So I may have finally made some kind of decision in regards to the next few years of my life. 

I was reading some paper comments from one of my grad professors and he observed that it seemed like I was pursuing my passions by being in school. And I though, Wow, I guess I never quite thought about it that way. Over the years I’ve been through my share of different career aspirations, architect, politician, editor, and I finally chose English because it was really what I cared about – and was good at.

So I asked myself,  if I could do anything that would just be for me with my life, what would it be? And the quickest answer I could reach was to keep going to grad school after my Masters to get my Ph.D. Now I know how incredibly hard it will all be, and all the extra work I’m going to have to do, but it’s work that I believe I can do. Pursuing a career in publishing, however, is work that I am mostly unfamiliar with, and with this economy I could end up with a MA working some menial little job. If I find a job at all. 

But then, another voice says maybe I won’t like teaching –fortunately I have next year to figure this out.

The funny thing is, with thinking about all the things I will have to do to be accepted into another school, it is somehow comforting because I can make a list – it’s less unknown. And the list is looong. Retaking the GREs (because, lets be honest, they were not good), rewriting all my statements, getting new letters of recommendation, picking a really good writing sample. Finding many more schools to apply to – last year I only applied to places in California, which was limiting, and I really don’t want to have to leave the state, but I need to think about my options. And of course, it all rides on the money. I’m not goint to take on three more years of debt, ending up with almost -$100,000 when you’re trying to be a professor is not so good. At all. So in this perpetually icky economy, I’m going to have to find someone to finance me. Or give me a TA position that will pay the bills.

And if, in the end, I don’t get in anywhere, at least I will know that I tried my best and that I’m supposed to do something else.

Oddly enough, while I was coming to all these revelations, Michael already knew that I was going to make this decision; he felt that if I didn’t go all the way I would regret it and end up doing it anyway. So maybe I’m more transparent than I thought. Or maybe it’s just very evident that I love what I do. Because at the end of the day, I do.

milkshaketh Though reading over 40 pages of Oliver Goldsmith and John Clare last night was not so fun actually. Clare’s poem is written in an odd form of English where it seems like he’s really misspelling half of the words, but he isn’t. Think wanna-be Middle English.

It’s funny, yesterday in my teaching comp seminar we were talking about the difference between ‘free’ writing and academic writing, and as other students were talking about how academic work can be stuffy and annoying to write, I was thinking that I actually like it. Even though I may not understand half of the theory I read, I still like it. Literary masochism, maybe?

And can I just say, reading theory about teaching is a weird experience. While you can’t read literary theory and tell someone to stop speculating and go out and put it in practice, with teaching you can. Just stop talking about voice and go teach a class. Because as far as teaching writing goes, we really don’t much.

But I guess being able to say that you are anti-Elbonian in your teaching style make one sound smart, no?

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As ‘they’ say, there’s a calm before the storm, but what about after? When all the excitement or destruction has moved on and the dust has settled, what’s left? I don’t think it could be called calm….and if it did, well I guess we’d better expect another storm.

Whoever said that things will inevitably return to normal was also a little…off. Because once things have gone through so many changes, who the heck knows what this normal is or how to recognize it, and of course the previous normal isn’t normal anymore at all! If I move to another house, but have the same furniture and wear the same clothes and put my morning coffee in the same mug, does that mean I’m back to normal? Even if all my things are arranged in different ways and I drink my coffee at a different time because I no longer have to wake up at the same time? And when does normal start? When boredom sets in?

The sticky is, once we get through the changes and start to get bored of them, we look around and wish things would be ‘exciting’ – we want a life that thrills us, but without all the anxiety and strife that comes from the rush. Another rub comes from the fact that no one can really tell you what your normal will turn out to be – in fact, this is one area where cliche is often right, take the “one man’s trash is another’s treasure” or “the grass is always greener on the other side” for example. But all society seems to tell is that our concerns aren’t really our own – they belong to our angsty greater social consciousness. Therefore any solutions that get thrown at us aren’t exactly tailored to any specific needs, so they usually fail.

It remains that the majority of real help we get comes from within us, and not from some giant psycological library. Most ‘breakthroughs’ in therapy are achived when the patient is able to use a part of their own mind to illuminate another area. Certainly someone is needed to show the patient the way in, but the real work is not done by the therapist (sorry Freud). Maybe that’s why we get so lonely these days, we get stuck in our own minds when everything around us is screaming “come outside and listen to what we have to say!!”

So here I am, sitting, looking around and wondering if this is what my life is, now. Which isn’t a bad thing. And another thought: having a very adorable and furry kitten sit on your lap and purr is very reassuring. Plus, since she keeps trying to sit on my laptop, I think I must stop writing now.

Maybe it’s a good idea if the other shoe never drops.