I visited campus yesterday for a New Faculty Luncheon, which gave me a chance to catch up with my fellow chairs and various administrators and staff, and whenever someone asked me how my summer was, I answered, "uneven." (More accurate than my standard "ehh, OK," and leads to just as many follow-up questions.)
My summer was definitely bifurcated. As I reported in my last regular update, the first half was mainly spent wrapping up The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics. Then I attended San Diego Comic-Con, a fantastic experience recounted here. I returned from that trip completely drained, as expected, and I wisely did not plan or expect any significant activity for the first few days afterwards. Afterwards, I did plan to start work on a book chapter I promised to the book's editor by the end of August: a relatively short piece based on material from my upcoming book Batman and Ethics, but written with a different focus for a different audience.
Unfortunately, that "few days" turned into a month of near inactivity, and I didn't make significant progress on writing the chapter until two weeks ago (after struggling with its organization during the time prior). About the only other thing I can remember doing during that time was write posts for my The Virtues of Captain America blog, which I launched before going to Comic-Con and now has sixteen live posts (a new one every Monday and Friday) and over fifty more ready to go (to ensure I can maintain that twice-a-week schedule into the semester). That's worthy work, to be sure, but I felt uneasy leaving the book chapter to so late in the summer, especially when I had so much time in the weeks after Comic-Con.
Today I completed the first draft of the chapter to my satisfaction and emailed it to the editor—at the end of the day on the last Friday before the semester starts. (And that week one of work emergencies, computer failures, car repairs, and family illness.) And next week, I need to go through the Batman and Ethics manuscript a final time, making a handful of small revisions recommended by reviewers, before delivering it to the publisher next Friday, as well as attend to the first week of the semester. (Yes, I am nuts, but I also never miss a production deadline.) And in September I start my fall writing, which includes a paper to present at the ASSA meetings in early January, a commentary on a book to be presented at the APA Eastern meetings a few days later, and (hopefully) a short academic book, the proposal of which is currently under review (and about which I hope to get news soon), and which I hoped to finish by the end of January (a month we have off at my university).
That's a lot, and starting in September I do want to try committing to a certain amount of time writing every day. (It's what all the kids are doing these days, right?) I've tried to stick to a writing schedule many times, but even when I can stay offline I just stare at the screen in despair. I'm hoping it works better this time, as least in maintaining momentum. My two main problems with writing are starting and continuing, and writing every day should at least help with the latter!
I do wish I'd taken a few days off after Comic-Con to go somewhere and unwind, as I'd planned. By "planned" I meant I mentioned it to several friends, with about as much commitment as Milton threatening revenge every time someone took his stapler or moved his desk. (Well, maybe less, considering how the movie ended.) As a result, I am going into the semester feeling rather drained, but thinking over summers past, that's par for the course. Not good, I know, but not unexpected, and there's something woefully comforting in that.
If you're an academic or a student, I hope your semester starts well; and if you're a writer, may the words flow as quickly as the coffee that fuels them (or the hearty libations that follow). For everyone else, have a great fall, and I'll see all of you near the end of the year, if not sooner.
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I'll leave you with a song that represents chill to me, something I'm trying to grab a bit of in these waning moments of the Sunday of summer.