This means I do silly things like fret about what to wear to Kriti: business casual for the most part, I think, but I am kind of tempted to change into a sari for when I introduce Chitra Divakaruni to an audience of 750 for her keynote speech. It just seems like a grand sort of occasion -- I've never addressed that many people before. I think the most was about three hundred at my MFA graduation ceremonies -- oh wait, I lie. I think there were close to a thousand people at Mirna's Arangetrum (graduation Indian classical dance performance), and I said something there -- but it was very brief. What do you think? Sari or no? (It'd probably be the same one I wore last WisCon to the dessert reception, a sort of peach-orange chiffon, simple and elegant.)
Really, though, when I talk about thinking further ahead, I actually meant next year. The rest of this year is pretty well-committed. Host Kriti. Hand in the novel next week, wait for Marjorie's response, do (hopefully) minor edits as the copyeditors and proofreaders work through it in November/December. Buy curtains for the main floor of the house, because while our open floor plan is beautiful and breezy in summer, it gets very chilly in the darker months. Have friends over for Thanksgiving. Finish out the semesters at Roosevelt and Vermont. Buy Christmas presents and celebrate Christmas. That should be plenty.
But what about next year? I have January entirely off; Roosevelt has J-term then, and I don't start teaching again until February. I'm not going to teach at Vermont next semester (they don't need me this time around, possibly again in the summer, which is just fine). If I'm recovered by then from all this madness, I'm thinking I'll go back to the travel/memoir that I started in Sri Lanka. But not under contract, and with no deadline. It'll take as long as it takes. I do want to write another novel too; I have a proposal drafted for a book about Kamala (the girl in "Sins of the Father" who ran off as a teenager to join the Tamil Tigers). That one will require a lot of research, so it's almost certainly a multi-year project to do properly. Between those two, I think I'll be well occupied on the writing front for a long time.
There are new courses to develop -- online magazine production for the spring, and sf/f writing for the summer. That'll take some time and thought, but hopefully it's mostly stuff I already know.
I need to get back to work on the SLF. I've neglected the SLF horribly this year -- the only reason it didn't completely fall apart was because of all the good people who just kept trundling along handling the Fountain Award and the Travel Grant and the Older Writers' Grant and updating the website and sending out newsletters and starting membership renewals -- all entirely without me. That's probably what I feel guiltiest about this year, though thankfully, the organization did survive. I want to put some concentrated time into getting back up to speed on all that, helping build memberships (and if you received your renewal letter and haven't yet renewed, please do consider doing so -- the money is still being directed to good works and benefiting the field, despite my inattention). I'd also like to get the mentorship program set up and running; that's a no-cost program that I think could offer a lot, if done properly.
And for DesiLit, I keep getting inquiries about setting up other chapters, and I need to follow up with those. We need to set up the bimonthly reading series; we'll probably host it at Roosevelt, if Janet is willing, which means I should reserve some rooms. And then there's all the excitement of a new magazine. I'm hoping to not actually be involved in it beyond initial set-up; let other people be editors-in-chief and the like. We'll see how that goes.
Plenty to do in 2006, just a matter of allocating enough time to do it, and remembering to delegate as much as possible.