More Notes on October

by Jeff Oaks

I have a few more papers to comment on. On Thursday, there will be more. I have two friends who want reactions to some work they’ve sent me, nothing deep, nothing pressing; I feel the pressure anyway. I have a long essay to finish which may be completely awful; I can’t bear to even look at it until I know I have a long stretch of unscheduled time. Likely I’m going to have to tear it apart and start again. I have notes toward a new essay which has a deadline in a month. I have one book of poems that needs to go out. I have a second book of poems that needs to be leaned on hard, so all that’s mere water is pressed out. I have a book to reread because I’ll be teaching it in a few days. I’m supposed to write a letter for my job renewal. I found a tick on my dog over the weekend and now I fear he’ll die of Lyme Disease because I wasn’t careful enough. I still haven’t called the HVAC guy to reschedule his inspection of my furnace, which although I haven’t needed to use it this week, I will soon. A former student of mine just had her first book accepted, and while I’m excited for her, I can’t escape the feeling that, because I haven’t had a book-length manuscript taken yet, I’m never going to. She’s not the first student to get there before me either. A new student wants to do an independent study “next term and into the summer”. There are a number of letters of recommendation to be written soon. A colleague wants to talk about his future. It goes on and on.

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