Lately I have been swamped with work-writing. As a tenure-track faculty member, and not in a creative writing or English capacity, I have a responsibility to contribute to my field (which happens to be librarianship). This means that I choose to present at conferences on the work I do, and often, I write about it, or of other areas of librarianship that interest me.
It's a wonderful opportunity to stretch my brain in different ways than my creative writing stretches it. I think more about structure, and most of the time it requires more in-depth research, since scholarly articles and research-based book chapters have a longer bibliography than my poetry does. It also requires that I grapple with reality, as opposed to what I can create with brain gymnastics. I would argue that it is not less creative, it is just very different. Given the prescriptions we tend to follow for peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and even newsletter articles, to me it is akin in poetry to writing in strict form, without the occasionally-making-words-up part.
In any case, I consider it the flip side of the coin of my writing life. You'll mostly hear about my creative writing on this blog, but I am also thrilled to report that my first-ever peer-reviewed academic journal article is forthcoming from Journal of Access Services. "Matrix Management in Practice in Access Services at the NCSU Libraries" is slated to be out in the October 2010 issue. I also have a book review for Cliff Landis's A Social Networking Primer for Librarians in the same issue. For the November Brick & Click conference, I've just sent in the write-up of my presentation "Leveraging Technology, Improving Service: Streamlining Student Billing Procedures" for the conference proceedings. And finally, I sent in " "The First Thirty Days: A Playbook for the New Library Manager" which will appear as one of the LISCareer newsletter articles in October.
And so, though I've been feeling guilty about not writing any new poems (I've just been doing some last minute fiddling with These Terrible Sacraments), I have been writing. I've also been reading - Marilyn Hacker and Joy Harjo are the poets of the week on my coffeetable, beside some reading on leadership I have to do to prep for my doctoral program that starts in August. I haven't fallen off the poetry wagon, I'm just percolating, and hoping to get back to my more creative side this weekend.