Sabbatical: Day 1

I guess I could have begun counting from the final day of classes last semester, but today is the first day I would have gone into the classroom had I been teaching, so this feels like the first official day of my sabbatical. Have I said that I am wildly grateful for such a luxury? If I haven't, I am. At a time when many of my fellow citizens are losing their jobs, don't have health insurance, lack adequate housing, etc., to be paid to sit home & think feels almost immoral. Perhaps that's an old streak of Protestantism coming to the surface; if so, it's a reminder that Protestantism was originally about social justice and individual dignity / responsibility. The best way I can see to redeem -- don't you love how the religious vocabulary emerges? -- my time is to make effective use of it. So far, this has been a pretty lazy winter break: I've done a lot of reading, but dropped studying Vietnamese; I wrote a couple of stories, but haven't looked at any of my poems in weeks; I've shoveled a good deal of snow, but I have been very lazy in the kitchen, falling into auto-cook mode most of the time. I'm going to try to blog regularly during the sabbatical, mostly as a form of self-discipline & self-reflection. I'm not oing to make any foolhardy commitments to post something every day, but that will be my goal, even if it's just a squib or a report on local bird life or what I cooked for dinner. With luck, there will also be more substantial bits as well. Anyway, it's cold & snowy this morning & I probably won't go farther afield today than the post office (though Carole is heading off to work in a few minutes), so the weather is cooperating: no excuse but to get some real work done.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

6 thoughts on “Sabbatical: Day 1”

  1. Happy sabbatical!


    When trees take off their stumps
    and dreams

    an act of cynical defiance
    only ruined by its sincerity

    only saved by its refusal
    to stop thinking as snowing

    or as shoveling rain a cold rain
    passing in and out of snow

    the snow that falls in the desert
    or falls in a dead heart left in the desert

    all that waiting
    hunkered down

    the cold kiss
    it takes a hundred years to give.

  2. You Luckiest Being!
    I went back to school yesterday and after so many lazy laziest days (in which I thought I had done soooo many things – the Holidays) the true Ocean has come to sweep away everything…
    pant pant panting through…

    Enjoy every moment of it, well deserved, I am sure!

  3. Well, I missed you today. The start of the semester has its rituals, and, for me, I like to chat with you about courses and students. I’ll return the favor by reporting back to you on our 8am faculty meetings, Open Houses, and the joy of grading papers. The sabbatical should give you a chance to explore the short story writer in you. Enjoy.

  4. my youth was a naked boy on a sweet fast horse
    and we rode–it seemed like we were one–
    in the cool days and nights until i was old.
    that was tomorrow. rode snapping a towel airward.
    tomorrow is yesterday and an old man still a boy.
    edward mycue

  5. I felt similar twinges of conscience immediately after retirement. Sadly, free time seems to have been in short measure for things creative so I wish you better fortune of your sabbatical, Joseph. I’ll be back to check!

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