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November 1, 2013: The Teaching-Writing Life

Geez Louise. I spent most of today working on my application letter to Whitman College. They asked for a cover letter, an academic agenda, a teaching interest statement, a vita, and a list of three references. I had this information on hand, in bits and pieces, but it took a while to get it all together. Plus, the letter and statements had to be specific to this particular job.

I worked hard on filling in the blanks because this is my supposed dream job. I’ve wanted a tenure track position teaching undergraduate creative writing and creative writing courses for about as long as I’ve wanted a border collie. I now have the border collie, which I always presumed was an impossibility. How

much harder can it be to get the job? Well, there were not three hundred people vying for the dog, though there may be this many vying for the job.

I haven’t taught in ten years. However, my age is what actually might count in my favor. I’m more well read, and I have published more than the other thirty somethings who might be applying for this job. I also have had more time to think about what I’ve read. These things could actually work to my advantage.

So dog running, dog training, and horseback riding take a backseat to working on this application. For sure, it’s a juggling act around here. So the animal balls stayed up in the air today.

I did get out and tend to the goats and horses. The horses are bored. In my absence they found a large piece of particle board and chewed it up. One amongst them reached under the hay closet door and pulled it out. I’d have said that Mr. Siggi did this, but Mr. Siggi is no longer with us. So maybe Raudi pulled the board out, and she and one of the others pulled it apart and began eating it.

All the while, I was inside, constructing a memoir of sorts, one that in part tells the story of my work life, as it has taken place over the past ten years. I had to go into my filing cabinets and dig out old teaching evaluations. I found some good ones. Sometimes it pays to not throw what seems like trivial paperwork away.

The filing cabinets are in my broad cave, woman cave, grrrrrrl cave, whatever you want to call it. Oddly enough, the variations here don’t resonate the way man cave does. Why is this? Maybe it’s because women don’t generally have places to retreat to that are private and filled with junk. They also don’t have clubhouses, which are also a male domain. We instead have kitchens, which while they are ours, are occupied by all members of the household.

Heck, even Pete has a man cave. His is what I call the black hole because I can’t ever find the very thing in there that I’m looking for. However, I can usually find other things that I’m not looking for. Like most man caves, Pete’s is uninviting. The central item in Pete’s man cave is the shop vac. Unfortunately, all the stuff that should be in the vacuum is on the floor. For instance, there are lots of little pieces of particle board, Styrofoam bitties, and metal parts, drill bit tips included. Conversely, my writing cabin is filled with books, magazines, and personal memorabilia, i.e. toys, posters, and notebooks.

Today, Pete (who like me has his own inside workspace) helped me get the job application process done, by making content-related suggestions and proofreading. I was, as he was doing this, writing down a list of additional publications on a print copy of my vita.

It attests to the fact that our internal clocks are working well in that we got the job done late yesterday afternoon—the deadline. We didn’t at all seem rushed or tense. Of course, it would have been nice to have another day to work on this. But that’s never the case. I now understand the meaning of the phrase time waits for no one.

Next: 220: 11/2/13: Efficiency