Plan B in Two Parts

Part 1

I had so hoped to be able to announce here the good news that Paul and I were both awarded 2-week residencies this summer to work on our projects. Or at least that one of us had. But alas. Rejections all around. I knew that the probability was low given how competitive these places are, especially in the summer months. But still, we were really hoping.

So now we move to Plan B. We had agreed that if this didn’t pan out, we’d find some other way to get a week-long solitary retreat for each of us. But now things get tricky because where can we do that? Where can we AFFORD to do that?  The PA State Parks system has lots of rustic cabins, so I suppose that’s a possibility. (Don’t know how “rustic” I am, though.) Maybe a colleague will need some housesitting? For Paul, maybe a retreat to a Zen monastery. It’s not the same as being in a lush setting where someone else is cooking delicious food for you while you work, but something will work out. It must because I must finish this book, the memoir. Because if I don’t, I will never leave Penn State.  Or at least, I will never be able to leave for another job in academia.

I know that sounds panicky and dire, but it’s been a panicky and dire sort of week. (months, really) Ugly things afoot in my department that I don’t feel the need to outline here, but more and more, forces seem to be tapping me on the shoulder, saying, “That’s enough. It’s time to go.”

***

Part 2

I left this post unpublished because I didn’t feel like I had finished it somehow, and then over the last week, two things have happened that respond directly to what I wrote above:

1. A wonderful colleague of mine, after reading my lament  about losing the summer residency on Facebook, has offered me and Paul her house while she and her family are on vacation this summer! So it looks like we will be getting some uninterrupted time to work! And while it doesn’t come with a personal chef, it is right down the street from the Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks, which is delightful.  Thank you, thank you!

2. I found out today that one of the jobs I applied for–a tenure-track position teaching composition and creative writing–wants me to do a phone interview next Friday!

And yes. Yes, I am very nervous. But I’ll spend the week preparing and then we’ll see what happens. Either way, at least I know I have a job here next year if I want it.

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