Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August New Life

As many of you know, I like to begin a new life on the first day of each month.  I need a clearly defined starting point for a new life; it doesn't seem possible to begin a new life, say, at 2:13 in the afternoon on July 17.  That would feel too random, too arbitrary, too haphazard.   A new life should begin on the first day of a new year, or on the first day of a new month, or at the very least, on a Monday (which is why Mondays are my favorite day of the week).  So I am beginning my new life today.

I have two weeks and a day until I return to Indiana.  My old life had a truly staggering amount of fun and games in it, all those Boulder summer pleasures that needed to be crammed into every single day.  So the new life is going to have to have work in it - massive amounts of grim toil!  Though of course I will try not to make it feel grim or toilsome.  But the hallmark of the new life is going to be productivity. 

I have to write a letter evaluating the research of a professor who is seeking promotion to full professor; I have to write comments to deliver on a paper on Kant's account of marriage for the Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress coming up next week; I have to write a batch of five book reviews for the website Children's Literature; I have to revise my China conference paper on Beverly Cleary for a September 1 deadline; I have to write an entire paper that I was asked to contribute to an edited collection on manipulation (I just found out that the deadline on that has been moved up from the end of the year to the end of the month); I have to organize my first-ever course on children's literature (the first day of classes is August 22); I need to read some forty full-length book manuscripts for a contest I'm judging for the Utah Original Writing Competition (some of them are picture books, but most of them are lengthy novels); I need to invite speakers for the Undergraduate Ethics Symposium at DePauw this coming spring; I need to proceed on arrangements for the Ethics and Children's Literature conference I'm organizing at DePauw that will take place mid-September.

Okay.  I can do this.  But, as Anthony Trollope wrote in his autobiography, when he explained how he planned to succeed as a novelist while working full time for the British Post Office: "There must be early hours, and I had not as yet learned to love early hours."  Well, I learned long ago to love early hours, though you would have not guessed this from my late-to-bed, late-to-rise antics of July.  This morning, I got up at 4:30.  Is that early enough, Mr. Trollope?  The book reviews are done.  The book manuscripts for the contest are loaded onto my iPad.  Two paragraphs have been written on the promotion letter.  That's a start.  And starting is always the hardest part.  I've read that the hardest step of a run is the step you take out the front door.  I'm out the front door now. My new life has begun!

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