Monday, February 17, 2014

When you start too many new things at once....

Old things get dropped. You go a little crazy. You wonder if everything's going to fall apart.
"My" new town has welcomed me here with the worst winter in 20 years. I mostly sit in my home office and make gloomy, movie-inspired observations about the weather.
"The Day After Tomorrow was actually a movie about polar vortexes. Just wait, the lake and river are going to freeze over completely, and giant wolves are going to invade the city and we're going to be evacuated to Mexico."
"Remember in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers when it didn't stop snowing until June?"

There's a document on my computer (and backed up to Dropbox) titled "dissertation proposal". Right now, it's 9 pages long. The intro section has been emailed off  to my adviser.

I have a serious crush on our neighborhood Episcopal church, and I'm waiting to see if it turns into something more serious. This is kind of crazy, since I haven't had a church I'd call my own in nearly five years. But....they've added Spanish to their liturgy, since 40% of the households in their zipcode are Spanish-speaking.  They have copies of the Sunday's gospel available in Polish and Spanish upon request. The people are friendly, and don't glare at visitors. There's a churchmember with hot pink dreadlocks. The prayer requests and church activities show that they're seriously plugged into their neighborhood+ city and aware of injustice around the world. They talk about Jesus and Sin and Redemption and the Resurrection a lot.  In the Prayers of the People, when the bulletin says "add your own requests silently or aloud," people actually add requests out loud. The bulletin is easy to follow, they choose good hymns, they offer Italian classes for children....like I said, it's a major crush. Of course, the rector didn't preach either of the two Sundays we visited, so I feel a bit like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's the only church we've visited here, it can't possibly be as good as it seems....I'll probably get tied up and held hostage in the parish hall if we go to coffee hour.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On blogging

I've been blogging on some platform or another since I started college. That's about 10 1/2 years now, and it's still not something I do well, but it's something I've been doing differently these days.

In 2003, as an isolated and terrified first year undergrad, I was desperately throwing thoughts into the void of the internet, hoping that something would answer back and tell me that I wasn't alone. I made "internet friends" this way- some with whom I still exchange Christmas cards and witty Facebook banter. There's nothing wrong with that (provided that you're careful about who your internet friends are). I also found blogging a venue for communicating more deeply with a handful of friends who were far off or pressed for time. When an unforgettably dear friend committed suicide in 2005, it was my blog community and my books that pulled me through.

Then, I started over. I moved to the MidAtlantic coast  and did an internship. I moved to the Deep South and started graduate school. For the first time in my entire life, in graduate school I wasn't "the weird kid." Things were hard, horribly hard. Three grandparents lost- first to Alzheimer's and then death.  A chronic illness diagnosis, followed by two years of trying to find a treatment plan that worked. Things were often good, too. I made some of the best friends of my life. I worked hard-I wrote, I published, I received enough diplomas to wallpaper a room. I managed to navigate young adulthood with a bit of poise and dignity and to offer others some grace, instead of stumbling through things. Somewhere in this process, blogging stopped being about reaching out and started being about saying things well. I needed to learn how to build my sentences, to practice choosing the right words. Blogging has been an exercise, one that keeps my mind and typing fingers limber and ready for emails to research participants, papers, reports. Blog posts have been mostly read by strangers on the internet, pointed here by google, and quickly passing through.

But it seems that season has ended. Lately  I haven't been able to document small projects or make many carefully crafted observations about life. I've moved again- this time to  the Frozen Northlands- and I have a practicum to complete, a dissertation to write, and an illness to manage. I have no idea how it's all going to go, but I'll gladly invite you to pull up your virtual chair and the warm beverage of your choice to join me.