Hail, Caledonia!

Welcome to Sabbatical 3, c. 2019. More important, welcome to the revival of the blog. (Apparently, I only blog on sabbatical.)

Sabbatical 2, c. 2012, otherwise known as the Dissertation/Greenport Sabbatical, was pretty well documented right here, and so the blog became part of the “scholarly project” of the sabbatical. Clever, no?

Sabbatical 1, c. 2005-06, the glorious European sabbatical, spanned two semesters. (There is something to be said for owning only enough stuff that you can put it all in storage for a mere $100 a month, and then live on half your salary, for the next 12 months. And then live with your mother for another two months while you wait to close on your new co-op, purchased, wisely, at the end of a full year at half-pay, and seconds, mere seconds! before the bottom fell out of the market. Hey, what’s $70,000, give or take? Who needs equity? But this is not the blog for financial…well, for anything financial. In fact, sabbaticals, for me, always precede 7 years of famine, during which I pay for said sabbatical. Literally. Figuratively. Really just literally. Hopefully not figuratively. Geez. Where was I?)

Right. Sabbatical 3. I am considering all of the summer of 2019 as part of my sabbatical, mostly because the specter of Paying-Back-The-Money-If-I-Don’t-Do-The-Work makes me start the work technically early. (See Sabbatical 2, wherein I wrote 100 pages in August. August!)

(Note: At least a few of my colleagues, who submitted amazing sabbatical proposals, were denied last year, and that is seriously unfair. And short-sighted on the part of the SCCC administration. Was this one of those money-saving things where we’re not allowed to buy any more pens but you can hire yet another Vice President of Something-to-Do-With-Assessment? Hmmm. It costs $25,000 to send a faculty member on sabbatical, roughly. Four or five classes taught by adjuncts who make very little money and get no benefits. And the benefit to the college? Textbooks, novels, collections of poetry and essays and short stories written and published, articles placed in refereed journals, research conducted, breakthroughs made, dissertations completed and defended, doctorates earned. Epiphanies! Faculty building their credentials in their fields. Major bragging rights for the college. Informed, active faculty members sharing their knowledge and experience with our students. You get it.)

Back to Sabbatical 3. I’m going to call this the Scottish/Canadian sabbatical. One of my cousins was under the impression that you have to travel on sabbatical. My fault. It turns out, I’m not very good at writing at my own desk, in the midst of my own life. During regular semesters I try to hide out in coffee shops or the library—anything to get me out of the house and out of the office—and write. But when I can go away, I’m gone. There is just so much brain-filling (Is that a thing?) when you travel. Even if you’re blocked on whatever piece is on top of your too-hard pile, there’s new stuff to write about. Museums unblock me. Concerts too. I have an embarrassing collection of programs from the weekly Sunday evening concerts at St. Giles in Edinburgh in 2005 and 2006, covered in notes for pieces I was writing. Whatever I was stuck on came unstuck listening to music I know nothing about, and sometimes don’t even enjoy. (Mostly I enjoyed it.)

I’ve been in the UK for a week now. I spent a few days in London (well documented on Insta), a day in Oxford (two-hour walking tour in the pouring rain, but still cool—I mean, the Bodleian) and now I’m in Edinburgh. Well, North Berwick.

North Berwick is this beautiful little seaside town that is a quick train ride to Waverley Station in the middle of Edinburgh. Hoping on the train most mornings makes me feel like a commuter. Like a real-life Scottish person.

And on the walk home from the train station, I stop and look at all the real estate listings in the window of the real estate office.

At the end of my month in Scotland, I’m going to Ireland, partly for a writing retreat, but also to see the Giants Causeway, because I’ve been looking at a poster of Joseph Beuys at the Giants Causeway over my desk since sometime in college. More on Beuys later.

In fact, more on everything later. It’s late. The sun stays out here forever (seriously, it’s 9:45 pm, and still light out) and I therefore have no idea what time it is, ever. (Add to that this whole military time thing. I shouldn’t have to do math to know what time it is. And now, I’ve put my phone on military time, and time has lost all meaning.) All of a sudden it’s midnight, or, zero, as my phone says, and I think it’s only 8 pm. But the views…long sunsets over the Firth of Forth. Amazing. I am so retiring here. (The math will keep my mind sharp when I’m old.) And I am so running down to the beach right now to watch the rest of the sunset. At nearly 10 pm. Crazy. Photos to follow. (Did I mention the sun comes up at about 3:30 am? Blackout shades. Best thing ever.)

Oh, and I’m writing! A lot! Yay! (And that’s my personal allotment of exclamation points.)

Next time: The strange and bizarre British phenomenon that is Embarrassing Bodies. I’ll leave that to your imagination for a little bit.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: