bad academics · good attitudes about crappy possibilities · reform


So I’m sitting around enjoying my last salary-free furlough day when all of a sudden it hits me: I have to get a blog post together! Already! (Already??)

Time-off time always disorients me (though I adapt to it with startling ease). There’s a different pace: the pace of the unemployed, I call it. If you’ve ever been jobless, or written a dissertation, you know what I’m talking about. You set yourself a clear and manageable task du jour: say, to mail a letter. You get up full of resolve: today’s the day I’ma mail that letter! You seal the envelope, find the address. And then you pause. You could just dash down the address, but wouldn’t it be so much more professional to word process it? in fact, wouldn’t this be a good time to learn to use labels? Absolutely: you’ve put off learning that 1980s task for long enough! Oh, the chewy satisfaction of that moment when you think you’re going to accomplish twice as much as you’d imagined…

Of course, you have no labels. Should you buy some? Maybe, but will that leave you time to mail the letter? Maybe not. Indecision, indecision, indecision. You come tentatively back to Plan A, only you’re thrown off your game, so you decide maybe today’s not the day to mail that letter after all. It’ll keep.

Next day, same resolve – only, having wasted the first letter-mailing day, you’re determined to get a jump on it. But first, a shower. And you should have a nutritious breakfast. (Wasn’t that one of last year’s resolutions?) Then you realize there’s probably a line-up at the post office, so you’d be better to wait until after lunch. But after lunch – well, how can you justify leaving the house if you haven’t accomplished anything yet?

The letter sits … and sits ….. and sits ……. and before you know it, the longest semester break in recorded history is over and you have nothing to show for it except a new PB in Angry Birds.

Novels read: 0
Papers written: 0
Moonlit skating dates: 0

Did I see the Natalie Portman movie? Oops. Did I lay in some food for the coming semester? Nope, didn’t do that either. Start an exercise regime? clean my desk? crack that grant application? No, no and no.

To be honest, readers, I have no idea what happened to the last two weeks, and for that reason alone – but if you call me on this, I will deny it – I am not unhappy to be heading back to work tomorrow, full of resolve: this year, I will own my time!

PS That letter I promised you? On its way tomorrow. Most definitely. Almost certainly.

6 thoughts on “Resolved

  1. In the last two weeks, the cells in your muscles have been slowly filtering out stress toxins and repairing tension damaged tissue, oxygen has slowly filtered into capillaries previously cut off by tense muscles, and your spirit has unfurled and bloomed in the warmth of loved ones. That's sufficient labour for two weeks, says I.


  2. Yes. What SC says!

    Too funny, Heather. Tom and I were both admitting last night to being glad to be heading back to work this week: but then, we have a four year old at whose pleasure we have been serving for two weeks already. I am ready to admit to preferring writing to another round of pony magnet picnic for the moment. I think she was pretty glad to get back to school, too!


  3. Now I want a post written by Aimée from the perspective of her 4 year old 😉

    I'm pretty sure that you don't need goals for your holidays. Beyond the stuff SC mentions. Sleeping late and eating good food, or spending entire days in pyjamas, seem like what's required if you insist.


  4. Too funny, Heather, and all too true!

    Aimée, I hear you! Mine is two and a half, and my partner and I have been musing on the best strategies to teach her how to read on her own, so that we might get a break from the constant [imagine plaintive, my-life-depends-on-it voice] “Mommy/Daddy, can you read this book for me?”


  5. God, does this ring true. Except, that pretty much sums up this past summer in my case. I had had a hard time finding work the summer prior, a consequence of my mediocre French. This summer I started out with a job I was actually excited about: a table worker with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at Concordia University. I gave people their programs and directions across our newly complicated campus. Now, not only are we scattered in various buildings around down town (and the Loyola Campus) but we also have an underground tunnel system connecting the main buildings to the metro. I got paid to be cheerful and helpful, which is my ideal job in any scenario. It lasted two weeks, gave me a little money to support me while I optimistically looked for something else for the rest of the summer.

    Nothing. I actually ended up becoming a freelance gardener for a while and made a couple hundred dollars, but still, it was a rough, frugal summer. Meanwhile, I was determined to edit my portfolio, write some new pieces and get ready for grad school.(I graduated from Concordia last Spring and have stayed to pursue my Master's in Creative Writing.) I have missed out on more contests than I care to admit because I edit very sporadically and nothing feels ready or appropriate to submit. I wanted to be ready, this time.

    In the end I did write a bit, but was nowhere near as productive as I feel I should have been. And I had a whole summer to do it! I was hardly working, I should have been churning out pages, plans for my current thesis but I was stuck. I had a fantastic theory about a book and the way I could write it, but had no clue how to go about doing it. I greeted September with wary relief and finally understood that I NEED structure in order to be productive. Perhaps I've become too used to the school structure, but I really work best when I've got about fourteen different projects and assignment, school and creative work in tandem.

    And this summer? I'm going back to my home in PEI for a few months and I will be working forty hours a week at a job I love while the boy I love is with back his family, in Malaysia. I predict some interesting writing from those months.


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