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I’m finding it extremely difficult this year to make the shift out of the fall semester and into everything I need to focus on over the winter break. Probably I should cut myself some slack about this, given that I filed my last grade for the semester at 5.30 this morning. But I’ve had some time over the last few days to begin thinking about the what-next stuff, and I haven’t exactly gotten myself focused, or even aimed in the right direction.

Part of the issue is the daunting nature of what I’ve got to accomplish over the break: I really need to make some serious headway on the actual production of actual text for the book; I need to get a lot done for MediaCommons*; I need to get one entirely new class prepared and one previously taught class heavily revised; I need to finish preparing for a Mellon workshop I’m hosting in a couple of weeks.

But it’s also the plethora of small details from this semester that are still hanging over my head: a peer review, a committee report, a search. (Okay, that last one’s not at all small.) And, in fact, these two factors — the daunting nature of the big tasks, and the proliferating nature of the small ones — combine to make the possibility of focus even more distant, as the small tasks provide a too-welcome distraction from the big ones, feeling more urgent, even though not important.

Here’s hoping for the — what does it require? will? — to keep centered on the important this break, and to find ways to recalibrate that sense of urgency.


*[7.16 am, updated to add:] Whoops! Forgot the footnote, which intended to say that MediaCommons is emerging from its persistent vegetative state. The old site (i.e., that which was current back in July) is back online, and the development of the new site is once again proceeding apace. Watch this space for more developments!


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