Has it really been nine days since I last blogged?
This is a pretty lengthy blogging silence for me. I’ve been really struggling with blogging lately. I’ve had lots of things that I could write about, but just haven’t had to energy to really deal with. Case in point; in all of the beginning-of-the-academic-year festivities, and in my recent visit to our State Capital to learn about public higher education in Kentucky, the refrain from everyone was the importance of doing better in regards to retention and our graduation rates. When I asked about hiring more tenure-track faculty, in order to do a better job of advising students, to recruit students into majors, and generally provide a better experience for them, the buck kept getting passed: there’s no money, it’s not our fault. The institution points to the state, the state points to the institution. Adjuncts are everyone’s problem, and no one’s priority.
I’m tired of being that person who keeps pointing it out only to get shut-down, spoken down to, and dismissed. My comments about adjuncts and other non-tenure-track instructors always leads to me being mansplained about “budgets” and “politics”. They I assume I don’t know the first thing about these issues. I’m tired of all of these issues being ignored, of being ignored.
In my silence/absence, I had a piece published on The Atlantic. It was about a novel I wrote my MA thesis on and how it relates to the current situation in Detroit. It’s a strange sensation, because all of a sudden, I’m a successful author, at least in the eyes of most of my friends and family, as well as many of my colleagues. I love doing “public humanities”, writing about the books and works that I love for a more general audience. I want to start doing it more, for more outlets. It’s what I originally wanted to be when I “grew up”: a writer. Not that I wasn’t a writer before, and not that a small piece on The Atlantic website all of sudden makes me a writer. And people seem to see this as a way bigger accomplishment than it actually is (I certainly didn’t get rich publishing it). This kind of writing, on that kind of outlet, doesn’t get ignored. I need to make more time to write, but I also need to figure out why this is so important to me, as there is no way it will pay the bills.
Paying the bills. I spread myself entirely too thin this summer is an attempt to make sure the bills kept getting paid (and maybe pay down some debts in the process, too). And now the university has started again, and I am already behind on everything, and we’re only one week in. I usually feel more excited at the beginning of the semester. I’ve re-done my Freshman Writing class (again), this time to be centered around the themes of Games and Play. I’ve made the class much more collaborative and student-centered than I ever have before. It’s starting to become exactly what it needs to be for student engagement. And yet. And yet I’m having trouble mustering the enthusiasm to really get into it, to get my students into it.
Life is, at this moment, good. I just wish I wasn’t so tired and worn down that I can’t really enjoy it.