Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Taking Stock

Wednesday, December 28, 2011—Long Beach, CA

Feeling tired. Still recovering from Christmas, too much food, drink, and socializing (I’m at heart a solitary creature). I’ve managed to get some work done for school the last couple of days, which is part of the reason I’m feeling a little burnt out. I’m trying to adopt a new policy/attitude about how I approach teaching. It’s simply taking up too much of my time; I don’t get paid anywhere near enough to justify the kind of hours I put in. I’ve decided to try and put in no more than four hours a day on school- related work, beyond the actual time I spend teaching. This will make for about a forty-hour work week. Anything that I can’t get done in that time simply will have to wait or will not happen. I think that’s a more than reasonable approach given my paychecks. Hopefully this will allow me time to write and live something approaching an enjoyable life. Teaching has not been a good time these last couple semesters. It either has to start becoming more fun or it needs to go away. Right now I can see things going either way ...

Speaking of teaching, I’ve been investigating teaching English in Greece. It looks like that might be a real option. More on this when I’ve got a better handle on how that might work.

Been frustrated in my recent attempts to write; nothing much is happening when I sit down at the keyboard (beyond my work on this diary). I can’t tell if this is because I’m so stressed and out of practice and therefore can’t settle into the groove or if it comes down to the fact that I don’t have much to say right now; when I try to write ideas that seem great in my head come out stillborn—it’s like they’re not quite ripe or something (to mix metaphors). Nothing much I can do about this except try and put myself in a good place overall in my life and then see what happens with my work—if the words aren’t there there not there, and if they are there and not ready to come out there’s nothing I can do to force the situation. (Man, how many long years has it taken me to accept that reality!)

I’ve decided to give Paul Bowles another chance. I picked up the Black Sparrow collection of his short stories and Virginia Carr’s biography on him from the LB library today. I’ve been reading too much non-fiction lately—I need stories, art. Despite the fact that I found the ending of Let it Come Down so disappointing, I love Bowles’ writing, stylistically. I’ve heard he’s a better short-story writer than novelist. I’m going into them with some fairly high hopes. Like I said, I love his approach and I’m very interested in the North African locales that dominated his work. I could really use a new writer in my world—my life’s immeasurably poorer when I’m not reading a writer a love.

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