6/30: reclaiming the floor and more

The floor in my home office had become unmanageable:  I had piles of stuff from school, from the conference I went to earlier this month, from my picturebook course, and from my article revisions.  Then the piles collapsed into one another and I let the chaos spread to my desk.  Over the past week I've just been dipping into my office when necessary and then bringing whatever I needed to a large table in the  main room to work on.  Today I sorted and cleared.  I now have both a functional floor and a useable desk.

And here's another good thing from the day:  a sighting of this highly articulated creature on our deck.

6/29: sent

I just submitted my revised article.  I am glad for the thinking and learning (of many sorts) that have occurred in the process of researching, writing, and revising it--and today I am especially glad that my work on it is done for now.  There are have been many unexpected bumps and delays on its path, and I'm hoping that the next steps will be smooth.

6/28: building speed

For many years I've had the luxury of being able to be a slow writer--I arrange my obligations so that I have enough time to write very deliberately and very carefully.  This summer I have to be deliberate and careful but in a compressed time frame.  It's good exercise to stretch myself this way, and it's confidence-inspiring to realize that I can put more words together in a day (and still in a cogent way) than I would have imagined.

6/27: remembering and ordering

I remembered some recent good things which I forgot to write about amid all my thoughts about work.  For my picturebook course we had to make some "scary pictures" along the principles outlined by Molly Bang in Picture This: How Pictures Work, and my fellow students were very complimentary about mine.  Also, I saw two bluebirds enjoying the water in the birdbath Chris set up.

I ordered more HervĂ© Tullet books for my picturebook course final project, and I'm looking forward to getting to concentrate on it starting next week.  I also ordered some cardboard playhouses for Emma the Cat and Tilde the Kitten.  Emma especially likes boxes, but we haven't received any really big ones in the mail lately for him to enjoy, so I decided to get some particularly for him.

6/26: today's homework

On the syllabus for today:  3 chapters of a theory-of-picturebooks book, plus close analyses of multiple picturebook versions of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.  There's not much time for things other than work these days (so I apologize for work being the topic of so many recent posts), but as work goes, this is pretty sweet--and a welcome relief from yesterday's emotionally taxing reading and writing.

6/25: just footnotes now

I think I just finished the last of my article revisions.  Today's work was emotionally difficult (psychologically challenging subject matter plus the pile-up of emotional baggage about this piece over the years), and I spent most of the day working obliquely, in snatches and side-long.  There are still footnotes to write and/or tidy up, but that's a practical matter.  Although I won't be done much before the 6/30 deadline, I won't be late (knock on wood).

6/24: second paper

My picturebook course is a summer intensive class, and as a result of the compressed format I have two papers due this week.  Today I finished the second one, even taking some time out to watch a matinee-at-home of Moonrise Kingdom with Chris.

6/23: first paper

Today I submitted my first paper for my picturebook course.  (I think the last time I handed in a paper as a student was in 1996, when I turned in my dissertation prospectus.)  I tried to implement all the advice I give students in my own classes; it's interesting to be on the other side of things for awhile.

6/22: farm loop

I finished my writing early enough today that Chris and I could go on a drive through some farm-land around sunset.  It's something that we used to do often and that we had promised ourselves we'd do soon, so I was glad we made the promise a reality.

6/21: celebrating solstice on the porch

Sunset, then twilight, then dark.

Chris, the cats, and conversation.

Fireflies, crickets, whippoorwills.

6/20: work & play

Today's work went much better than I had anticipated.  I'm having a hard time working on revisions, but I made substantial headway this afternoon and evening, thank goodness.

Chris and I also made our "Moon and June" cake today.  I think we've both been a little down about the way in which June has entailed more work and less rest than we had hoped; making and decorating the cake really helped to boost our spirits and gave us an excuse to do something together for sheer pleasure.

6/19: honey harvest

Chris took some extra boxes of honey off the hives in the late fall, and then we froze the frames to be sure that nothing's in the honey that shouldn't be in the honey.  Today we finally did the harvesting.  We've done extracting enough times over the years that now we know what works for us and what doesn't, so today's process was efficient, clean, and unstressful.  Yay for actually learning from experience.

