4 minute read

R. and I have been back at work this week after our weekend of picnics, and I’ve been attempting to knock some smallish tasks off the to-do list. The article that I was at work on last week is fully drafted, and is out to some folks for comment. I’ve been feeling a bit off my game this week, though, productivity-wise. At the beginning of the week, that was fine, as I was able to look back over the summer to that point and marvel a bit at what I’d managed to get done. And I still had three weeks left in Paris, so I knew there was more to come.

Somehow it feels different now; I’ve got just barely more than two weeks remaining, and time feels very, very pressing. Not least because the month of August is going to be sheer insanity: I get back home late on the night of the 7th, have two days to handle all the life stuff that needs handling, and then am on a plane headed to a conference in a major eastern metropolis, where I’ll be conducting interviews. (I decline to name this major eastern metropolis, as every moment of my time that will not be spent conducting interviews is already spoken for, and at the moment I cannot bear the guilt of having to say no to friendly social invitations.) I am currently scheduled to return home on the 14th (though it’s conceivable that a meeting will delay that return by a day), where I will have as much as a day to put life back in order again, before my mother shows up for a visit, on the 16th. She’ll be hanging out with me until the 19th, which will be great, as we have all manner of fun girly plans involving shopping and spas. Immediately after she takes off, though, I have a meeting that I have to fly off to, either back east or in NoCal, depending, and from which I’ll either get home on the 21st or the 22nd, depending. And then the 23rd is a Very Significant Day with a Big Round Number attached to it, and some portion of that weekend will be spent celebrating said event. And then the week of the 26th through the 30th, I have jury duty, which thank god, is of the phone-in kind, but knowing what needs to be accomplished that week, I’ll no doubt get called in and placed on the trial of the century. Because classes start the following Tuesday, and then summer will really be Over.

What this means, though, if you look back and add it all up, is that my summer effectively ends when I get in the cab here, taking me to CDG on my way home. Which means I’ve got just over two weeks to finish up the vast majority of the work I’d intended to do this summer. And given that, I’m not ecstatic about the progress I’ve made. I’ve drafted an article that I hadn’t really expected to write, which is great (assuming the article isn’t plagued by idiocy, which remains to be seen). And I’m on the cusp of finishing the last of the work for the second edition of the anthology of which I’m on the editorial board. And I’ve done a fair bit of research, and I’ve made some pretty significant (I think) advances in my thinking toward my New Big Project, which turns out to be further along than I thought it was (I think). And there have been some significant advances in the world of MediaCommons, which moves steadily toward a broader launch.

But there’s so much left undone: I have another article that I’d hoped to write, and I’d hoped to end the summer with a full-on outline of the New Big Project. I have a manifesto that I’m supposed to be writing with a colleague that’s made alarmingly little progress. I have two big events that I’m supposed to be planning for next academic year, one for my department for the spring, and one, alarmingly enough, for my program for the fall, and I’ve done very little on either, in no small part out of heel-dragging, both because I don’t want to be doing school-related administrative stuff during the very very few weeks of my one and only goddamned summer, and particularly the kind of administrative stuff I most despise (anything related to event planning, alas). One of my classes still needs some work before it’ll be ready to go. And, more than anything, I need to get myself into some kind of headspace where I’m willing to let go of this summer, willing to return to the office, willing to let meetings and other requirements intrude into what has been the blissfully empty calendar of my time here in Paris. And that project has not yet even begun.

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