Today was the end goal: tomorrow, Niece #3 leaves for home and I leave for my conference.
The two presentations are in some semblance of order. I can’t say “done” because just having material on slides doesn’t equate to being ready to stand in front of people and not be an idiot. But at least I have an outline. The draft of the grant application is finished, so I was able to send it off to my references to give them time to write my letters. When I get back from the conference, I can polish and complete the supplementary materials.
My sister and brother-in-law arrive tomorrow morning, bright and early, to take N#3 and me to breakfast before we go our separate ways. I took one for the team tonight when I told my sister N#3 wasn’t too keen on having her stay with us tonight. I didn’t ask her why, I just asked if she wanted Mom and Dad to stay here; she make a scrunchy face before saying “not really” so I politely passed that along. I certainly didn’t mind having one last night with her, and – although I didn’t think of it at the time – I needed the quiet to finish my writing and pack for the conference. So, even though there were hurt feelings, it was the right call.
My humor for the day was going to campus to speak to a graduate student group about writing productivity. It was informal, just a few professors sharing what works for them with people who think they can’t possible do more than they do now (as I politely told them today: hah!). I sat and listened to all sorts of good things other people do – specific hours to write, requiring certain amounts of writing every day, joining a writing group, having an accountability partner – and then explained how I did none of that. Maybe part of me wanted to be contrary; they made it seem so…systematized, as if there were certain things that would definitely result in success. I think writing is messy and difficult and individualized and it seems more honest to say that than to offer specific processes as if they work for everyone (not that my colleagues were doing that, really, but they just seemed so…sure). So, I led with how I tried many different things while I was in grad school but, at the end of the day, I still ended up flat on my back on the living room floor with a bag of M&Ms on my chest. Then I explained a few things that do work for me – obviously, I have some sort of process because I do get things accomplished – with as much humor and practical advice as I could manage. They scribbled a few things down; I got a few laughs; and then I ran for the hills so I could, indeed, write.
And now, I’m going to eat a slice of delicious pie I bought at the farmers market yesterday, because tomorrow I’m off to a conference that will be both wonderful and incredibly stressful.