Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Creative Urge

Every Wednesday, I've been taking the train to NYC to audit a class at NYU, taking the train back that night. Some people think it's nuts since I spend as much time traveling as I do in the city, but I love it. My last Wednesday is this week, and I'm going to miss it. I've gotten into a rhythm of doing lots of little things throughout the day. I read an article about Wojnarowicz. I flip through a book or magazine. I listen to some music. I watch parts of a TV show or movie. I jot down some notes for an academic piece. I grade. I get down some images for a creative piece. And, at the end of the day, I feel like I did a lot. More than that, I feel like I did a lot of things I would not have done if I hadn't spent the day away from home, campus, and the internet.

Yesterday, I read the last two issues of The Sun. When I was in Puerto Rico, some of the other participants turned me on to the journal. I'd heard of it before, and some of my favorite pieces from Best American Essays have been from it. I subscribed to it as soon as I got home, and I had a couple of issues at hand on the train. Wow, do I love it, especially the Readers Write section. This is where readers have submited short pieces--vignettes really--on a specific topic. The two issues I had were on "The Dining Room Table" and "Faith." Wow, the pieces just blew me away. All of these images just kept coliding in my head. The ride back, when I was reading these sections, went by so fast. When I was in Puerto Rico, I wrote one and sent it in. I don't know how great it is, but I was happy about it. And reading these, I got an idea and jotted down some notes for the next one, which had had me stumped.

And this all got me thinking about the sabbatical that I'm eligible to apply for next year. I've been telling people that I'm not going to apply until Da Man and I move into a bigger place because those on a year-long sabbatical get a reduced salaray (while those on a semester-long one get full pay). I want to do the year because I want to get all out of it that I can. And the trips to NYU plus the other reading/writing I've been doing has gotten me thinking about how much I can get from a sabbatical. And how maybe I should grab it now.

Of course, part of this is an urge to disappear that often arises at this time of the year, as everyone rushes to complete the semester and the year while still preparing for next year. It's the time when everyone on campus seems upset and when I feel like I can do nothing right.

No need to make any decisions now, though.

1 comment:

  1. I delayed my first sabbatical for two years while I tried to figure out the right project to work on. And then I didn't apply for my second sabbatical because i had just become department chair and thought it would be too disruptive to take a sabbatical in year 2. Then I had the chance to move jobs, and have to mostly start my sabbatical eligibility over again, so I've effectively lost one sabbatical from my career. In my last department, I had colleagues who never took sabbaticals. All this has convinced me that people should take sabbaticals when they can: if you've got the project, apply for the year.