Stop Make Teach

Now that the semester is over, I will have to find new ways to distract myself from writing. Because, of course, as almost any writer will never tell you, writing is such a painful and painfully slow process that the writer must always invent some new pressing need to procrastinate.  Thus, the academic life is perfectly suited to writing, since it provides a steady stream of classes, mind-numbing committees, student evaluation policies, in short, a plethora of tedious tasks that take up enough of the day to provide less time to write. And with less time to write, less time to get into the swing of writing, might as well spend the time left in the day once the tedious tasks have finished to convince oneself to do something else. No time to get into the swing of writing? Maybe I’ll read! And then when I read I’ll naturally want to write! But of course, I’ll spend more time thinking about if I should read, and then what I should read if I do indeed read, and then the hours grow late and maybe I’ll just watch an hour of television, read a New Yorker article, and go to sleep.  Hey, at least I read the New Yorker article!  Half of it, anyway…  I wonder why almost any writer would never tell you all this…

With the semester now over, what to do? No petty students looking for an A- instead of a B+. No horrendous 4-6pp essays. No faculty meetings! My neighbor is mowing his lawn at the moment. He mows it at least two times a week, some times every other day. I think he does this to taunt me, to show me how superior his lawn is to my lawn.  My lawn, which to be frank with you, has more holes dug by the dogs than actual lawn. I don’t even know if my neighbor remembers my name, but surely he taunts me. Sees me through the window in front of my computer and thinks that this would be a perfect time to mow the lawn again, I’ll show him, whatever-his-name-is. You’ll say, “Surely you must be projecting.” And I’ll say, “Yes, but only projecting so as to find an excuse not to write. And don’t call me Shirley.”

The upside to the end of the semester is clearly not more yardwork. It is, however, more time to while away on the internets, blogging… To wit, if I’m not going to be writing the book, I may as well be writing something, anything. “Imageflood” needs more attention than the holes in the yard. So does “Urbanities,” soon to launch from the Open Humanities Press.

Or better still, let us say that I have my kind of blog, published in the ether. And the dogs have their own kind of blog, published by their paws scratching ever more deeply into what lies below… Exactly what I should be doing, too. Times like this, I learn from their wit, intelligence, learning…

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