Sunday, February 25, 2007

What on Earth?

Why is it that after an interview I want to swear and curse and be sullen? I'm like a kid who after smiling sweetly for Grandma and the camera has to go on a tear. See the kid racing around the room, crashing my toy cars into people's feet? That's me. Street angel, house devil, my mom called it. Not that I was one. Or maybe she thought I was. Who knows what she thought? She's constantly surprised now at the things she said back then.

So where the hell have I been? Good question. Who the f*** knows. So I mourned POP Me U (idiots) and then mourned Adventure U (ditto). And though a couple of the jobs that came out recently looked decent, I just couldn't get up the excitement and funds (most require even more expensive conference fees) to do it anymore. I just wanted to work on my diss (okay, a half hour at a time, but even that's better than how much I do when worrying about the market) and be done. My MLA roommate has decided to just go on the market again in fall -- and frankly, that just seemed like the best idea.

Then there was this other issue. The existential crisis. Though I love teaching and my research, I feel like I have not been working on the one thing that I've always wanted to do. The thing I value before all other things. The reason why being an academic had once seemed like such a good idea. Writing. And though I've written drips and drabs, I feel like I haven't written anything worthwhile. Okay, except maybe this blog. But I think it was the blog -- and getting some good and supportive feedback about it -- that made me think I could write, despite rejection slips aplenty. At different points in my program, upset about the loss of my writer self, I've slid into the self-obsessed pit of despond. People who love me enough to put up with me when I'm in this trying mood have said reasonably: after your dissertation, why don't you take some time off and write something? And having slid again into this totally unreasonable murk, I heard some echo of that wisdom and thought what a good idea.

Well, that's what I thought a couple days after my SO suggested moving in with him and writing. The first couple days I was thinking about all the things I would lose: financial (and thus actual) independence, structure, academic time, community, blah, blah, blah. At about the time that I calmed down and realized that my SO was actually Willy Wonka and that I was the holder of a golden ticket and so f***ing lucky it hurts, I got an email. From Adventure U. Wanting another interview. Which I have now completed. I don't feel great about it. But who f***ing knows?

So all that said, why oh why haven't I been blogging??? Partly because I didn't feel I had anything cute to say. Somehow I had talked myself into this idea that I should be fabulously entertaining on my blog -- that if you come to dinner at Absurdist Paradise, you should be entertained by Earnest's witty banter right up to the moment that her cigarette ash falls into the scrambled eggs she's passing off as a meal. Or I should be Bridget Jonesing for you every minute. (Which shouldn't be pressure because I do that without trying.)

Or maybe I haven't been blogging because I've unnecessarily limited the blog to my academic life. So when trying to explore my writing life, the blog didn't seem like the space to do that in. Pretty stupid, eh? I haven't been reading other academic blogs either. I'm going to remedy that right now. But I do want to thank all of you who've been checking here to see if I had gotten off my lazy ass and written something. It means a lot to me. I'll try not to go AWOL again soon.


Tiruncula said...

It seems to be the season for existential crises. Some pretty cool possibilities, or at least ideas, are coming up around the b'osphere, among which writing of a more public sort than what we do for our tenure/diss committees seems to be a prominent option. Amazing isn't it, that it should seem odd that a bunch of bloggers should suddenly say, "Oh, I could write something other than my diss/book," like it never occurred to us that that's what we do as procrastination every day? It certainly never occurred to me. My next post, or next but one, is going to be about things I do as procrastination that maybe I should start thinking about as my real work. But first, a little more coffee and a walk for the quadrupeds.

Hilaire said...

First of all, congrats on the second interview!! Whether it went beautifully or not, it says something that they wanted to see you again, right?

And hey, you know, re the blogging thing. I suspect you will start to become more comfortable with this forum after doing it for just a little bit longer. At least, I did. The first 3-4 months, I felt pretty constrained and uncertain in my uses of it. It was only, say, in October, that I could relax, and not obsessively reread each post, scrutinizing myself. Obviously everyone's different - but I do wonder if ways to exercise this writing voice will become clearer with time...

medieval woman said...

That's awesome about the second interview! Please keep us posted on any developments.

And you don't have to be entertaining all the time (even though you are) - most of my posts are fluff. I like reading about other people's fluff...

Earnest English said...

Tiruncula: Yes, I've noticed throughout the blogosphere that there are a number of us having such crises. I'm not alone! (And I love reading about them, so keep it up!)

Hilaire: Thanks! I AM happy about being asked for a second more in-depth interview. Cross your fingers. And I think I'm going to expand the ole blog a bit. Changes upcoming!

MedWom MedWom: Okay, I just wanted to say that again. Fluff upcoming!