Back on campus today, as we resume our regularly scheduled programming….or, semester. I was informed recently by my father, who is retiring at the end of this academic year, that those of us who teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays have twelve classes left before the last day. And now, eleven. One of my colleagues told me this morning that I was in my final stretch, since I’ll be taking next year off. He called it “graduating,” which sounded kind of weird, but it’s sort of true, I guess. Except this time, instead of four and half years and a BA, I’m leaving with eight and a wealth of experience that defies simple definition. Last time, before graduating, I was so caught up in finishing papers and classes I didn’t really take time to savor it. Also, I graduated in December, thereby missing all the spring parties and long lazy days sunning on the quad. Maybe this time I’ll try to do more of that. Have my own sort of senior semester. Although at my age, it’s closer to a senior moment. But whatever.

One thing I am looking forward to during my year off is having more time. To write (ideally) but also to read, since I won’t be having to grade papers or prepare for classes. When I was in college, I was an English major, so I read a lot, but doing so for fun was kind of out of the question. When I finally graduated, I made a pledge to myself to start reading for myself again, and I’ve stuck to it. Right now I have books piled up all over from the newspaper I’m supposed to be considering for reviews (I am drowning in chick lit, not that it’s a bad thing, though). Over the break, though, I took a rest and went back to basics, reading Anne Tyler’s The Amateur Marriage. I love Anne Tyler: she’s one of those writers who is just so good she makes writing novels look easy, which it SO is not. Now I’m in the middle of Allison Smith’s memoir Name All the Animals which is really compelling. Other recent favorites: Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep and Meghan Daum’s The Quality of Life Report.

After I finish the Smith memoir, though, I have to turn to student papers and various school obligations again, only to emerge at the end of the semester with time, time, time. For all that chick lit and more. So…suggestions? I’m thinking I need to start a list, so I’ll be prepared. Oh, man, that sounded so school-ish. This is going to be a hard habit to break, I think…..

have a good day, everyone!