An Ode to the Halcyon Days, Or, Farewell, Summer!: an Epistolery Novel by a Full Time Faculty Member

Dear members of the committee:

The days of summer dwindle and the dark hours of the fall semester encroach. I would therefore like to take this time to submit to you a full report of the work I accomplished this summer with the goal of obtaining your approval for research leave beginning on the first day of the fall semester—which is next week—and extending through the end of finals’ week. I am sure you will agree, after hearing evidence of my extraordinary work this summer, that I could certainly use a break this fall.

First, I would like to reference the conference I attended for the glory of my academic institution. It happened to be in Australia.

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The location was incidental of course. I would have presented in the Hellmouth itself if necessary for the glory of the institution.

Second, I wrote very, very many words this summer. I was practically chained to my desk. In fact, do you remember the galley ship scene in Ben Hur? That would be a good image to have in your mind. It was just me, a chain, my laptop, and possibly a few lattes, just to keep my strength up. It requires a great deal of strength and possibly that almond mocha with shavings of bittersweet dark chocolate on top to write as much as I did this summer.

In addition to all of my writing and arduous travels, I endured trial by combat. I am sure you are wondering if such things still occur today. They do. A dragon came and I had to fight it. I fought with all the strength given me by my great love for my academic institution and, I am pleased to report, I triumphed over the dragon. Good bye, dragon.

ERRATA: On proofreading this letter I realize that I might have been misleading when I said that I “fought a dragon.” It appears after a quick Google search that “dragons” are not as real as the television programs I watched this summer would have me believe. Consequently, I beg the committee to permit me to submit a correction.

What I meant to convey was that the intensity of the work felt like fighting dragons so that it is nearly accurate to say that I fought them off.

I worked a lot, is what I am trying to say. And maybe there were some TV shows in the middle of the research, and possibly a few short (very short!) trips to locations where research was not as easy, like, say, a beach. It is very difficult to take archived manuscripts to beaches. Librarians can be shockingly inflexible on the matter! I doubt that the committee could possibly hold that against me. Nor is it unreasonable to assume that all of my labor could possibly be completed in the span of a few weeks (okay, fine) a few months.

It is therefore with some confidence that I request permission for another vacation research leave beginning next week. While this would mean that I would, sadly, miss the start of school and my obligations to work a full day without the six hour brief breaks to which I am now accustomed, I am willing to shoulder that burden for the sake of the institution.

Thank you for your consideration of my request. I will miss you all.

Sincerely,

L——– C——–

P.S.

It has recently come to my attention that I accidentally checked my bank account balance and so I am very much looking forward to returning to campus next week and to the paycheck fulfilling work of teaching that awaits me once I return. See you next week!

Yours, etc.

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