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Hot On My Heels

  The school year is hot on my heels and, in one short day, shall overtake me. I, for one, could not be more excited. I thoroughly love my job at the University; it’s seldom that you can do what you love and be paid for it. Teaching isn’t just something I do because I can’t think of anything better to do with my time. It’s something that I feel comfortable in saying I’m pretty good at and I have a lot of fun doing at the same time.

  The only potential problem with this is that I’m heading into my final year as a graduate student. I have nine months to write and defend a thesis – if all goes well, I should already have a pretty big head start on it. As with all important things, though, I have to prepare for contingencies. Perhaps my proposal will be shot down. Perhaps I can’t make my material work in a way that engages an audience in an academic and practical way. Or, perhaps worst of all, I just can’t make a convincing argument. I know what I know, but can I prove that you should know it, too? I think it’s all a symptom of that existential academic dread that plagues a lot of us to some extent, that lingering fear of what the future does and does not bring.

  But you didn’t come here to be bored by talk of this stuff. You came here to be bored by prattling nonsense about relationships, reviews of disappointing movies, video games I like and really hate, and stories about super heroes punching each other. I think what I want to talk about is how this website is going to respond to my increased workload for the next several months. It will be as absolutely thrilling as it sounds.

  I started this website about three months ago with the general idea of working towards putting my name out there as an author. I have updated twice a week: once on Monday, and once on Friday. Mondays were the days that I dedicate to my blog posts. Fridays are where I stick updates on specific projects I’ve done. This started as several chapters of Project Northwoods, but has swelled to include my foray into horror-themed stageplays with Otherworld and its sequel.

  The updates thus far have been pretty reliable. With school starting and the invariable contraction of free time, however, I don’t know if I will be able to continue on with the same general frequency as before. My projects will probably now enter into a cycle – returning to individual chapters of Northwoods before moving through the Otherworld canon and repeating. I have quite a few other scripts I intend to put up at some point, but they need to be copyrighted first. And although the cost isn’t too great, every dollar is important at this point in time.

  As for the already posted content in the projects section, I wouldn’t count on anything major to change. At some point, I will be going over the final revisions my copy-editor suggested, which means that I will be swapping out the old, outdated chapters with sparkling new versions. This is a lot more annoying that it actually sounds: since I use Adobe Flash as the medium for Northwoods et. al, there’s some rather annoying traits with the process that I’ve been trying to puzzle through. For instance, it’d be great to simply copy and paste text and not have to go through and re-italicize words and phrases. And not having to go line-by-line to make sure certain text is in the proper font would be really swell. It’d also be dandy to get In Design to not have a minor heart attack when I try to put images in it. Long story short, you won’t be missing anything if you don’t read the updated stuff. The means may change, but the result will be much the same.

  In terms of the blog, it would be ideal if I could continue posting at a rate of an update a week. This website has actually been really good for me, as it lets me flex my writing muscles in ways that I’m not altogether familiar with. It’s been the closest to a journal that I’ve ever really had – or, rather, it’s the closest to a journal I’ve actually been successful at maintaining. In any case, even if it’s a bit ranty or silly or just plain irrelevant to anyone everywhere, I still have fun writing it. I’m hoping it’ll be an outlet of creative juices when I will be tasked with a touch more serious matters during the school year.

  It’ll be tough, however. Trying to come up something to write about can sometimes be remarkably difficult. Sure, there’s the “easy” topics, topics that are designed to produce the most amount of writing with the minimum amount of effort. Take politics for instance. I could write pages on my political opinions week after week. But would it really do anything? Would it entertain? Provoke a thought? Or would it just make people nod their head in agreement or roll their eyes and ignore it?

  See, that’s the problem with the stuff that’s easy to write. Yeah, it all comes naturally and you can just vomit out large tracts of it in one sitting. And it could be some of the most well-thought out arguments you or anyone else has ever made. But at the end of the day, you’re just one person writing their opinion about stuff people have largely made up their minds about. And those that disagree with you are a lot less likely to, say, read an awesome book that you wrote which consists largely of battle sequences between people of supernatural abilities.

  It may sound a little callous to say something like that, but I have plenty of time to accidentally insult people in the future. I’d rather not do it before they even give me a chance.

  In short, I don’t want to write something that’s going to alienate a good portion of the population because my opinions don’t jibe with theirs. Now, I’ve written some contentious stuff in the past, but I feel those posts are alright based chiefly on the fact that if you don’t agree with me there, you’re an asshole and that’s an irreconcilable difference between us. But I don’t want to go picking a fight on things like politics and religion because it’s just too much damn hassle.

  Couple that thought with an increase of reading material, more responsibility at my gig at the Writing Center, prepping to lead discussion sections, and grading, what I have is an awful lot of stuff going on at once. And if it comes down to it, my weekly posting will be the first thing to be ignored in favor of other obligations.

  This also means work I do for other websites. I mean, where else would the illustrious Twenty Four Pages Per Second get their sarcasm-laden reviews? I mean, aside from my female clone Heidi or ladyfriend Ashlie?

  Oh. Huh.

  This post is a little on the shorter side, but there’s not that much to say. I’ve been spending the last week running around on campus, assisting with new tutor training and orientation, welcoming some transfer students to the University, and working on my thesis prospectus. The final, copy-edited manuscript of Northwoods is sitting on my ottoman next to Jinn Nelson’s book Fear the Hunted. A book, I should add, I still need to finish. A manuscript, I should add, that I need to go through and finalize so I can prepare for the first major steps of publication. As if that wasn’t already haunting me, then there’s also a conference I’m scheduled to go to in a couple of months that I have yet to do any substantial work for.

  And all this on top of the fact that, as much as I love my jobs, I will almost certainly need to find new ones in nine months. I simply can’t stay a TA forever, and once I’m out of school, the Writing Center can no longer employ me. I’ll probably have to go to a new university to pursue my doctorate, and that’s only if they’ll take me. And that’s, of course, if I’m even able to successfully defend my thesis - which is contingent on writing the thing in the first place. Of course, if I do end up going to another university, that means we’ll have to move, because lord knows that’s just an easy snap of our fingers. And super cost-efficient, too!

  Then there’s the fact that sometimes I feel like I’m endlessly updating my website and no one can hear it or, worse yet, they don’t care. And my endless optimism is starting to get wearing as I continue to watch old friends pass by uncommenting on both my major and minor triumphs and apparently devoid of emotion as this pitiful wretch of an academic continues to fritter away hours typing away while his ladyfriend sleeps in the other room because he has a self-imposed schedule of posting pointless and unread diatribes on the infinite terabytes that are the internet that will go largely unread except for the occasional person looking up “1950's Shorts” at 4 a.m. who then goes on to remember absolutely nothing from my site other than the desperate ramblings of a madman who may or may not produce something of academic or entertainment merit before the universe dies a cold and prolonged death as every last bit of light is extinguished over the ever-expanding void, rending it all moot.

  Existential dread, indeed.

  But, to reiterate, school starts tomorrow and that’s awesome.

Purchase Project Northwoods at Amazon.com.   Purchase Washed Hands at Amazon.com   Purchase Improbables at Amazon.com.


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