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My muse may be on spring break

Today has not been a good day for trying to write essays. I considered writing about C macros [1] but decided that I didn’t have the time or energy to write something that I’d want to share with my students. I’m planning to write an email to an international student who was accepted to Grinnell, and I thought about describing how international our major is [2]. But gathering data for that essay felt too time consuming. I considered writing out the talk I’m going to give about a new department initiative since. Why do I have to give a talk? Because the initiative appeared in the faculty meeting agenda without any explanatory text [3]. But something in the back of my brain suggested that I don’t want to write publicly about that initiative until it passes.

Since my family spent dinner making fun of the comments I’ve made about Harry Chapin [4], I thought I might write an essay about Harry Chapin. But it is unclear what I would write, other than extended versions of those comments. Well … that’s not quite accurate. The comments I’ve made are primarily negative; there are some Harry Chapin songs I like [5]. I also appreciate his significant efforts to make the world a better place. But to write that essay well, I’d have to listen to more Harry Chapin songs [6], and I’m not up to that right now.

I spent a long time considering what and I how I could write about heaps [7]. I even found software to help with the ASCII art that I wanted to include in the essay [8]. I wrote the first few paragraphs. But after writing those first few paragraphs, I ran out of writing energy.

I considered going back to an old trick and writing an essay about topics I plan to write about in the near future. There are a lot of them: I want to finish the section of Don’t Embarrass Me on macros. I’d like to write a bit about assessment. I hope to start writing about people again. It’s about time to write about Jekyll. I may eventually get things done [9] and write about it. However, making that list of topics seemed to be all I could achieve. I could not come up with a longer list, and I didn’t feel like I could write well about any topic.

I don’t know why, but my muse seems to be having trouble helping me figure out what to write today. The trouble could be a lack of sleep, an after effect of being out of town, a natural stage as I’m nearing three hundred essays and running out of obvious topics, a side effect of spring break, something else, or a combination of those things. In any case, the words aren’t coming naturally. Nonetheless, I promised myself that I would write every day, and so I am. You, my unfortunate reader, are stuck with this not-quite-essay [10].

You know what? My muse may have gone away for spring break [11]. I hope she’s having fun. I very much hope that she returns soon.

[1] Not to be confused with Common Lisp macros or Racket macros.

[2] More precisely, I thought about indicating the broad variety of countries from which our majors come.

[3] It strikes me as very strange that we didn’t preface it with explanatory text. It’s not even clear that it needs to go to the faculty. But, hey, I’ll go along with whatever works.

[4] Let’s see … It’s not folk if there’s a backing orchestra. There’s not enough energy for it to be rock. Boy, his songs are depressing. Why would you listen? Cool, he wrote a song using Phil Ochs song titles. I would live a much happier life if I never had to hear Taxi or Cat’s in the Cradle again.

[5] I enjoy The Parade’s Still Passing By. I don’t mind WOLD and My Corey’s Coming. I’ll figure out some others.

[6] I should read his biography, too.

[7] While heap can mean many things, I’m referring to the data structure.

[8] Monodraw, for those who care. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to use.

[9] Getting Things Done (aka GTD) is a work management strategy. I know many people who seem to subscribe to it.

[10] You’re lucky. I know that one way to get unstuck is to free write. Believe it or not, but my free writing is even less structured than this essay.

[11] Or, perhaps, just this part of spring break.

Version 1.0 of 2017-03-25.