If I’ve been a bit absent of late, there’s a reason: The 4 weeks or so that I’m right in the middle of at the moment are probably my busiest of the year.
First off, there’s the teaching load. Papers have been coming in for each of my classes, and having two new courses to teach this term that require “from scratch” preparation — my Tolkien lecture class and Medieval Outlaws — is sucking up a lot of otherwise free time. Oh, and I also have a couple of big mid-terms to write.
Second, there’s The Shako, the literary magazine of The Citadel. It’s a lot of fun to run, and through much of the year it’s a piece of cake. But for about a month of the year it’s intense work. This is especially true in the week or so leading up to the submission of the journal to the printer. That’s this week.
Third, there’s my annual review. Every year the department meets to determine whether I’ll be able to continue my employment here at The Citadel. (In a few years, after I hopefully get tenure, they’ll meet to pass judgment on my performance, but it won’t be quite the job threat that it is now.) For this meeting I have to put together a Personal Data Sheet (PDS), which is really a multi-page, single-spaced narrative of what I’ve done this year along with all the supporting documentation thereof: tests, graded papers, publications, work in progress, student evaluations, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Fourth, there’s the Brunanburh book I’m putting together. It’s in the last gasps as we heave toward the finish line, legs and lungs are burning. That’s good news, of course, but it also means lots of last-minute, must-act-now items.
Fifth, there’s the family that one doesn’t dare lose track of in the tumult. As busy as I am, time must be found to run around with the kids. Or, as I did this morning, to walk the boy to preschool.
Sixth, there’s the 10 minutes I set aside to write this summary. Actually pushing 13 minutes now, which means I need to take my leave.