Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Retreat - Lots of Work, Little Writing

God was willing, so here I am having a literal mountain top experience at the Franciscan Serra Retreat Center. So far I have walked the Labyrinth and the stations of the cross, attended a lecture on global warming's implications for national security, and gotten to know my colleagues better. All very edifying, not to mention fun.

What I have not done is write much. This is partly due to circumstances from last week. My brilliant plan was to compile the research for my article the week before the retreat and then spend the retreat pounding out the actual first draft. Instead, I spent last week contemplating the relationship of law, justice and Ciceronian rhetoric as Juror #11 in a criminal case. (More on that later.)

The other reason I haven't written much is that I'm tired. I've taken two hour naps both yesterday and today. Apparently, I can't wait until I'm dead to sleep. Some of it has to happen now.

So tomorrow, I face a choice. Continue working on the article OR set it aside and work on my fiction for the next two days. On the one hand, I haven't done any scholarship for months and I miss it. I miss the intellectual wrestling match, the assemblage of reason and academic language that goes into an article, not to mention the meticulous documenting of evidence to build a persuasive case. Furthermore (see, I just can't resist academese sometimes) I'm neck deep in this article and it has to be finished sometime. It is my job, after all.

But I also miss the rapid fire outpouring of fiction, when my imagined world runs through me, so that I inhabit two worlds at once, the real and the fictional.  In one, I'm just a sedentary little woman sitting cross-legged in a straight-backed chair, her hair in a bun. In another, I am a berserker tracking ice demons through the gullies of upper state New York. I'm a red skinned lizard woman herding 20 little hatchlings on a field trip to her planet's surface. I'm the Queen of the Summer Court, plotting my rival's downfall.

Ah, choices.

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