Sabbatical Gone Amok

I would never consider myself a particularly organized person. I find a clear mind an aesthetic pleasure: I appreciate people who can think clearly, who can follow a line of thought, who can hold multiple lines of thought and express them clearly. I’m just not one of those people. My mind is muddled on the best of days, distracted on all the other days. That said, I generally keep a pretty organized desk; it always helps counteract what’s going on in my mind to have a clean space to work.

One of my sabbatical goals was to get even more organized. I’m revamping all my courses, one step of which is to go through all the folders of notes and articles and weed them out–what’s actually worth keeping? what course does it best belong to? I wanted to go back into the next school year feeling somewhat streamlined.

But then I look at my desk and realize all has gone wrong somewhere along the line. I think it’s the result of working with several big projects: I’m working on my book about the Batwa; I’m working on design for my book of poetry forthcoming this fall; I’m working on my collection of essays about landscape and environment; and I’m working on my conspiracy novel. All at the same time as trying to do my taxes, too, I guess. None of this helps my mind’s naturally disorderly functioning, but has helped my office organizational skills less.


What I really need is to just get away from all this for awhile and write, get away from the clutter and work. It’s not that I’m not being productive–I’m being very productive–but I can’t quite get a handle on what it is I’ve accomplished. I want to immerse myself in the work without all the piles of distractions. So this week I’m headed to Vermont Studio Center for a few weeks, just a few notebooks and my laptop, only so many distractions, only so many piles of work I can generate, and I’ll see where I go. I’ll deal with this mess when I get back.


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