July 15, 2024

Today was supposed to be my first day back at work after the Christmas break. It would have been registration, which would have meant that just about the time the panic truly set in about how much I needed to do before classes started, I would have been stuck helping students register with no time to work on my class preps.

As luck would have it, we had an onslaught of arctic blast weather alerts yesterday, and registration was canceled today. As luck would further have it, we didn’t actually get any winter precipitation out of this. It’s been brutally cold for South Mississippi, but all utilities remained in working order. Since I never left my house, that was good enough for me.

The upshot of it all is I’ve had a snow day without snow, and I can now put off until Monday the process of panic and frustration that I always experience during registration. Instead I’ve fiddled about, attempting to catch up on various projects. Haphazardly, of course.

I learned a couple of things about myself. There’s a reason I’m not a photographer. I saw a stray cat huddled up against the fence at the back of my yard this morning. My first thought was “poor cold kitty.” My next thought was “what a great picture that would make.” This was quickly followed by “if it weren’t so cold I’d go out there and try to get a picture.”

The other thing I learned was that a Google of “Contentment Diary” now places my site at the top. I’m the leading expert as it were. Too bad I don’t I don’t actually know what a contentment diary is.

I’d like to blog about important issues right now, but I also don’t want to distract myself too much from completing important tasks, so the main item of my contentment to report is I’m typing to hear myself type. Yet, I’ve just seen this Stephen King quote float through on Twitter: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

I’m resolved to write on the blog as much as possible mainly for that reason. You have to write a lot to be a writer. Because I teach a lot and have many other commitments, I don’t have the time available for sustained writing, like working on a book or writing scholarly articles. This may be only fluff writing here, but it serves a purpose. It keeps me in the mindset to write. It keeps me in practice. Theoretically, at least, that should mean that when I do have more sustained writing time available, I’ll be more prepared to use it wisely.

This is a lesson I learned as a graduate student reading Peter Elbow. Write to write if you don’t have any other reason to write. It’s an idea I believe in and push to my students. There should be no reason I couldn’t practice it as well.

I do, however, have goals for the blog beyond blogging for the sake of blogging. I’d like to post something every day. I’d like to post a poem once a week. I’d like to post a reading response at least once a week. I’d like to use this to think through some article ideas. I also want to write more about the process of writing poetry and trends in contemporary poetry. And then there could be cat pictures. There really could.

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