Monday, January 02, 2006
Since I got back from my holiday, I have been nursing a horrific case of the Flu which my entire family has contracted. Apparently we passed each other a bit more than hugs, kisses and presents. But if the New Year is a time for reflection, then even more reflection is accomplished while you are laid up in bed with a box of Kleenex, juice and flanked by a lovely cat and dog and Husband. Propped up at a forty-five degree angle so I can get some oxygen to my brain, I felt a bit uneasy. Last year was a year of crises, a year of “must get this done” and “must run interference here.” In such a space, you often have little time to think and only moments to react . . . and . . . one hopes . . . . react correctly. It wasn’t a bad year as I accomplished a great deal and the crisis I, and my family, faced ended well for the most part. But living in crisis means living in “reaction” mode. Now that most of the emergencies have passed, I have time to reflect, think and plan. This is what makes me uneasy. I wonder how I got here and what the hell am I going to do now? When I went back to school, I did so because I couldn’t see anything else to do. Moving to Fort Lauderdale, I couldn’t find a teaching job with the master’s degree I had as no university programs offered pure humanities courses for me to teach. I searched high and low but could not find a job to save my life until my husband found a place for me at his company exchanging season tickets for customers at a small box office window all day long. I was happy for the job but I must admit that it was as challenging and stimulating as an enema. If I needed a PhD to teach, well that’s what I would do. I found a program insane enough to take me and I got to work. But now I am wondering if this is the life I want. I don’t mean to trash the world of academia, but I question whether I fit into this world of conferences and papers. I love the teaching part, as there is little more exciting than opening a student’s mind to the wider world; it is politics that I tend to object to and all the “kissing butt” required that I have issues with. Yet this program I am in has done more then show me the pitfalls of academia, it has opened my eyes and my mind in a way I had not anticipated. I am a changed person. I am awakened. It has also wreaked havoc on my writing. When all you do is write “academic” papers, your writing voice becomes, I am sad to say, a bit destroyed. I have tried and tried to marry my “sensibilities” in this area, but find it almost impossible to do. I don’t even remember what my poetic voice sounded like. In this world, metaphors are considered dangerous and stream of consciousness writing sloppy. It is about exactness, research and clinical presentation. I feel sterilized to death. Yet the good outweighs the bad. The awakening is a blessing. My next path, confusing. Uncertainty might be this year’s theme. But then, I have to ask myself, if life every certain? To all present, here is to a New Year of discoveries and uncharted paths.