The spaces between

Gosh, I’m kinda tired. This makes sense, if I sit down and think about all of the things I’ve been up to lately. We had a lovely set of two vacation/work trips to the Twin Cities area, and saw lots of friends, ate all the food, went to a Rembrandt exhibit, petted kitties, drove, conventioned, grieved, laughed, danced, and so much more. It was  a good set of visits. Very good indeed. Not long enough, but then, it never is, is it?

We’re slowly easing our way back into reality, and I’m sitting down and trying to figure out what the New Normal looks like. This has been (and will continue to be) a year of transitions. We’re transitioning Caitlin to a different model of care and therapies, which takes some adjusting on all of our parts. We’re hoping that one of Michael’s transitions will be the publication of one of his stories (he’s continuing to actively send out stories to markets).

And I’m transitioning to a new model at work, too. Work for me is slowing down, some, in the sense that I’m now focusing on a couple of large projects, rather than a slew of small ones. The grant, specifically, which is designated to eat 35% of my time, along with finishing up the transition to our new archival management system. I need to work some more on the WorldCon exhibit that will be going live for the convention itself.

…And  I submit my tenure portfolio by the end of August.

I’ve talked before earlier in my time here about not feeling like I knew what I was doing, or not feeling like a “real” curator. In fact, assembling my portfolio is kind of daunting, because it is a body of work that proves that I am indeed a “real” curator. One with faults and gaps as I am indeed human, but a real one, nonetheless.

Somehow, I mostly figured it out. Enough, anyway, to keep things moving and growing and mostly in control. (I don’t think it’s actually possible to control EVERYTHING.)

I’m not nervous about the work that I’ve done, the articles and books I’ve written or edited, the talks I’ve given. That *is* in my control, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.

What makes me nervous is the assembling of the packet, which needs to be in a prescribed order, in a very specific way. I have lovely colleagues who are willing to look it over when I’m done and before I submit it, but I think what bothers me is the possibility of losing “points” of some sort in my file due to something as arbitrary as not having nice enough photocopies, for instance. (I spent 45 minutes arguing with one of the library’s photocopiers today. Can you tell?)

Mostly, I’m at the point where I just WANT TO BE DONE AND HAVE IT SUBMITTED and sit in a corner and just KNIT ALL THE THINGS while I wait for the verdict. So I’m having to balance getting it DONE DONE DONE and doing it RIGHT. Which is slower. But necessary.

(Yes, often, my inner voice sounds like a little kid who speaks in CAPSLOCK. So be it. She’s been pretty successful thus far, with a Grownup filter added.)

Does tenure mean I’m officially a grownup?

I think I may be mostly ready for that. I’ll have to wait a year to see if my colleagues agree.

In the meantime, if blogging is sporadic, it’s because I’m busy staring at that file.


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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