Panic early and often.

I’ve done that thing where I get incredibly precious about posting and thus do not post for months. Working on it. Feeling like I’ve got something to actually share helps, and all at once, I’m brimming with things.

One, let’s start with some excellent, conflicting, perfectly apt advice I’ve received today. Exhibit A:

“Panic early and often.”

Exhibit A was given to me this morning during orientation at the American Antiquarian Society. The person who delivered it was spot on: fellows have an entire month to research; fellows have only a month to research. (The archive, of course, isn’t going anywhere, but the point is to do what needs doing now.) That means that one has to be well-organized and pro-active. Don’t wait to wade into something–you may need to go deeper than you think. “Panic” here reads as urgency: don’t wait. Look now. 

In true and marvelous Madame Clairevoyant fashion, though, my favorite purveyor of horoscopes (and the only one I read because they always contain something I need to hear) offered up Exhibit B: 

Aries: It’s going to be easy to feel like everything is urgent, this week. It’s going to be easy to feel rushed. The world will pick up its pace around you, maybe, and it’s going to require a specific kind of bravery, a strange quiet kind of courage, to move at your own speed, to move slowly and intentionally through even the strangest of days. Try not to let the world chase you off your own path. Try not to let the world make you panic. There’s plenty of time, there’s so much time, there’s all the time you need. ~The Rumpus 

I don’t believe in horoscopes in the sense of expecting anything in them to actually come true, but Madame Clairevoyant’s whimsical and lovely work strikes the ideal advice-giving balance between koan and fortune cookie: the brush is broad enough, soft enough, to fill in the background behind whatever I’m doing.

And this one is just right. Everything is urgent–but it’s up to me to control the rush of it. Nothing has to be rushed. Nothing, dear hobbits, need be hasty. But there is so much: there’s this marvelous, overwhelming, exciting residency I’ve really just begun. I’m working on The Pirate Novel while at the American Antiquarian Society, and there’s just so wonderfully much to dive into. But my process is well-organized. The librarians/curators/staff/archive genies/microfilm fae/periodical wizards/map magi are rockstars. All will be well.

And all will be well in time to move. Because I am moving in July, back to green Pennsylvania, to Lebanon Valley College, where I’ve accepted a position as Assistant Professor of English. It’s slightly old news if you follow me anywhere else online, but that’s adding to the urgency: I’ve come to the residency directly from a week spent looking for a place to live in Pennsylvania, and I will leave the residency to finish packing and then do an about-face and drive across the country again. 

There’s so much happening–so much good–and everything’s so green. There’s time.

Lebanon Valley College’s McGill Field.


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