Abbreviating the spirit of Woody, I’ve got three things this year: write, cook, and swim.
The first — “Work more and better” — wants a renewed focus on prose style. When I wrote At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean in 2009, playing with my academic style meant no footnotes, prose-poem interludes, a half-dozen different ways of interpolating modern writers from Melville to Walcott to Glissant, and working through sentences every day in the warm waters of Long Island Sound. In 2010, writing case labels and brochures and website text for “Lost at Sea: The Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550 – 1750” meant writing for a new audience: clear, brief, lucid prose, plus more imaginative moments in two talks in the theatre. This past year had me writing for various outlets — a couple journals, introductions for two essay collections, the still-looming shipwreck book — and trying to figure out how much of the churn and froth of Shakespeare’s Ocean I can keep as I return to footnote-landia. In 2012, the answer will be: all of it, and more. It’ll be fun.
Second — “Eat good — fruit — vegetables” –digs into cooking and eating. No farmer’s markets here in CT during the winter, but replacing Stop’n’Shop with Bishop’s Orchard helps a lot. Though I think our wine won’t come from CT…
Last — “Keep hoping machine running” — I want to build on 2011’s rediscovery of swim racing, which took me to Bermuda for a 10km open water race in October. It’s great to have an athletic focus that doesn’t pound my lower body — though I’d also like to keep running on days I can’t get to the pool. Not sure what the long swims will be in 2012: I’m waiting to hear about the Chesapeake Bay Swim, the lottery for which gets decided in a few days. There are also a few fun NYC swims, including two in the Hudson and two in the Bay. The Little Red Lighthouse is a current-assisted 10km in September that looks like fun. The Hellespont looms, but not in 2012.
I’m also considering some races in the pool, for the first time since the mid-80s.
A good line-up of academic events too, including chairing seminars at the SAA in Boston and the ISA in Stratford, giving a “Coastal Perspectives” Lecture at UConn Avery Point and a talk at CUNY, plus heading west and slightly out of field for the New Chaucer Society in Portland in July. The big family trip to Europe will follow the Stratford conference, though we’re still working out the details. France or Greece?