Sabbatical Productivity: July

Yesterday was officially the last day of my sabbatical, although classes do not begin until 24 August. I kept a list in my journal of the academic activities I engaged in during my seven-month break. This practice was partly for myself, so that I could make sure I was using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in July, generally in chronological order. The list is shorter than in any previous month because I spent almost all of my working time on a new writing project, so I worked on a smaller variety of things. I feel that I accomplished a decent amount, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Sent the call for papers for an anthology of writing about Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-editing to potential contributors.

3. Had a Zoom meeting with a colleague at another institution about a bibliographing project.

4. Submitted senryu to several journals. I haven’t heard back from some of them yet because the reading period is still open, but Failed Haiku took three poems for their August issue, which is here (my poems are on page 129).

5. Finished the introduction of my new book project, which is about the importance of literature in these terrible times. I’ve been feeling hopeless a lot this month because of the political situation and the way many people in the U.S. are not taking the pandemic seriously. I can either write with the hope that things will get better and that my writing might help this healing in some small way, or I can give up and be part of the problem. So I choose to write.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

2 thoughts on “Sabbatical Productivity: July

  1. I wonder if these lenticular approaches to writing are acquired through bunting against the pontoon, if one will, since I can’t bring myself to be productive even if I manufacture a productive state, you know?
    I light some cedar candles and put on Emily Remler or Joep Beving, meditate a bit, and then puff, nothing comes out. Yet sometimes I wake up at two a.m. and for entirely no reason I feel the urge to create a three-part composition with three hundred verses.

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