My first semester as a graduate student ended a few weeks ago, and to be honest, I am still adjusting to the freedom. There are no papers to worry about writing, no poems to edit for a workshop, and no assigned books for me to read. Aside from my full-time job, it now finally seems like I have all the time in the world to do almost whatever. It took a few weeks to adjust my sleeping schedule though, as I still found myself waking up at 7 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Nevertheless, my first couple of weeks out of school were spent doing non-writing things, because it is important to take a break every now and then.
One hobby I quickly picked back up was one that I missed, something I had not done since almost last summer: bike rides around the city! Not only is biking a great way to stay in shape, biking around the city brings me great joy. It’s easy to sight-see in certain neighborhoods you might otherwise never come around if you were walking, driving, or using the CTA. A particular favorite spot of mine is in Lincoln Park. There’s nothing like biking from West Town, through Chicago Avenue, into the park, and then to the Abraham Lincoln Monument, which inevitably leads me to North Avenue Beach, followed by the lakefront bike trail. (Oh, how much I missed this!)
Yet as a writer, my brain will keep pushing out new ideas for poem, essays, etc. As we all know, if you do not write down that one line, image, or idea, then there is a chance it will get lost in an empty void, nowhere to ever be found again.
An idea and a line for a poem came to mind when I stopped to take a sip of water and stared into my bag, which I have had ever since I got into biking, and has been through many different parts of the city with me.
Aside from bike riding, the couple of weeks after the end of the semester were followed up with another thing I have lacked for quite some time: movie watching! I caught up on some movies I had wanted to watch but just simply did not have the time to see. Some of these movies were recent theater releases, some were a bit older. The highlights of my movie watching so far have been Detective Pikachu and Thor: Ragnarok.
As exciting as these things were, as a writer, there is only so much time you can spend away from writing and editing before they lure you back to your desk—especially with the new set-up I have at my desk now. I could feel my mind telling me to come back and revise those workshop poems with feedback from the semester and to submit my newest work to literary journals.