If you are a writer or artist, you know a lot about doubt and rejection. I know that I certainly do. I have had multiple experiences with such crippling doubt as a result of rejection or harsh feedback that I didn’t write for months. Considering that I’ve been “writing” in a journal or poems or short stories since I was 8, not writing for any amount of time says a lot about how I’m feeling about my work and myself.
Today, I received feedback on my thesis. Since I am an overachiever, it always takes me a while to process feedback, to see the strengths and then work through the weaknesses with a plan. Initially, I have tunnel vision on the weaknesses, which spirals into some negative self-worth or talent-doubting statements that then lead to a sleepless night (or many) of trying to change everything that was not successful. It helps to stagger situations in which I receive feedback with other affirming experiences. Happily, I did that today, because, after my first meeting with my chair, I know that I have a LOT more work to do.
After that meeting though, I had a Faculty Women’s Group meeting, then a Common Good and Community Engagement Working Group meeting (conference call) I took while driving and then while on BART, then a meeting with a student about his capstone project, then a board meeting, then BART to go back home, then picking up my husband from the station, and then checking in with him and finally doing my homework for my Contemporary Poetry class, which I missed today. By the time I got to looking at the thesis again, I could just say, “Well, I guess I have a lot of work to do during break. I do have that long train ride to Philly coming up.”
I also have enough distance to say, In the end, I take what works for me, explain what’s not clear about the project, drop the poems that don’t, and move on with support from a great chair.
After a long day and a little doubt, I went back to work on a poem that I want to bring to workshop tomorrow, which really is a tester and rough … but that’s what workshop is supposed to be. It’s not about being praised; it’s about growth. So is the thesis process.
Accomplished Tasks: review my agenda for TL 1; blog entry for mailing list; add two names to mailing list; print off poems for Wednesday; meet with R&T chair; teach Seminar; thesis initial meeting; co-host Faculty Women’s Group coffee; drive home and take BART to ARISE; give student feedback on her paper; meeting with a student to discuss capstone project; re-read the article for the discussion group
Still to do: start doing reading on student ethnography papers; the reading for my Seminar class (Reading Rites for 4 students); postcard for book; drop off donations; dry cleaning; apply for new passport; reprint poems for Wednesday since I made changes; Seminar Capstone Projects for the first half of my class of 20; write a student rec; review docs for MAIT 403 and do some thinking on some readings
Wednesday: print out the agenda for the Community Group; print out poems for Poetry Class; Community Group readings; SSTE meeting (last half hour); Poetry tutorial; lunch; MAIT 403 meeting; Read Seminar Papers; poetry class; Read more Seminar papers
Thursday: Prep for Seminar; Have sign ups for hours; Seminar; Office hours; Visiting Professor meeting for poetry; Finish the TL 1 paper review and review the agenda; Teach TL1 (4:30-6:15); head home by 6:30; prep my bag for upcoming poetry readings (20 copies of the new book, 10 copies of 1st book, remaining copies of 2nd book).
Friday: Doctor for my upper lumbar issues; Supervisor meeting on campus; doc to get an adult polio vaccine; read for seminar; Berkeley to hear “Found in Translation: A Reading of Sa’di by Mahmoud Rezvani”; prep for upcoming reading