The itch

Although classes officially concluded on Wednesday, I’ve still got a lot of stuff to do before I can stick a fork in the semester. The stuff amounts to grading final story revisions and reporting grades. Grades, I learned, are to be posted 48 hours after the final exam. Technically, I was supposed to administer my final exam (or have final papers due) on Friday 5/14. But instead, I invented the deadline of 5/10, and none of my students called me on it. So I basically bought myself five days to grade! I’m giving myself retroactive props for this inadvertently genius maneuver.

At times like these, when I find myself surveying a workload with distinctly tedious components (reading the stories is not tedious, but agonizing over the letter grade and then navigating the clumsy online interface to report the grades is), the itch comes upon me.

The itch is to pursue whatever writing project has caught my fancy. The more I write, the more I find that I’m able to identify different stages in my process. The early stage of a project is a time of excitement and planning, when a project still exists in a future ideal. The beginning is also exciting, as the world of the story begins to take shape. Then there’s the slog of the middle. And the agony of the end. The latter stage is when the itch begins anew. At that point, any project looks good, even a revision, which entails a separate process with its own set of ups and downs (and for me, there is always more slogging in a revision).

Anyhoo. The point is that I am itching to start a new story that I’ve been kicking around. The coming week is kind of a bust, what with my evenings necessarily devoted to capping off my teacherly duties. And then the week after that, we’ll be in Barcelona, and I won’t be doing any writing. I mean, I COULD, since we’ll be bringing along my trusty netbook, but to do so would defeat the purpose of a vacation. We’ll be back on the 26th, which means that I will have a few days left to get going on the story before I begin the June project.

So itch, itch, itch. Whine, whine, whine. Such is the cycle of my life. Which, when put that way, sounds an awful lot like the world according to Banjo and Petra.

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