Aeron Haynie became a mother the year after she received tenure at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay (and exactly one day after she turned 40). Formerly chair of English, she is now on sabbatical and relishes each day.
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September 1, 2010
Classes start tomorrow and my syllabi are finally done. They've been completed for a few days, but I never deliver them to the copy center on time; I prefer making endless micro changes in the vain hope of creating the perfect syllabus. Ideally, a syllabus conveys a tone, makes a clear and compelling argument for the importance of the subject matter, and lays steel traps for potential slackers.
August 18, 2010
Like many who enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love, I’m excited to see the film, but wary, since my pleasure in reading it derived less from the plot and more from Gilbert’s prose and her skill in interweaving personal with factual. I particularly enjoyed the first section of her journey, which describes her travels in Italy and the intense pleasure of eating as Gilbert let go of the usual restrictions white middle class American women impose on themselves.
August 5, 2010
This week I rewarded my productivity by reading a totally engrossing, satisfying novel: Jean Hanff Korelitz’s Admission. Korelitz's deftly-written novel, which portrays a Princeton admissions officer, isn’t a parody of the ridiculous ways that desperate students (and their parents) try to win acceptance into Ivy League colleges (hint: baked goods will be eaten but will not help a student get in), but a moving novel that centers on the double meaning of the title. As one character explains, “Admission.
July 21, 2010
Today I’m working in my home office instead of lugging my materials to the neighborhood coffee shop (let’s just say that I my body does not respond well to more than one latte). Ignoring my own resolutions, I went online immediately to check my work email (even though I’m not teaching summer classes and am officially “off contract” until August), then I make a quick perusal of facebook, then glanced at the offerings of Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
July 8, 2010
This past month, I have been trying to follow fellow blogger Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s advice on how to eliminate summer regret by breaking up my writing goals into small tasks and plotting them onto a calendar of available days. I scheduled weekly dates with my writing “coach”/colleague. I made progress by forcing myself to write drafts even before I felt quite ready, instead of circling around and around a project.
June 24, 2010
Last Sunday, on father’s day, The New York Times reported that fathers are becoming more stressed trying to balance jobs and family.
June 10, 2010
Yesterday was my daughter’s last day of kindergarten. As we sat in the tiny chairs and looked through her portfolio of bright-colored drawings, stapled-together stories and assorted projects, we noticed a distinct trend: most of her drawings and quite a few of her narratives feature her older sister, Ali, drawn as a smiling stick figure with wavy hair or mentioned with lots of hearts overhead. My step-daughter, Ali, is 17 and lives with her mother, my husband’s ex-wife, about two hours away.
May 26, 2010
This week, immediately after turning in my final grades, I flew east to visit old friends in New England and to attend a writing workshop. While I sometimes worry that writing personal essays will take time away from my scholarship, I’ve discovered that they renew my connection to literature and narrative, as well as provide a welcome respite for the demands of academia and motherhood. Over time, I’ve found that my more “creative” efforts influence my academic voice — giving me a greater sense of audience and a closer attention to language.
May 13, 2010
Like fellow blogger, Libby Gruner, I too spent the end of the semester in a lively discussion about teaching.
April 29, 2010
As I have mentioned before, my husband quit his job in January, making me the official “breadwinner” and reversing the traditional gender roles in our household. Although I welcomed the challenge of living on less and providing our daughter with a less conventional model of marriage, the transition has been more frustrating and, well … humbling than I had imagined.