Let me tell you about my summer of 2008.

I had a lot on my plate.

I was living with my one and only roommate, which was pretty stressful in and of itself.

I was working as box office manager at a local theatre company, and the summer was my busiest time. First, we had a major emerging arts festival (the very same one I auditioned for when I was a teen!) and then it was time for me to program the whole next season into our software and process hundreds and hundreds of season tickets, etc., etc. It was busy. I worked a lot.

I was also taking both spring and summer courses at the university because I wanted to make the final year of my degree a little less stressful and allow myself more time to work before potentially leaving for grad school (I was already dreaming of a Master’s abroad).

Oh, yeah, and I was independently writing, directing, and producing a play for the fringe theatre festival in town. And I won’t even get into what a disaster the process had been, but in a nutshell, I started producing one play and then had to call it off after a few weeks of rehearsal, step back, write an entirely new script in approx. two weeks, and then start producing that one from scratch.

(That’s a story for another day. It’s a doozy. But in the meantime, just know it was both HELL and BUSY AS HELL.)

Now, I probably would have been able to manage all of this if the courses I had been taking were basic courses. You know, Psychology 101 or Art History 101 or something. But this was the spring and summer before my final year of university. I didn’t have any of those basic courses left to take. All I had left to take were final year English courses.

Oh shit.

Yeah. The one I took during the summer session is especially worth mentioning since I’m pretty sure it BROKE ME. It was a 400-level English course on Irish literature, which is basically my dream come true, but here’s the thing: in a typical 400-level English course, you could be reading anywhere between 10-20 novels, depending on how crazy your professor is.

Mine was crazy.

He was so crazy, he lectured with his EYES CLOSED.

It was very distracting.

Also, he was a genius and I loved him.

That is all beside the point.

All you need to know is that he was crazy on the scale of normal to crazy. And that my summer course wasn’t a typical 400-level English course, because it wasn’t spread over 3-3.5 months. It was six weeks long. SIX WEEKS.

My professor had us reading between 2-4 (yes, four) NOVELS A WEEK.

You read that correctly. (No pun intended.)
You read that correctly. (No pun intended.)

What’s that?

Impossible?

Yes, yes it was.

I wish that I were joking.

So, a typical day for me that summer went something like this:

8am: Awake.

8:30am: Breakfast and homework.

Then either going to class and then running to work, or just going to work for the day.

6-10pm: Rehearsal.

10:30pm: Dinner and homework.

11pm-6 or 7am: READING.

Looking back, I have no idea how I did it. I definitely, definitely went a bit crazy, which probably didn’t help the roommate situation. I distinctly remember that I would often put Extras on DVD playing in the background while I was reading, and after all of the episodes would finish playing, it would go to the main menu, which played that “When the Whistle Blows” song over and over again on a loop. So I would often wake up after having fallen asleep on the couch somewhere between 5 and 6am and I would have that song BURNED into my SUBCONSCIOUS.

(I still get a little shivery when I hear that song.)

Okay, so I definitely went crazy.

What else do I remember about that summer?

ALMOST NOTHING.

That was the summer I learned that you can go for quite a few months without sleeping, but you won’t remember much of it because you will lose your mind.

It took me a long time to get it back after that.

xA

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