or out of the ordinary–I’m getting exactly what I
bargained for.  My only immediate concern is reconciling rhythm with tempo.
Thinking +/- 250 BPM.

So after class tonight I wedged in another mini-span for family
time–frozen (then baked) pizzas and an hour straight of The Family Guy
Probably could’ve found tickets to hear Michael Moore talk about humor at the
Carrier Dome, but running between classes and colloquia and office hours from
8:30 a.m. this morning until 7:15 p.m. this evening had me feeling like enough
was enough. Figure, as well, that anything remarkable from the talk will hover
over campus for the next few days.

And the final bit, I suppose, is common enough.  When I try to write
anything lately, I feel over-stimulated–jammed. I record reading notes, even
post them to my  other tinderblog (mostly unlinked scraps, fragments,
orts…or the new fave word of the week: melange).  And I’ve been
typing a whole bunch of stuff–response papers and so on.  But when I try
to write, I struggle.  Ebb?


  1. Don’t stop writing, even if it doesn’t feel productive. Organize your chunks of writing by date (always timestamp). You’ll be glad later.

    Yesterday, I came across a stash of stuff I had jotted down 5 years ago. Very useful at the moment, by happenstance.

    Try writing first thing in the morning, while the brain is still not fully awake and sensitive to distraction.

    Sometimes, 15 minutes every day in the morning is better than two hours on a Wednesday afternoon.

    “Park on the downhill slope”: when you’re done writing for the day, take 2 minutes and leave your tomorrow-self a note saying where you need to go next.

  2. You’re making me feel much less alone in my overwhelmedness, since we’re both starting this at the same time. (Perhaps I should be blogging more about it to return the favor?) Anyway, thanks. Be brave!

  3. And consider, too, the process of culture shock you are engaged in, Derek. Anytime a person undergoes a move, no matter how desirable and efficacious, the disruption disrupts. Become an ethnographer observing yourself adjust, adapt, resist, and deny. And check out Mary Jane Moffat’s journal prompts at my blog for yesterday. You might find a trigger or two there.

  4. Thanks for the comments. They’re just what I needed.

    George, I’ve been able to flesh out each of the seminar projects looming just twelve weeks down the line, and I feel pretty good about having them loosely planned. Parking on the downhill slope: great advice.

    Krista, definitely you aren’t alone in your overwhelmedness; I hope you’re able to bring it to blog from time to time, too. Gotta decompress, right? I’m feeling much better now that I returned the first essays in the two sections of WRT105 I’m teaching. Sitting next to a stack of thirty-seven five-page essays and invention portfolios was bringing me down.

    You’re right about the culture shock, John. I have a whole heap of confusing, unsorted mail next to the computer at home. I think there’s even a new bank card in there and probably a pin number, too, but I haven’t made time to sort many of those details in these six weeks. My cell phone still connects through a Missouri area code, and D. had a phone hooked up in the apartment, but I don’t have any idea what the number is. Moving and the new workload has me disoriented. Slivers of my life are settling together, but other patterns, such as sleeping, have been very sporadic. I’ll try to look at Moffat’s prompts this weekend if I have time on breaks from reading Ira Shor’s Crit. Teaching and Everyday Life, the final chunk of The Order of Things, and the art section of Comp in Four Keys.

  5. Got it. Appreciate the link, George. The hardest part of the switch to this program (and perhaps any program noted for rigor) is resolving the various and overlapping workloads. It’s more than multi-tasking; it’s the burden of cheap compromise. Close-read this; power-skim that–all juggled with unavoidable duties, meetings and so on. It’s mostly bearable, but in certain moments, it’s also shocking. I’ve resigned myself to pure performance from now until December–a first semester of straight getting after it. Through four weeks already. And when the cloud settles, I’ll have one of the more difficult stretches behind me�inaugural semester on the books. Sure is helpful being able to bring some of the obstacles to the blog and finding a net of support waiting with good stuff.

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