I hereby propose that I, Francis, be allowed to stand before a panel of my fears and be judged based on the following:

  1. My ability to process what amounts to gobbledygook and turn it into more gobbledygook;
  2. My ability to make shit up;
  3. My ability to turn my anxieties, traumas, nightmares, into 4000 to 5000 word beauties; and
  4. My ability to bullshit on the fly.

Should you agree to this proposal, you shall:

  1. Pat me on the head;
  2. Pat me on the back;
  3. Give me a bit more money; and
  4. Give me more work.

On leave: An unofficial report of accomplishment

Finally, after five months of waiting, I got official word that my application for a study leave from university has been granted. I started the ball rolling on this application in June, and in between now and then, I’ve been drawing a paycheck and doing the work, so to speak.

So far I’ve passed my foriegn language qualifying exam, which is a feat considering I was only 6% fluent in Spanish, according to Duolingo. I’ve managed to generate a few thousand words of a novella that will go into the collection of fiction that will serve as my graduate thesis. And I’ve delivered presentations in two international conferences, helped organize those same conferences, and been accepted to two fiction anthologies.

Outside of work, I’ve also learned how to prepare the following Japanese dishes:

  • Zaru soba
  • Tempura
  • Karaage
  • Kakiage
  • Hot Udon

With the aid of a slow cooker, which was an early Christmas present from my girlfriend, I was finally able to make a decent, edible pot roast. And then excellent pork chops.

I’ve also read 11 of the 20 Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. I’ve attended my first-ever comic convention, and was sorely disappointed by it. And I was one of the lucky few who got into the exclusive screening of a Captain America: Civil War teaser. 

I’ve been able to keep up with TV shows, and even gotten into a new fandom about fake lesbians. I would say that this was a semester on leave well spent.

A version

Here I go again. I find that I have a few weeks of relative freedom and I go delude myself that I’ll be able to keep a blog. And I probably will keep it, for a month or two.

But then something else will distract me from this. It might be something big–some life-altering thing that blindsides me and demands my complete undivided attention. But chances are it’s a new toy, or a new comic book series, or a new television program (I’ve yet to start watching Jessica Jones so this iteration might last for exactly one post). 

When that happens, I’ll tell myself, it’s okay to take a bit of break from it, I just won’t take down that blog. But I know it will start haunting me, like an unfinished book. It will call out to me at every turn: after I watch or read something interesting; when I got home from a particularly odd experience; when I am up-and-about at 2 a.m., over-caffeinated and restless, a million things running through my head.

It will start feeling like a phantom limb, an itch that I can’t scratch. It will get so bad that the only recourse is to delete the damn thing and all it contains. Goodbye, months (or weeks) of content. No one read you anyway.

And I’ll be happier, more content with my life. No one blogs anymore, I will tell myself.

But that won’t probably happen this time.