Happy New Year!
I cannot remember ever being more aware of needing more a break than this holiday season. I began working from home in March and during that time, I guilted myself into working constantly and consistently so that no one would ever think I was slacking. In July, I began packing for an anticipated move that didn’t happen until November. So, for all those months I was working out of boxes. I was fortunate enough to have my adult son with me until August and my adult daughter for several weeks after that, so my isolation wasn’t so bad. Still, concentration wasn’t always there and my research, and blogging, suffered for it.
I’m back to work tomorrow as are many of us who are fortunate enough to have a job. I already have a full list of things to work on, but I really don’t want to lose balance again. I’ve enjoyed the relaxing pace of the past week and I hope to keep some of the same ease in my work week.
Tomorrow, is the second session of the research intensive that I put together for grad students on my campus. Before it began last week, I couldn’t believe I thought it was a good idea to plan such an event to begin during my one week of holiday. But, I quickly realized that there was something about that time with students and colleagues that I really needed. It’s a privilege to be able to do work that I enjoy, but because I enjoy it, it can be difficult to know when to pull back a bit.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up very soon. I usually observe the day on campus. I’ve not looking into what I’ll do this year, but it’s time to start making plans! I do think that whatever anyone does, it will completely deny the essence of Dr. King’s message to disregard public safety and not wear a mask and not maintain a safe physical distance. Still, there are numerous charitable acts from working with a food pantry to making cash donations. It’s also a good day to reflect on your commitment to anti-racism, to refresh the ways you’re showing up for Black Americans. Read beyond Kings “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” or “I Have A Dream Speech” to deepen your understanding of this great American leader and consider how you can implement actions that keep his dream alive.
I think I’ve finally figured out what I’ll do on the blog to observe Black History Month. On campus, I’ve planning our annual African American Read-In.
“The National African American Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.” source
The Read In can be a beautiful event for schools and libraries. In the past, I had people from across campus to read something written by a Black author of their choosing that related to our theme. This year, I’m bringing in Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, one of the authors of A Black Women’s History of the United States. She, and several faculty members will read from her book.
Keep your eyes open for something very special I’m planning for Black History month! I’ll announce once it’s confirmed.
And my blog! I’ve got to begin my list of 2021 books this week as well as my list of IPOC debut authors of MG & YA books. I am finally reading again and may actually have a review up soon. By not attending ALA, ALAN or NCTE last year, I’m left with very few 2021 ARCs. I will be at ALA Midwinter, and hope I there will be a way to make connections and get a few books. I was so looking forward to the event this year that should have been in Indianapolis. I’ll settle for the safe physical distance of an online event.
But right now, it’s time for a DYI spa day with a honey- oatmeal facial scrub, avocado hair masque and a manicure. Next week is going to be a gentle work week!
I’m wishing for you a 2021 that will unfold in ways that provokes, prods, protects and provides for you. I hope we remember what we’ve learn so that even while we’re presented with more of the same, we’re able to find joy and ease.
Be well and do good!