Stuff. And things.
A brief vignette from the latter activity: a few days ago, I was walking around in the library, luxuriating in the chance to really dig into some research, a sense of serenity that had settled over the stacks, and a feeling of comaraderie with the other few dedicated scholars I saw among the books. And then I went down one floor and ran into a horde of undergraduate workers who'd apparently taken advantage of the library's chiefly deserted state to congregate on one of the floors and loudly brag about such things as having spent $172 on nothing but alcohol at a grocery store the previous weekend.
I also confess that I have watched some DVDs, that I went to an actual suburban block party on the 4th, and that I spent a $50 gift card at a Big Chain Bookstore entirely on cheap trade paperbacks. In fact, I forced myself to buy nothing at all related to my own work. Of course, we all know that's a big load of hooey, since I'm a literary scholar, since I haven't been able to read anything at all for years without devoting at least 25% of my neurons to thinking about how I could maybe use it in the classroom or write something about it. But some things are still more enjoyable to read than others, and I am determined to read a few of those things this summer without feeling (too) guilty about it.
Nevertheless, I have an unbelievable amount of stuff to do before October, and I'm going to have to start setting some specific and draconian goals for myself during the remainder of the month. I may have more time and flexibility for now, but I will probably be teaching full-time again next month, so I really have no time to waste.
Among other things, tomorrow is email day, so some of you may expect to get long-overdue responses from me.