Auf Wiedersehen, 2012

Hello, friends and readers!

I’ve returned from the holidays a little stronger, a little more tired, and ready to spend the rest of my break alternating between resting up/resetting my brain for the new semester and clearing my desk of those projects that have backlogged in my finals-induced ignoring of all things not papers.

At this time of year, it is really easy to be utterly and completely fooled into thinking that you’re in the middle of the deep, dark jungle with no light at the end of your tunnel.  This is not really anywhere different than you were last year (because, well, last year you were also in a deep, dark jungle with little light to be seen).  You’ve just put a bunch of projects to bed.  A new semester is dawning.  The cycle of stress and woe threatens to start all over again with little you can do about it.

So it’s important to take time to recognize where you have gone between this jungle and that jungle.  In that light, it’s time for a recap.  As I cast my mind over the last year, I realize that it’s been an extremely productive one for my professional life.  I can only hope that I will do even better this year.

Things I did in 2012:

2012-12-23 17.23.39Created my first acting edition of a show (Measure for Measure) and began dramaturging my first project (I can’t say that I “dramaturged” it yet because the show doesn’t go up until February).

Began to learn to read German.

Completed a year of coursework for my PhD.

Wrote five academic papers (approx. 105 pages of writing).

Gave five in-class presentations ranging in time from twenty to forty five minutes on topics which spanned the breadth from Intellectual Property and the History of Magic to David Garrick, Patent Law, and eighteenth century editions of Shakespeare.

Attended and presented at three academic conferences, including my first ASTR.

Blogged faithfully.

Broke my retirement to play a dream role; one I never though I would have the chance to play.

Lost 26 pounds (maybe not a professional achievement, but darn it one that I’m going to put up here anyway).

TAed my first (and second) class… both in one semester.

 Became Chair of the Web Committee for the American Society of Theatre Research’s Graduate Student Caucus.

Successfully got Offensive Shadows up and running and, thereby, am officially a co-host of my own podcast.

Published my first book review; my first piece of “real” academic publishing.

Taught myself to play the ukulele (extremely important for Professors-to-be…. I

Belle playing the uke?  Another picture that proves I'm doing it right.

Belle playing the uke? Another picture that proves I’m doing it right.

alternate between shame and pride in saying, with utmost truth, that I taught myself to play while avoiding studying my German).

Didn’t move a single time (this is HUGE for me).

Read more books than I care to relate, saw more plays that I dreamed of seeing, and can honestly say that I put blood, sweat, and tears into my degree.

…pretty good for a single year if you ask me.

Here’s looking forward to a new year, more exciting projects, and the next step of the journey.

Happy New Years, faithful reader!

Thoughts on the New Year

Good evening good friends!

I’m breaking the radio silence this evening to bring you greetings from sunny Orlando.  I have a great deal to say about what’s been going on down here, but frankly the much-needed break has been so good for my semester-addled brain that I’m having trouble convincing myself that breaking the sanctity of “vacation” is worth the amusing blogal anecdotes.  Don’t worry, I’ll get around to describing my antics at some point, but for now, I’m going to rest up, spend some time with my family, and forget that I’m an educated person.

I’ve read four books since the end of the semester, all of my own choosing, and I started on a fifth this morning.  None of them have anything to do with theatre, Shakespeare, or my comps list.  This, if anything, means “vacation” to me.

I wanted to take a moment at the dawning of a new year to reflect on how far the past 365 days have taken me.  Last year at this time I was just finishing up my PhD applications, struggling to steel myself for the final semester of my MA, teaching ballroom dance in New Jersey, karaoking several times a week for lack of anything else to do with my time, and in utter and complete life limbo as I couldn’t plan anything until I heard back from my programs.  Though I knew my life was about to change drastically, there was no way I could have any inkling as to how and where those changes might lead me.

This next year, I have a much better idea of the trajectory of the next twelve months.  That being said, the past year has been a reminder that even when one has plans, one still needs to allot for drastic change in them.  As much as has happened in the past year (and more!) could happen in the next year.  The illusion of consistency (the hobgoblin of little minds) is limiting at best and devastatingly crippling at worst.

I do have some plans for the next year.  I have at least one conference lined up, my first ever academic publication forthcoming, and another year of coursework ahead of me.  I will be learning another language over the summer to fulfill degree requirements.  I will be ramping up for Comps.  Next fall, I will be teaching at least one class.

I’ve never taken much stock in New Years’ resolutions.  To me, they mostly wind up being over-rated hype that more quickly turn into empty words than fulfilling promises.  Then, at the turning of 2006 into 2007, I realized my problem.

Start small.  That year, I resolved to finally finish reading Pride and Prejudice.  It worked.

This year, I’m resolving to memorize a better toast for next year.  Inevitably people look at me at midnight and expect something witty or wise or funny or some combination of the above… inevitably I come up short (either because I’ve had a few too many glasses of champagne or because I’m tired).  Somehow people are aghast and agog that the Shakespeare scholar can’t think of a single set of sage words to ring us into the next year.

Next year, I won’t be stuck fumbling around for such things.  For now, though, you’ll have to count yourself satisfied with this:

What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

Have a happy, safe, healthful, fulfilling new year folks!  I’m going to go bury my head in the sand for another week.  I’ll catch you back in Boston!