If anxiety has boots, they are definitely boots made for walking. Over me.
Hear me out.
I hate breaks. I have always hated breaks. Some people call them vacations. But the rhythm of a routine is what keeps my anxiety in check. Thus, having almost an entire month off between the fall and spring semester is agony to me. I finish submitting grades in December, about 2-3 days later it’s Christmas, then a week of sitting around, then New Year’s Eve, then another 2 weeks of sitting around. Could I read all day long? Well, I try. But have you ever read so long that your eye muscles get tired, causing you to feel dizzy and want to throw up? I watch Twilight Zone to pass the time (because time isn’t always time in the Twilight Zone!). I’ve watched about 70 episodes and am on season 3. Compare that to most shows, running at about 22 episodes, though I see many around 10.
Next week, school starts again. You may be thinking I’m jolly just knowing school’s coming. But I have to design two new syllabi, as I will be teaching two new classes: creative writing (fiction AND poetry) and composition II (which has new specific requirements). Here I’ve been filling weeks of time poorly during “vacation,” and now I’m asked to imagine how 16 weeks will look every single class period. It makes me anxious.
But I’m getting there.
This week, I managed to finish Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, and the 4th book in the Dark Ones vampire series by Katie MacAlister. It wasn’t a total dumpster fire! I’m so glad. The last two have been, but I keep reading thanks to a promise I made to myself. It occurred to me that I never reviewed Looking for Mr. Goodbar from December, so that’s coming up next week. Why did I take so long to write the review?
Today, I read an article about how we could read 200 books per year if we ditched time spent watching TV and on social media. I uninstalled my Twitter and Facebook apps and moved my different book apps to the home screen. Basically, I grab my phone to jump on Twitter to pass the time, but I see it’s not there and that Google Books is. I have the entire works of Paul Laurence Dunbar thanks to Project Gutenberg, so already I’m reading more poetry. I hate a lot of today’s poetry. It doesn’t know how to make magic with language without dumping nonsense on the page. Here’s an example of Dunar’s work from a poem called “A Negro Love Song” (1895):
Seen my lady home las’ night,Jump back, honey, jump back.Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,Jump back, honey, jump back.Hyeahd huh sigh a little sigh,Seen a light gleam f’om huh eye,An’ a smile go flittin’ by—Jump back, honey, jump back.
Jennifer Vosters made an appearance at Grab the Lapels again, this time reviewing Florence in Ecstasy. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but Jennifer was my student in the fall of 2013. A freshman. Who is now a grown-up person with a job. And the way I write that, you wouldn’t think I’m a grown-up person with a job. But I continue teaching because I love seeing people come into their own, to realize they change the world with their words, to see people like Jennifer move past my class and into adulthood. That all sounds so Dead Poets Society or Dangerous Minds, but teaching is really hard, folks. REALLY. HARD.