I am someone who likes order: I love “to do” lists and crossing things off of them, I like looking at my ical and seeing my day planned for me (in various colors coordinating to categories of tasks), and my syllabi are works of organizational genius. I like pattern and routine for these are stabilizing things. (Don’t mock me – this is how I cope).
I also like planning and test runs of things. This week is a test week of the term ahead. Yes, I know that sounds like a silly thing, but I don’t enjoy being three weeks into the term and feeling like still don’t quite have my feet under me yet. So I am working out what this fall quarter’s routine will be like: gym, teaching, tutoring, meetings, and writing, writing, writing, and oh yeah, did I mention WRITING!
The gym is an easy one and I am already back into the timing of that. Everything is set for the class I will be teaching and I am comfortable with the time of day and the room in which I will be instructing (lets just say I will do everything in my power in the future to avoid teaching a 3:30pm or 5:30pm section in a room the size of a shoe box!). The writing center schedule will get worked out over the next week or so. And many of my routine meetings are already set. The writing thing, however, remains the issue.
Truthfully the writing itself is not so much the issue (at this moment. Trust me, i am sure it will be in the future), but the location in which said writing will be taking place is still up in the air.
I go back and forth on the whole writing at home thing. Let me first state that I don’t have a designated study in the home and so my bedroom doubles as my work area. I am sure this is probably bad for my psyche in many ways (the giant 10′x7′ book shelf opposite my bed full of all the shit I need to read), but dude, no one pays me anywhere near enough to afford a delux two bedroom apartment all for my little self and my millions of books right now. But there are many pros to working at home – access to all of my books, access to the fridge so I do not have to pack and carry a lunch and a million snacks with me in addition to all the books to the library, my own bathroom, and the opportunity to write in a pair of jeans and a bra if I so choose (I think the library staff frowns upon such things). The down side does happen to be all of the other stuff I could be doing when at home which sometimes leads to distraction, like vacuuming, laundry, dealing with phone calls that can only reasonably be made during business hours, etc.
On the other hand, I LOVE libraries. I am not 100% certain if I yet love our new library. But I LOVE working in libraries. I am still iffy about this library because I have not found my spot yet. You know, that spot in which you must sit, for it is quiet and perfect and leads to great productivity. Well, I’ve not discovered it yet. I thought I had it until last weekend. I was in the library on Saturday working away and all the football fans kept coming in and out of the library, in and out, and talking REALLY LOUDLY like they had never seen a library before. And then there was a friggin’ pre-football party held in the library complete with the Marching Band. Yes, the band marched and played through the library (!!!) A marching band is not conducive to working on my dissertation!
In addition to not being able to shout, “Hey, do you think you could keep that tuba down!!!!!” there are some other draw backs to the library as a primary work space. First, it is a pain in the ass to transport books with me each day because the bag gets heavy as I bike up to the library, and invariably I have left some book that would be most useful at home or some scrap of paper with some note on it on my desk. Second, there is that whole having to wear pants while writing in library. I mean, really, come on now, how boring of you. Third, safety. I know that this is not the most polite thing to write, but I think it is true for most all of us at a large school – the anonymity granted by the massiveness of this place breeds a certain amount of unfamiliarity and distrust. What I mean is that when I want to go to the bathroom, I don’t want to have to pack up all of my books, my computer, my bag and my lunch for the two minute trip to the bathroom only to return to set everything up again. Every now and again I do prevail upon the kindness of strangers and ask someone sitting near by if he or she would mind watching my stuff, and most people are kind and do so, but it still leaves me feeling uneasy — not because the person I have asked seems to be shady, but because anything could happen and I would never hold that other person liable or expect someone to bodily defend my copy of Discipline and Punish or the pencil case I have had since middle school.
So for now the jury is still out on where the ultimate writing spot shall be. And I shall continue to long for and office or study to call my very own (while I write this post from my bed).