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Mimsy and Outgrabe

a record of panic, parenting, teaching, and art making

  • Writer's pictureSarah Gutowski

All the Stuff All at Once

Updated: May 15, 2023

Every time I get on the ol' blog I resolve to write more and then there's radio silence for weeks. My plans for writing never go accordingly and I think that's just what I have to accept about the phenomena of plans — they are about as useful as trying to grasp the wind, and they move and change about as quickly.

I have so many projects & ideas I want to pursue right now which have very little to do with my day job, and so I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on the day job. I'm right at the end of a very long semester. In some ways it's been great — I have felt far more connected to students than I have since the pandemic totally combusted the world of higher ed (education on all levels, really). In other ways, it's been such a slog — the online teaching (and being assigned a fully online class at the last minute when one of my real-time classes didn't run) is really THE WORST but one has to just shrug and say, "this is my life now," because it IS if I continue to do this job. Foolishly, students are signing up for online classes when they have no idea how to BE online students. Foolishly, I have been trying to run my online classes the way I run my face-to-face classes when I have neither the time, nor the energy, to be a fully-engaged teacher that way.

It's a tire-fire, but it's the one I created, or chose, or all events & choices led me here, soooooooo...

Research and notes for the PCA paper

I haven't written anything much lately. I did do a lot of poetry-related stuff in April, from presenting at the PCA-ACA Annual conference in San Antonio, where I met some lovely new poets and saw familiar faces in person for the first time; I was able to bring poet Eugenia Leigh to our campus for a reading, which was FANTASTIC, because she's fantastic and also her new book BIANCA is a marvel; and I participated in a reading at the end of the month, part of the There's a Lot to Unpack Here (TALTUH) series, which has a fun but rigorous Q&A format that makes it stand out from a lot of other reading series.

I had author photos taken in advance of The Familiar's publication (and found out that the official launch date of the book will be February 2, 2024. Yay!) The author photo experience was a strange one: I promised myself that when I had a new book I'd have a proper professional photograph taken (also, I believe in updating author photos. I don't want to be one of those people who uses the same photo for 10 or 20+ years — aging should really be documented and acknowledged, even if it ain't pretty). But I may have moved too far out of my league, because while Priyanca Rao (of Creative Headshots NYC) is a really personable, highly talented, super-skillful photographer, I'm definitely feeling imposter syndrome when I look at them, to the point I *had* to poke fun at myself when I reposted some of them on Instagram.

The official author photo

And I'm waiting for it to be released, but I had a review of Francesca Bell's What Small Sound accepted by the Colorado Review last week. (It should appear here eventually!) So while I'm not currently writing, things are happening.

Once I get through ALL THE GRADING (there is so, so much) next week, I have a few precious days before my summer class begins. But it will be only ONE class, and so I intend to work on the following, at the same time (recorded here for accountability, natch):

  • Course prep for fall classes so that I can actually teach and grade like a human

  • My verse play (don't want to lose momentum!)

  • Reading and reviews of: From From, Collected Poems of Ellen Bryant Voight, Overland, and Kingdom of Surfaces, and Delicates.

  • An essay on Jessica Cuello's work over the past decade

  • Some interactive fun ridiculous stuff related to The Familiar launch

  • AWP Proposals (Due June 1!)

  • Sleep

It's a lot for three months, I'll admit. And I can't talk about the fact that I'm also preparing to send my eldest child to college in August.

Nope! We're not going to talk about that.


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