From the Desk of Dr. Andy: The Wobbly Camel

by admin on September 9, 2014

Friends and Readers,

Welcome to the first entry of my new blog. Here I plan to reflect on five topics: 1) personal productivity, 2) platform-building via social media advocacy and marketing, 3) the joys and challenges of writing (e.g., poems, my next book project, this blog), 4) creativity, 5) outreach on behalf of my causes.

Speaking of causes, I’m pleased to announce that last week the Davis City Council has confirmed me as our city’s next Poet Laureate. I begin that important work in September (2014), and will let you know, should you be interested, when I am sworn in and when I will be holding my first Poet Laureate events. I’m sure that by the end of my reign, in 2016, skittish schoolchildren and Davis politicos will cross to the other side of the street when they see me coming, lest I impose upon them yet another self-important poem about our fair city of Davis.

As Poet Laureate, I plan to turn Davis into Poetryville, and to become its mayor. To that end, yesterday I attended the commemoration of a new playground in Davis, and was writing publicly digestible lines in my head. I know something of these duties, for I co-wrote the Poet Laureate position description for the City of Davis, and one could argue that I’ve been already working as an informal literary arts booster in Davis for many years, already.

Some of you who know me might wonder how I would have time to take on yet another honorary role. As my wife Kate has pointed out to me on a number of occasions, my unpaid public service to my home town of Davis, California already includes a 14-year weekly radio show on campus and community radio station KDVS, the poetry series that I run at the John Natsoulas Gallery, my work as Chair of the Cultural Action Committee of Davis, and my hosting of various fundraisers for Davis causes. How exhausting! As Sartre said, “Commitment is an act, not a word.”

But what about over-commitment? I’m reading a book now titled Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. In it, McKeown argues that “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” Non-essentialists say yes to everything, an accusation that has been fairly leveled at me, because of my willingness to say yes to people, especially students. Essentialists say no to most things, even attractive opportunities, so they can focus on core avocations and the best opportunities.

So is taking on a blog (well, my third blog, but this one more explicitly personal) the “best opportunity” for me to pursue? We shall see. I will endeavor to post a blog entry on Fridays, and more often as I am able. We will see if these paragraphs represent the bricks of the new writing and productivity home that I shall build to enclose and display my collated thoughts, or if they represent the final straws on the camel’s back. On many days, the camel wobbles. Stay tuned.

Camel PIcture by Jerrold Bennett

Camel by Jerrold Bennett

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