An odd title, perhaps - but bear with me.
It's been a rather frantic time in the Nest. It's that time in the semester when students have realized that it's time to get real or get gone, and (for some) it's a tough choice. I'm behind on grading (and finding a surprising amount of truth in the application of Kubler-Ross's stages to the process), although it's not as bad as it was about a week ago. Like most instructors I know, I try hard to get things back to students within a week or a week and a half at the outside - but sometimes that's just not going to happen. Students are understanding, but I still don't like it and often run myself down telling myself that I ought to be more efficient, work harder, take more stuff home, and in general, be the Grade-A-Matic Mark 2.4.
But I know that we work to have meaningful lives outside of work. (OK, I want to have meaning inside work as well, but stick with me here.) I have my family, my Nest, my friends, my writing, etc., etc. and those relationships and activities require time, energy, and attention as well as the stuff I do for a paycheck. It's all about distinguishing your real Work from your employment-work and it can be a tough, tough balance. Sort of like juggling with monkeys - those suckers cling, which makes tossing them in the air whilst simultaneously catching the ones coming down a mite difficult. (Don't ask how I know. Besides, I hear there's a place where the chief form of entertainment is juggling goslings. Now that's weird, although some people find in the phrase a richness of philosophy.) Sometimes in this life, you just have to pull hard and toss, doing the best you can with the resulting simian rain. (Bribing them with bananas can help, but that takes another hand and you're already using both, so it's at best a partial solution.)
At any rate, I put the grading aside for two events this weekend. The first was attending Day One of the 2010 Browncoat Ball where I had been asked to put together (and be part of) an author panel. It was great fun - you can read more about it over on the Whedon-centric blog, linked here.
I didn't stay for the whole event - I'm sure the shindig is a fabulous thing and that I'd have enjoyed it immensely - but I had a Halloween party for four little girls to help carry out. And who else is going to teach these young ladies the importance of holding your mouth so that your candy corn fangs don't tumble out? It's not the job of the schools and it has to be done. I take my responsibilities to the youth of American very seriously, thank you.
And my goddaughter won't be seven for long. When she gets older, I doubt she'll care that I had a book-signing this weekend, but I hope she'll remember that I was there acting the fool for her party.
Those papers? They'll get done. And they'll probably get done faster if I stop confusing my work with my Work.