Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tailspins: Tropical Storms and Other Untetherings

Yesterday’s weather was worse than what we experienced during the closest approach of tropical storm Isaac. That is sometimes (often?) the way: the tail of the storm lashes more severely than the center of the event.

It seems like an apt metaphor for much of life. I think I’ve weathered the storm, only to find myself sinking below the flooding rains that come afterward.

Yesterday we had rains that brought floods that were worse than any we’ve suffered in recent hurricanes. We had a storm band with heavy rains parked over the east coast of Florida for most of the day. Chaos ensued.

Now it is time to get back to daily life. But still, there is clean-up to be done.

Similarly at work, it’s difficult to know exactly how to prioritize. I’ve made the easy decisions: giving classes to faculty who are already on hand and able to take the classes left unstaffed by recent layoffs (these are classes that will start in Fall quarter, in early October).

Now for the harder part: Which adjuncts should I think about hiring? Will other hiring decisions impact adjunct availability? Will I be here?

I had planned to take time off to go to Lutheridge for our annual retreat to plan the creativity retreat. Will I be able to go or will I need to be here to interview for my job? If I don’t get this job, should I not travel so as to save money? Or should I go, so as to get some clarity and calm? I’ll have vacation time to burn up, since it will all evaporate on September 26, if I'm not the one chosen for the new position.

Right now I need to wait a few days to see what develops, as I reach out to possible adjuncts and think of staffing variations. I’ll see what develops on the job search front; I’ve alerted my fellow retreat planners that my life has been disrupted, so that if I can’t go, they’ve had some time to get used to the idea.

I got a kind message from the universe that reminds me that there is other business needing my attention. Rattle accepted one of my poems! I’ve been submitting to them for a long time, and while they’ve sent kind comments on rejections, this will be the first poetry acceptance.

My inner voice of defeat (usually drowned out by either my inner optimist or my inner apocalypse gal) thinks about how long I’ve been trying, not about the success part. My inner voice of defeat wonders how long it will be before I achieve my book-with-a-spine goal, if I keep going at this rate. My inner voice of defeat is fond of bringing up the precarious state of publishing. My inner voice of defeat says, “Who cares? No one reads poetry anyway.”
I hate my inner voice of defeat.
Nothing defeats my inner voice of defeat like making some submissions, or even writing a poem. So, I’m working on a poem that has characters dealing with news of impending job loss in a variety of ways: buying musical instruments, renewing a passport, putting up the Christmas tree—that last one was my strange urge after I hung up the phone with my boss and HR, after learning the my job was one of the ones lost to restructuring.

I didn’t put up the tree, but some festive, twinkling lights would be good right now. Maybe I’ll just play my Christmas CDs. I find them soothing. I often turn to them in times of stress. They lull my inner voice of defeat right into submission.

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