After various backings and forthings, it’s final: I’ll be doing a phased retirement from KU. On the plus side, I now have health insurance for the next little while and I can help the current wave of grad students through. On the negative side, I had a lot of reasons to feel that KU was an unhealthy environment for me, and does this really change with a change in my status? I’m not sure, but I’ll be interested to find out, and if it’s still horrible, I can change course again. Weirdly, ever since me leaving became public in the department, more people have been nicer than ever before (while a few are giving me the cut direct, but those are the people who have done so for years now, so it’s hardly wounding). Why not earlier? I am going to guess they just didn’t know that I was feeling isolated and dismissed. Everyone in the department is struggling with something urgent and critical, either departmental, administrative, university, academia-wide, personal, interpersonal, physical, or something else. We are all struggling, and we all have different resources to address it. I feel very grateful that I can try something new.
…and new it is! It looks as though consulting work will manifest (details when it’s more certain), and I have barely started to look around myself. During spring break I will be reaching out for other possibilities. And I am excited to be getting new patrons over on my Patreon! I appreciate it, so much. I am rethinking what I will be offering over there, though I plan to write more essays about my writing process, and once I start 250s again (on 3/20, if not before), I’ll have strange little words and worlds to share.
This spring will be spent finishing a bunch of KU stuff: a lot of honors papers, MFA theses, and PhDs finishing up, several of which I am the director for. And I will be resetting myself back to more serious writing — and to seeing myself as a writer first and an employee second. To this end I am reading the Tove Jansson biography and Lynda Barry’s creativity books, Syllabus and What It Is. I have a new little list of what I want to achieve in the next while. No surprises here, but sometimes it helps to write it down:
- Right livelihood/writing/the making of art
- Paying the bills
One thing I am noticing is how easy it would be to replace KU time and effort (and perhaps stress) with novel, exciting, new things that are also time-consuming, hard work, and perhaps stressful — all fine if they’re in quest of my new goals, less so if they distract me. Anyway, more next time! Sunday morning is also “skype with friends” time.