I've been on non-teaching leave for eight months, traveling to southwest France and to the Big Island of Hawai'i. Writing my heart out. Return to the classroom is always a difficult transition, though I love my job. Return after eight months of pure poetry and eating Tuscan loaves with homemade brie, macadamia nut cream pie and passionfruit donuts--well, one needs strategies in order to not shoot self in head.
Here are some ways to ease back in:
10. Buy a small second hand table of good wood, and place on top of it a quick-water-heater and a basket with tea, good coffee, filters, and chocolate.
9. Buy more chocolate. Compete with yourself to get the best you can find. Give yourself the award for best peanut-butter-chocolate bar--and then eat it.
8. Get the paintings framed and switch out the ones in your office. (My new paintings go up next week: erupting volcano from Hawai'i done by Catherine Chen of San Francisco, Pele woodblock prints.)
7. Bring laptop to school and write on Red Room blog during spare minutes. Do social networking there, too. It's part of your job as a writer. Make no excuses!
6. Work on new children's book to keep writing alive when it's not possible to compose poetry. Use chants for transition sent to you by Cheryl Snell.
5. Invite Ecology colleague into poetry classroom and ask her to bring her ornamental tarantula. She will do so and students will freak out, then take pictures, then write about their mothers. Make more jokes in class. Collect jokes. Never mock the students, never.
4. Have good lunches with your grad students on off-teaching days. Good lunches mean Le Parigo downtown, wine. Or the new vegetarian restaurant. Or Sitar, the wonderful Indian buffet. Patronize the restaurants that give regularly to the charities you volunteer for.
3. Edit poems when you can't actually write new ones.
2. Use Agave Azul as your after school office and try every kind of tequila.
1. Practice performing your work, rant, rave, sing, dance, cheer, weep. Do a Crazy Dog Event. Howl. Act like Pele and overflow. Heat. Fire. Art.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.