It's 51 right now. It was a bit warmer earlier.
It's supposed to be 1 tomorrow night. Yes. ONE. With windchills of -20 or more. I sure hope the plants are mulched good enough, especially with no snow forecasted.
The weather parallels the work of grading finals: essays, stories, poems. I am frozen, stuck at the kitchen table with papers everywhere.
And since I feel publically sorry for myself lately, why not go for the gold. I applied for just one teaching job, a local gig, since I'm staying in town the next few years. Didn't get it. Got that letter today. Also got rejections from Fugue and Orion (Orion says it's a sweet essay, but not right for them--sweet).
I'm not depressed. I don't need to be cheered up. I spent two hours working on an essay after the mail came, and it's hard to get the flow right in its 15 pages. I'm angry. Maybe I'm bitter. Even if I work hard, it's futile: the writing, the teaching. It feels like the same thing over and over, spinning wheels. I see why people cut corners in life, why older professors get so jaded, why writers become dictionary salesmen. Of course, you can't please everyone, but who wants to please? I want to affect, cause change, create deep reflection and resonance. It's not happening. Perhaps my standards are too high. Or I'm naive. After 9 years I want tenure. A sabbatical.
Here's a confession: I wasn't as good a teacher this term as I usually am, in large part due to the pull I felt from the dissertation. One day I was writing, the next I was lesson planning / grading / conferencing. Writing. Teaching. Writing. Teaching. Is this what I want? I can't give 20% to this, 20% to that, and do anything as good as I'd like. There's no balance in this profession, and by the time you make it to the promised land--summer--it takes those two or three months just to get back to par because you're so drained (I can't imagine working full time all year, so maybe I ought to just shut up).
So now I'll go eat dinner. Have some chocolate. Grade some more. Watch some TV. Sleep. Wake up. Try again. Fail better.