Next Summer, I Will Do Nothing Except Watch Romance Anime and Munch on Senbē Crackers

This post is written from a place of privilege to a certain degree.  While my lecturer position isn't as good as a tenure track job, my workload, bennies, and pay at UC Irvine, are a hundred times better than that of my friends adjuncting their hearts out, hoping and praying (just as I am) that one day they'll get the ideal academic gig.  So, I write this post with a tiny amount of guilt, understanding that things could be so much worse.  That said, I was lucky enough to have my first paid summer off as an academic and It's honestly shocking how busy I was in like a good way.  Yes, I wrote the fuck out of this summer, completely restructuring and rewriting my first and second novels multiple times.  Yes, I sent out query letters for AMNESIA to a few agents that I thought might be good matches.  Yes, I sent out several different manuscripts to several stellar indie presses, including my experimental memoir.  Yes, I read more than a few novels and several graphic novels too.  Yes, LB and I traveled to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Tallinn, which was honestly, one of the most amazing vacations I've ever had (I'm completely broke right now and I don't give a shit because it was completely worth it!).  Yes, I got to see both our families, which was amazing (not to mention insanely draining).  And yes, I played the shit out of my PS4 because I finally could after teaching for 9 months straight.  For the record, I was especially captivated by The Last of Us, Final Fantasy X, Infamous Second Son, and The Walking Dead.  In so many ways, I had one of the best summers of my life and I don't say that lightly.

But that said, this summer was also completely exhausting.  Time flew by in a way I haven't seen since high school and often I felt like I was barely in control of my life.  I wouldn't have done it differently and I have only gratitude for this summer, but next summer, I think I'm gonna make as little plans as possible.  At the very least, I plan on living like a minimalist.  I hope to do nothing except eat nori senbē crackers, drink ocha, and watch romance anime.  Maybe I'll cry a little, nibble on chocolate, and then go back to revising NINJAS.  That sounds like a perfect summer (for at least one week).  Of course, part of being an emerging novelist and professor means conceding much of your power to other people who control your destiny (e.g., the department chair, the dean of your school, the program coordinator, the literary agent, the acquisitions editor, the fiction reader), and that's probably the hardest part of this gig:  working your ass off for something that ultimately isn't in your hands after a certain stage.  So, thank you universe for this exhilarating summer.  But next summer, please be much more chill in the GenX sense of the word.

My Summer Just Got a Little Easier

Summers are always a source of anxiety for grad students (do I teach comp? Do I grade AP exams? Do I work for minimum wage at an indie bookstore? Do I schlepp mocha lattes to IT professionals? Do I apply for some random travel grant for grad students who are of mixed Armenian-Azeri-Turkish descent + also gay, fans of Ayn Raynd, and former wards of the state?). For this reason, summers for me now are diametrical to childhood summers, when simply muttering the word "summer" evoked images of swimming, summer camp, girls in jean shorts, festivals, watermelon, fireworks, cherry pies and gilded skin. Adulthood is nasty that way. But I just found out yesterday that I received an ACE/Nikaido fellowship for this summer (my second one in two years), which will give me enough money to pay my bills, split rent with LB, study conversational Japanese in Chicago at the Japan America Society of Chicago (god knows I need it considering my nihongo still sounds like a babbling 6-year old) + most importantly, spend this summer reading books for my dissertation, revising NINJAS, starting a third novel + writing the critical portion of my dissertation. I don't have a wealthy daddy or a trust fund or leftover cash from a recent stock transaction, but what I do have is institutional support for this summer + next year (when I go on advanced fellowship), so I'm insanely grateful for that. Also, I have a wife who has a real job + that of course helps the most.