A couple years ago, I blogged about the phenomenon of "octobering," that crush of work that hits the second full month of the new fall term, and includes all manner of the kind of labor we do in this profession: writing rec letters for job marketing grad students; attending can't-miss talks; preparing for conferences; going to meetings about everything; more letter writing. Oh! And teaching happens somewhere in there usually.
I've noted this to other people, and others have noted it as well, but this year there seems to be considerable October creep. For starters, deadlines for job recs are inching up earlier and earlier, probably because folks lucky enough to have lines want to get the ball rolling before higher-ups change their minds, and also they are seeking a competitive edge over the other two or three schools with lines. True, a lot of this work could spill into October, but I have such an insane travel schedule in October (trying to pack it all in before traveling becomes difficult, flying impossible) that I'm having to frontload some of the work before the end of this month, and thus Octobering has come to be something more like "fall"ing.
The new liberal arts course I'm directing comes with a ton of meetings, and though I'm grateful that it takes a village for this kind of thing, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to schedule the work that should follow these meetings, all the while composing two talks for mid-October--one I found myself structuring, I kid you not, while I slept last night--and helping my advisees make it to their dissertation defenses this semester (both of which require me to travel back to Champaign-Urbana). All told, between now and December I will make a total of four trips back to the midwest (including NCA's Chicago and a Minneapolis/Madison trek in mid Oct.--I'm ever grateful to M-city hosts for helping me combine those). I won't even be home for my favorite holiday--halloween--so those little Kiss costumes I was hoping to create (Tillie as Gene Simmons and Jada as Paul Stanley) are unfortunately going to have to wait until next year. Of course I'm not alone in my busy-ness, and knowing that actually weirdly helps.
Even so, at 6:30 this evening I fell into a deep, twitchy sleep while watching "Flight of the Conchords," waking up when JM started giggling at some crazy dance Brett was doing. I pulled myself out of my grog so that we could walk the dogs and clean up from dinner. There was just enough energy to answer some emails about courses for 2010-2011 (!) and write this blog entry, and very soon I'll be heading to bed.