Samuel J. Tanner 3 minute read

Back to Work

I'm not a publishing company. And I'm not much for sequential, linear tasks.

Still, I've been working on an administrative project over winter break. I'm planning to release my trilogy of memoirs on Amazon through Happy Valley Improv. The second editions of my first two books Shot Across the River Styx and Determined Weeds will be available soon. And I'll finally put Playing with Sharp Objects out there. My story about becoming and being a teacher. Talk about do it yourself. DIY. Where's Harper Collins when you need them?

I'll probably sell 8 copies. Maybe 9. Maybe 1,000,000. I'll be annoying on social media for a little while. We'll see what happens. Ultimately, I want this creative writing project to come to an end. This trilogy should be out there. Where? The universe. Traditional publishing wasn't the right way to let these stories move. I felt compelled to create these strange things. They're amalgams of memoir, fiction, grief, humor, whatever. Traditional agents and publishing companies were confused by them. They wanted commodities. I wanted to make stuff. It's that age old conflict between art and the hegemony of capitalism. I don't think the books are masterpieces. I don't think they aren't. I really don't know what they are. They are stories the way I could tell them. An account of things. Good, bad, and ugly. I just want to be done with them. Out with it, already, am I right? I think so.

Winter break is coming to an end. My boys Solomon and Samson went back to preschool last week. Good. All of us were spending too much time in the house together. The boys need a productive avenue for all of their energy. I need avenues too. Art is a vehicle to channel the infinite waves of chaos that linger inside. Teaching, too. I'm ready to go back to work.

This will be a busy spring. Yes, I'm putting the trilogy of books out there. But I'm also starting another semester at Penn State Altoona. Four years as a professor. Wow. I've got classes to teach this spring, yes. But there's so much other work to do. Articles to write and revise. I'll be editing a journal next year. My friend in Charlotte and I were funded by Spencer to continue our research on anti-racist pedagogy. I'll continue working to build Happy Valley Improv. And I agreed to direct a production of Seussical Jr. for a small Christian school in State College. This paragraph is stressing me out. Oi vey. So much to do!

Stress isn't neccesarily a bad thing. Activity isn't either. All of the things mentioned above are powerful ways to channel the energies I have. The talents. I know that. And I feel fortunate to have these opportunities to work. I've just spent the last week being lazier than lazy. What's lazier than lazy? Lazy. What a punchline. I should be a comedian. Or an improviser.

Anyway, I'm gearing up for another season of lots to do. Winter Break was nice. Now it's back to work.