The end of last week, I was invited to speak at the new(ish) CulturePlex at the University of Western Ontario as well as to give a graduate seminar. You can check out the Storify I made for the talk here. I meant to write today about all of the great things we talked about and what I learned while I was there (the grad talk was a response to Ted Underwood's recent post How Everyone Gets To Claim They Do DH and it was a stimulating 2+ hour affair). But I haven't had a single moment to sit and reflect on the past few days. Instead, I've been dealing with things that got pushed to the side because I was preparing for the trip and family members who missed me even though I was only gone three days.
I have been grading furiously, piles of student work that has been pushed aside in order to prepare for the talk. Job application deadlines are looming, and I need to send reminders for tardy reference letters. I take a look at my schedule, and it only gets harder moving forward. This is on top of the things that I increasingly find myself agreeing to do, striking, so to speak, while the iron is hot. I have more student essays coming in on Thursday, two MLA presentations to prepare, a teacher's guide, two more sets of essays, plus final exams, and a guest post, peer-review... And the job applications.
I've agreed to sit on committees, I've agreed to organize panels, I've looked to contribute where I think I best fit. I feel like I can't turn down an opportunity at this point, especially as I look to move onward and upward. I wish I had a lower teaching load, I wish I taught classes (at least one) that more closely related to my research interests. When people ask me why I want a tenure-track position, why I can't be satisfied with what I have right now, I point to this feeling of being pulled in a million different directions intellectually, between the teaching writing, learning about DH, and keeping up with my work as someone who does World Literature/Postcolonial Literature.
Even writing this post, I know I'm forgetting things on my to-do list. My brain is swimming right now after three days of blissfully being able to focus on my research interests and interact with like-minded people. I know, I need to start saying no. But at the moment, I honestly don't feel like I can.