Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Bare Minimum

I don't have time to blog right now, but if I don't I might cry.

I haven't explained this to anyone yet, besides the usual response to questions regarding my well-being: "I'm fine. Just busy."

The thing is, I'm busy. So busy that it's making me sad.

Perhaps it's just knowing that I'm technically on Spring Break that's bringing the melancholy to the forefront, but it's hitting me hard today. I feel like I'm so consumed by grad school that I'm missing out on grad school. On any given day I'm trying to fit in reading, writing, grading, exercising, second-job work, going to class if it's Monday-Wednesday, teaching class if it's Tuesday or Thursday, not to mention applying for internships over the summer, reading for Witness, reading for the Emerging Writers Series, or, god forbid, having something resembling a social life. This kind of schedule requires that I do only the bare minimum for everything, and therefore I don't feel adequately immersed in anything.

Case in point: last week we read certain passages from Barthes' Mythologies for theory class. I read only what was assigned, but I really enjoyed what I read. I would have liked to read more. I meant to read more, in fact. But I didn't have time. Everything else got in the way. This happens virtually every week. I've been switching off weeks reading less than what is required for my Poetry Forms class and my Theory class; one week I'll do the assigned reading for one class and skim for the other, and the next week I'll switch. I know I can get by doing this, but I don't want to get by. I want to do well. I'm afraid I won't do well in either class because I don't have the time necessary to do well.

I haven't written anything new since January. I've edited some of my writing, but the only new content I have produced is for All Together Now and my poems for workshop. Robert Coover is coming to workshop with us next month. That's a big deal. Too bad I'll have nothing to workshop. Last night I took some time to submit one of my stories to some journals, and I felt guilty about it. I should have been grading. Or reading. Or planning my paper for theory class. I felt even more guilty when I was at the MFA picnic for a few hours. I should have been enjoying myself, but I was so stressed.

Occasionally I watch mindless television. Then I feel extra guilty. But I only do that either when I'm eating, and it would be hard to do other work then anyway, or if I'm going to bed, when I also wouldn't be doing other work. 

The obvious solution is to cut back on something. But what? I have to do my schoolwork or I'll fail. It'd be pretty damn hard to live on this stipend without the extra money I get from my second job. If I don't exercise I'll get fat and die. Witness and EWS are both valuable experience. Most people would recommend cutting back on teaching as much as possible. It does take a long time--an hour & a half to two hours to plan a class, usually, and I can typically grade only 5-6 papers an hour. However, I can't seem to forget my obligation to my students. It's not their fault they got an overworked grad student as a teacher. Why should their education suffer?

Writing is what gets cut out, and that was the whole point.

Sorry for complaining. I know I'm not the only one with these problems. Just needed to vent.

Okay. Time to write something about Mina Loy. Something...

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