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Much To Do / Ado

February 8, 2007

Lots of things going on up here. My interests have always been wide-ranging, and my tendency for the past couple of years has been to indulge that. What this means practically is that I take on a lot of projects, and that I then wonder how to juggle all of them. I have gotten better about turning down things that are offered (I did not, for instance, take on the role of Division Chair that was offered to me last semester. I thought about it for a longish while, but chose not to). Right now I’m writing a book about Gothic London in Victorian literature for McFarland Press, am under contract to do a scholarly edition of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 vampire novella Carmilla for Valancourt, and I’m seriously working on a novel (as opposed to thinking about it dreamily while watching Scrubs reruns). Teaching four classes factors in there as well, and so does oh I don’t know…being a husband and father. And occasionally playing guitar. And Scrubs reruns are not to be disparaged.

It’s actually not as bad as it sounds (read:I’m not an incorrigible workaholic). The Carmilla project doesn’t start until I’m finished with the London book, which has an August deadline. I’m working on that one on Thursdays, when my classes are done by 10 am (except I seem to be blogging at the moment), and after doing some final research in London this May, I’ll have two and a half months to do nothing but finish that. The novel isn’t under contract (more’s the pity), and so I’m just doing that as I can, though I’ve set myself the task of getting a minimum of 300-400 words down every night (I did a thousand last night).

But none of that explains why I’ve agreed to be in UMary’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The director is also chair of the division, and a friend of mine, and she really wanted me to play Leonato (father of Hero and uncle of Beatrice, the two heroines). My undergraduate degree (16 years ago) was in theatre, and I’ve done three or four community theatre productions since then. It’s been something like 11 or 12 years since I’ve acted on stage, and I’ve never done Shakespeare outside of a Classical Performance class in which I did two scenes. My part is not one of the leads (which means multiple monologues in Shakespeare), but it’s certainly bigger than “A Lord” or “Guard # 2.” I get to do some broad comedy and to get really angry/confused/heartbroken/accusatory in one scene. I’m really excited to do it, and Gwyn is excited to see me act. Actually, the fact that Gwyn has never seen me act is a good indicator of how long it’s been, seeing as our 10th anniversary is coming up this September.

I enjoy having this many irons in the fire. Only occasionally do I feel overwhelmed or like something has to give. It helps that Nita has scheduled rehearsals mostly in the afternoons and not at night, so we only need child care during performance week on the two nights Gwyn’s at work. Now if can just get my lines memorized.

Ian has a Valentine’s program at school tonight. Actually, it’s a combined President’s Day/Valentine’s program, called “A Patriotic Valentine.” I’m dubious, since patriotic isn’t something I’ve been feeling for six or seven years now (though I’m hopeful for the future). I know they’ll be cute, and that Ian will sing and perform well (’cause that what he does), I’m just not certain if they’re going to be singing love songs to America or what.

I’m going to turn up my music and actually work on the book now. Right now I’m listening to Lindsey Buckingham’s Under the Skin, which is the best thing he’s done as a solo artist I think. There are moments with Fleetwood Mac where he transcends this disc, mainly on Tusk and Say You Will, but as a unified work this one is Buckingham at the top of his game. Makes me want to play guitar. Luckily there isn’t a guitar in my office, so I’m forced to write now about London.

How are things with you?

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