4 January 2023

A white-painted concrete building is covered with tree-shadows from an adjacent maple. To the right is another leafless tree, backed by a bright winter sky.

I’d been feeling like not much had happened in the last few months of 2022, but it turns out I did a few things after all:

  • I got a Canada Council grant to work on an essay collection I’ve been dreaming up,
  • I taught creative writing for what will probably have been the last time (the short-term contract life is no life for me, I fear),
  • I took ASL 101 at the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for the Deaf and totally loved it,
  • I started a part-time job that I’m really enjoying,
  • I presented a paper at an international conference,
  • I finished drafting all but the conclusion chapter of my dissertation,
  • The Debt was awarded third place in the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry (the awards presentation is archived on YouTube, if you’re interested in such things), and
  • I had a poem published in the winter issue of Newfoundland Quarterly.

Not too bad, considering I’d been thinking of it as a bit of a wasted semester. I’m not sure why it felt like I hadn’t gotten up to much. Time is weird like that, I guess.

Now I’m recovering from an absolutely whomping flu that tried to ruin my Christmas holidays. We had to postpone our yearly Ney Year’s traditional activities and everything. Serious business, but I’m on the mend now, thank goodness.

While I’ve been laid up, I’ve been reading Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell, and it’s just superb — in fact, it’s exactly the sort of book I would have wanted to write if I’d ended up staying in 17th century studies instead of wandering off to wherever I am now. Just before that, I read Jessamyn Stanley’s Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance. Weirdly, the two books are thematically linked: both narratives track the spiritual trajectories of very human (flawed, distractible, irreverent, lusty, sometimes self-doubting) figures. I heartily recommend both titles.