6/18: reading, thinking, writing

The days are full--lots to do this month for my picturebook course, my article revision, and the adaptations group project.  I've put other projects on hold until July.  Even so, there are moments of panic.  And there are also moments of realizing what a luxury it is to have so many good things to be working on and chunks of time to work on them.  (Chris ran errands today so I'd have even more time--very generous of him.)

6/17: black beauty

Half-way through my trip home yesterday I finished the novel I was reading, so I went into a bookstore in the Houston airport and bought Black Beauty.  We had an abridged recording of it when we were young, and we listened to it a lot, but I'd never read it.  I had forgotten that it's presented in Black Beauty's own voice, and it's wild to think about the rhetorical and philosophical implications of that choice.  Today I found out how influential the novel was on legislation involving horses in Britain and on general attitudes about the treatment of animals in a number of countries.  Way to go, Anna Sewell!

6/16: back home & green light

I'm back from a conference in Biloxi, Mississippi. Going to conferences is a good thing--hearing new ideas, sharing my own--but I am very glad to be home.

My online course on picturebooks began while I was at the conference, and it was a good thing I took my computer so that I could begin my homework.  This week we have to sign up for the illustrator we'd like to do our final project on, and the professor gave me the okay to work on HervĂ© Tullet (even though he wasn't on the list of suggestions).  I was so excited that I ordered a bunch of his books right away!

6/12: travel companion

I took some work-related reading on the plane today and told myself that I couldn't start a novel until I finished the reading for work.  I powered through and still had several hours during my travels to sink into--and thoroughly enjoy--my novel/reward, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

6/10: teeny tiny

As we were kayaking last night I paused to take some pictures.  Chris kept looking up at a tree, so I asked him what he saw.  It was a little hummingbird coming in and out of the shadows.  I had to wait awhile for it to appear, but it did.  It was the smallest bird I have ever seen.

6/9: listening

I've been listening to The Wind in the Willows recently, and today I finished it while cleaning house and playing with Tilde.  The mystical, lyrical parts with Rat and Mole are just amazing, and though I enjoyed the satirical adventures of Toad less, I got very excited by the presentation of Toad's return to Toad Hall as a parody of the Odyssey.

And then I started listening to The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald.  So, so Platonic!  As well as strange and gorgeous.

6/8: margin

I got more done on my paper yesterday than I had planned, and that's a good thing because today I was too sick to my stomach to read or write.  Now I'm not ahead, but at least I'm not behind.

I was still feeling unwell at kayaking time, but I decided to go anyway.  (I figured that if I was already sea-sick-ish, being on the water might not matter.)  I'm glad I went.

6/7: in the air

Geese flying so low this morning that I could hear the rhythmic woosh of their wings.

Reading on the porch with the cats in both the morning and evening.

Kayaking extra long on the lake at sunset.

6/5-6/6: started

I'm giving a paper at a conference next week.  I wrote an abstract for it back in January, and I know the texts I'll be discussing pretty well--but it's always a challenge to arrange words on the page so that they say what I want them to and in the way I want them to (while still sticking to the time limit).  I think I've made a good start.

6/4: landscape

This summer, another professor and I are in a working group with some students focused on adaptation studies.  We're all reading Linda Hutcheon's Theory of Adaptation together, and then we're each pursuing individual adaptation-oriented projects.  One of the students is experimenting with turning a short story by Margaret Atwood into a screenplay.  The story is "Death by Landscape," and I read it for the first time this afternoon--wow.  (If you're interested you can read it by clicking here.)  It gave me a lot to think about as I kayaked through my own landscape this evening.

6/3: more to think about

I recently bought and read The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, a children's novel by Nikki Loftin, because a blurb mentioned that it used Classical myth.  I thought it would be a quick lark of a book to read, and it pretty much was.  But its use of the story of Hansel and Gretel combined with the myth of Demeter and Persephone turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated.  I enjoyed writing about it today in my morning journal, and there's more I want to write about it in tomorrow's journalling session.

6/2: alliterative good things on the lake

My kayak, camera, and Chris for company.

6/1: clearing

The cool rain clearing the air.

Sorting and filing one of my email accounts so my inbox is only one page long.

Leaving the school year progressively behind and beginning to think about new things ahead.