Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Full circle, with improvements

In 2007, I started this blog to find a community.  I was at the time a middle-Assistant Professor working on a critical book project and feeling keenly the absence of the kind of camaraderie and sympathy that many of us experience in graduate school--you know, that sense that we're all in this together, that we share many of the same challenges, benchmarks, and concerns.  I hadn't yet found that kind of community at my institution, and the isolation was amplified by my general sense of my professional disconnectedness.  I mean, when we leave grad school for the profession, we know a few people that we see at conferences from time to time, and we usually have a sense of who our critical peeps are, though we may know them primarily through their writings rather than personally, but there's certainly not a sense of real integration into the field's conversation yet, or at least I didn't have that sense.  Moreover, in 2007 I was recently separated from my kids' dad, living in my parents' basement, and maintaining a very limited social circulation as I contemplated the wreckage that had been my family.

It was not my best time.  I spent a lot of hours in my head, which reinforced my sense of separation from all the, well, human pleasures that attracted me to the humanities in the first place.

This blog was a crucial mooring line for me for those years.  Through this blog, I connected not only with folks who were facing some of the same challenges and changes that I was, but also with scholars who would become my friends, scholars whose work would influence me, scholars who would give me direction as I made my way into the profession.  We ain't in in alone, and perhaps counterintuitively, I have found a lovely and inspiring community in this semi-anonymous context, for which I'm deeply grateful.

My life now looks different:  I'm an Associate Prof who has been "honored" as of this year with a significant administrative appointment.  I have colleagues in my department and in the profession at large who have grown into a community much like that nostalgic one from grad school--trusted readers, sympathetic cheerleaders, sharp interlocutors.  I've remarried, a lovely partner whom I can trust with all my insecurities, and my kids are happy and well-adjusted.

And as of this morning, it appears that the book that served both as center of gravity and as emblem for all my anxieties and self-doubts, the very project that launched this blog into existence, will be published.

I've found of late that I don't have much to say on this blog.  This is in part because, you know, I'm doing pretty well after all.  And there's no narrative drama in that position.  Besides, the few things that continue to exercise me are largely unbloggable.  I considered for a while uncloaking, and making this blog into a kind of professional instrument.  But that's sounding unappealing in its sheer self-promotion.

A couple of years back, I posted this about how we plan out our time and energy.  In a New Yorker essay David Sedaris suggested that our lives are like stoves with four burners, representing family, friends, health, and work.  And you have to choose which burners to turn off for the other burners to function at full capacity.  For a long time the energy I put into this blog was an essential expenditure, because it was sustaining the general well-being of the stove.  But now that my stove has found a controlled balance, I'm less inclined to devote some of my time and energy to writing something here than stoking the other gratifying fires.

This is all to say what is already obvious:  Green Thoughts is probably fading into obsolescence.  Becoming autumnal.  And if I don't post another word here, I do want to take a moment to thank all the folks who visited and commented, who offered support and virtual hugs, who shared the wisdom of particular experience.  I'll keep reading y'all, and continue to bask in your adroit and useful words.

Circling back to silence, then, and ending where I begunne:  calls for a dance, don't you think?


Flavia said...

Many many congrats--on all your positive life developments!

And though I look forward to years of knowing you in real time and space, I'll miss your voice here for all those in-between-conference times.

Lisa B. said...

Oh, congratulations on the book. So very happy to hear this! And even if your blog fades and perhaps disappears--your happiness and satisfaction is a beautiful thing to witness. Yay you! Now let's have lunch and go to a movie!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Congratulations on all these good things, especially the sense of happiness I hear coming through. The book is awesome, of course, and an accomplishment. Good for you! But it's even better to hear that you feel good.

I was thinking the other day that I'm feeling so good that I might not need therapy so much anymore. That's a big breakthrough from a year ago, when I felt so stressed and chaotic that I started going twice a week.

Things get better. It's good to know.

Bardiac said...

I'll miss reading here, as I have been, but I'm glad life is treating you well. Congrats about the book!!

Kristen said...


ntbw said...

Outstanding news! Published where? E-mail me (at my new e-mail address at my new job) if you don't want to post that on the blog.

Sulpicia said...

Excellent news about the book! Delighted to hear it.

Doctor Cleveland said...

HOOO-RAAAAY! Congratulations!

And props to your editor for making a smart call!

Servetus said...

Thanks for blogging and also for not just disappearing. Your blog was a true, sane light on the horizon for me when I was struggling with vocational issues -- so as much as you were searching, you also provided a stability for others as well.

Dr. Koshary said...

Many congratulations! Glad to hear everything is so awesome now, although I'll be sorry not to read much more from you.

Do check in from time to time. We have cookies.

Leslie said...

You know I'll absolutely miss hearing your voice here if it fades away. The sadness of colleagues far away, not close by as I myself struggle to establish a community in a succession of new places.

Masssive congratulations on the book, and those you will write, and poems—born, being born, yet to be born.

Celebrate! Dance indeed!

dkm said...

Congratulations on the book! And on life generally!

Autism Types said...

Look forward to seeing your book on shelves. Good for you and great job!