Yes, I have been away for a long time.
No, I haven’t been gallivanting and blowing my inheritance on cheap booze, men, and gambling, though I do return repentant and ready to settle down and take on my responsibilities.
It appears that December and January are not good writing months for me. Semester adjustments are always time-consuming, but the winter transition is particularly thorny. After the insanity of final grades and holiday time has subsided, my brain shuts down. Because the winter interim between semesters is quite short, I barely have time to catch my breath before school starts again. Then the dust settles and I can start thinking clearly enough to resume writing.
This semester, there were a couple of new factors to contend with. They aren’t bad developments, but as psychologists love to tell us, even positive changes can cause stress, which then triggers coping behaviors. For me, that means I’ve needed to just put my head down and plough through the work until it’s safe to run on autopilot for a while.
The first issue has been my schedule. It’s true that I’m very accustomed to my schedule changing about every four months, but this Spring, I’ve got evening and Saturday classes – a schedule I haven’t had for about 5 years. It’s not a bad schedule and I’ve got really great students in those classes, but I’ve had daytime weekday classes for so long that it’s throwing me off balance just a little bit. (Of course, as soon as I get used to it, the semester will be over, right?)
In addition, there’s another situation that hasn’t been true for a long time: I am a student again.
As a newly-minted Senior Adjunct, I am entitled to, among other things, up to eight free credits taken at my school. For a person who has always loved school, this benefit is nearly impossible to resist, and so I registered for my first real college-credit class in 15 years: Introduction to Paralegal Studies.
I am awaiting the grade for my first paper.
(I’m a little nervous. I really want an A.)
There are a lot of reasons why I am taking this particular class, even before taking the Photography class that I’ve been lusting after for the past several years, but which will have to wait until summer. For now, I’ll just say that I’m testing some waters to see if I want to swim. It also occurs to me that my life may very well be centered around the letter L: Leonore’s observations on language and linguistics, literature, and now law.
So, what’s on deck for the next few months? What’s in my head, waiting to get out?
I’ve got a whole list of articles that have sparked my interest over the past few weeks, the most interesting of which are about Noam Chomsky, Twitter lingo, the origins of language, world English, and language preservation. This being an election year, and given my recent forays into the study of law, I imagine that political language is going to be a topic of interest to me as well. I’m going to have to brush up on my George Lakoff!
I also started researching Jamaican Creole after trying to place Caribbean students into a developmental writing class. Is the creole close enough to English to consider them native speakers, or is it far enough that they are better served in ESL classrooms? I hope that I will be able to share some new insights I may gain on the subject.
And finally, an unlikely source of inspiration: while watching the episode on Power Metal on VH1’s program, Metal Evolution, I can’t help but wonder why it is that Scandinavians are so stinking good at English.
I’ve also been worried about being a one-trick pony by focusing so much of my energy solely on language-related issues. It’s true that language is really my first and life-long love, but I’d like to fancy myself an essayist, an observer of many different elements of life, not just language. To that end, I’m also working on a new project to accommodate some of my other interests in writing that don’t really fit under the auspices of As a Linguist. It will, among other things, absorb my neglected photo blog. More details will be forthcoming.
Dearest readers, if you’ve stuck around through my unannounced and unintended hiatus, I thank you sincerely! I look forward to diving back into the blogging fray and getting reacquainted with all of you and maybe even see some new faces in 2012.