Filling the Cup

A new academic year is upon us, and as I contemplate all of the tasks I’ll need to juggle this year, I find myself wanting to call it quits and spend the year doing creative things.

But obligations and passions aren’t mutually exclusive pursuits, and I’m reminding myself that there are ways to “fill the cup,” to do what makes me feel alive and creative and passionate, throughout the year rather than just “when I have time.”

In fact, sometimes obligation and passion intersect or overlap in interesting ways.

For example, while I spent the summer prepping for some tough exams, reading 18 and 19th century novels and theory about intertextuality and adaptation, I found myself thinking very productively about the ways in which creative writers like myself adapt reality into a narratively successful structure, channeling “truth”through “lies” and vice versa.    

As a creative writer, almost everything I do can become fodder for creativity, I just have to remember that, and give myself time and space to explore all the possibilities.

Practically speaking, this means not being completely caught up in one pursuit (research and grading and teaching for example) to the exclusion of other things, like enjoying the weather and scenery, or listening to music I enjoy, or cooking food I don’t normally cook. And, of course, writing things other than term papers–even if it’s just a paragraph here and there.

  (Posing with sci-if and fantasy grandmaster Jack Williamson at my alma mater this summer.)

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