This blog will keep me honest.
I remember how I used to write and it frustrates me that I am not so addicted to the act anymore. I remember having thoughts, that I once thought clever and original, needing to be shared. Re-reading old posts however, makes me realize what a child I was just a few years ago. I'm wiser now but more aware of how I must sound, in the most negative way.
I want to cut through everything and start with more honesty.
My wife did a play last year, Orlando, maybe you've read the book. I remember being struck by the protagonist's desire to write an authentic sentence.
Despite feelings of great authenticity these days, my writing remains so .... petty. There's something I have to share. I need to find it. I might just move to a different place (digitally) to do that. This was never a platform for honesty I suppose.
Hey, it's Tuesday.... anyone read Family Circus today? It makes a good point regarding women's driving skills.
It just continues to get longer and longer between posts now. In the last year I lost my mother and my dog. It's hard.
I can't help feeling holidays won't be fun any more.
Then today I found out an old livejournal friend, whom I had no idea was sick, died.
This year, I will write more about the past, for my own sanity I guess.
Nostalgia dulls mortality's sharp edges.
There is a pep rally today. (Barf)
There are so many unimportant things that I could write about, just to be able to say to myself I practiced writing today. I'd rather there were a few important things. These days when I teach history I find myself questioning the nature of the value of what I am doing. The class is called history, but the students I teach .... if they are wrestling with any dilemmas of history they are doing so at a very low level. The state mostly wants me to teach them a small set of facts and even smaller set of useful concepts. Those concepts I can often take pride in, but then find myself wondering what use these students will make of their understanding of how the stock market works, or what happens when trade barriers rise. Some days I concentrate on just helping them become better writers (Their English teacher does not seem to be working with them at all on this skill) This is something fundamental that can help them throughout life (I hope) Then I find myself wondering if teaching them to write properly would even serve them that well, when everyone seems to be transitioning to internet grammar.
I'm thinking I might start blogging somewhere else.
The week before Easter was my spring break, which I chose to celebrate with the traditional hanging of the bat box. This slender wooden hut, which you hang fifteen feet in the air, is supposed to serve as an irresistible habitat for any number of species of bats. These are supposed to fly around in the summer eating mosquitoes and other bitey insects, meaning I can hold "drinks and dancing" parties on my patio (where I have already hung a string of old fashioned looking party lights).
While I was planting my extension ladder firmly in the ground, in preparation of the ceremonial nailing of the bat box to a tree, I heard a sharp pathetic wailing from the ground underneath it. Uncovering the leaves which lay there, revealed loose fur. Uncovering the loose fur revealed baby rabbits. (Don't worry, none were crushed by the ladder) Ever since then I have been checking on these guys every day hoping we will have a Utopian bunny backyard this summer. What could go wrong?
I am still here, and still dedicated to the practice of writing, despite another lull in posting. In this instance it was not a slackening of my efforts but rather circumstances of business beyond my control, and by "business" I mean "busy-ness", which is how I always remembered how to spell that word.
Like my use of double quotes there? One of my favorite jokes about double quotes was done by Tim Meadows in one of his Carpet Brothers episodes where he is being interviewed and keeps using hand air quotes inappropriately;
Tim: Yes, we are "in debt" but we are also "very good"
Interviewer: Why do you keep making quotes with your fingers?
Tim: When people "do this" they mean "sarcastically"
Interviewer: So when you said you were "very good" you were being sarcastic?
Tim (pausing to think for a moment): ...... "yes"
At any rate I have been very busy lately, but spring break is coming up giving me a week to "relax" Yeah right. I will be staining and finishing a bunch of my wood projects and studying math to get certified among other things.
NPR, playing a story about parents who have to watch their little kid slowly die, at 8:30 am as I am coming to school late, forcing me to come into my office having obviously just cried. Thanks, thanks a bunch. <-- Sarcasm.
I usually just try to dismiss my feelings on this stuff, thinking "Everyone dies after all." and that I shouldn't reserve special feelings for people who die in mudslides, terrorist attacks, or mass shootings. However, (and my eyes are rolling at myself at this) NOW THAT I'M A PARENT anything about kids in peril truly does tend to tug at the back of my brain a little more.
It's for completely selfish reasons, "That could be my kid." you know?
I'm presently reading Peasants Into Frenchmen for something like the tenth time. I've read it for three days in a row. This is what I've come to consider an accomplishment. Like I said yesterday, "small victories" or as the French would say, "petite victoires"
Speakeing of "the French" a great deal of the early book is, as you might guess, about how to be French really only meant to be an urbanite in the territory controlled by France for much of the 19th century (and even so, mostly Parisian) Which leads me to wonder if patriotism isn't the last shamelessly manufactured sentiment which is still universally endorsed by mainstream politicians and even the media at large.
Parenting seems to be a long chain of small victories interspersed with realizations that I need to get to bed earlier. It's understandable that we don't, we try to re-capture some of the sense of what life used to be like every night after 7:00, but really when I don't get sleep the night before what do I spend the extra up time doing? Facebooking, browsing for Amazon shit, and playing mindless games on the Wii, online, or on my kindle, which I pretty much never use for actually reading books. When I can get to bed by 10:00 my days and nights are so much more productive.
Regarding those times, I gather we are pretty lucky. For the last four months or so Fiona has settled into a sleep pattern of going down between 6:30 - 7:30 and waking up between 6:30 - 7:30. We still do the scared parent thing of making sure she's breathing when we feel she's being "too quiet". Anyhow, this stuff really doesn't seem that hard so far. It's probably the fact that there's only one small person take care of in addition to the other big person and the dog (who's getting really old by the way). Sara and I agreed not to discuss or even think about another baby until Fiona is a year old, but it's hanging there at the back of both of our minds. I'm afraid we're going to have a divergence of opinion ... maybe I'll be surprised.
I wish to thank you for encouraging me to post, person who is apparently still reading this.
I've decided, again, that I truly need to reintroduce myself to the habit of writing on a more regular basis. If not for my sanity, then for any hope of another superfluous graduate degree. You see, I've found that the county will basically pay for the lion's share of my next fifteen graduate credits. This would put me about halfway towards a masters in something new, probably one of Mason's history programs. I'm wondering first how I could use one of those to begin a third career in ten years or so, (maybe in editing?) Secondly I'm wondering if I'll have the energy to even take one of those classes with a wife still active in the Washington theater scene and a little girl who is about to start walking around.
I do hope that I can, as I certainly enjoyed the two graduate history classes I have already taken. The challenge in each of them, towards the end, was not the reading, which I worried the most about, but the writing assignments. These were particularly challenging for someone who is used to throwing together things at the last minute relying on slightly above average cleverness and originality. These traits are, of course, not quite as uncommon among graduate students, even at Mason.
At any rate, I think I'll set myself a challenge of writing in this old thing some more and see what sticks. If by the end of June, I've been a good boy, I'll go ahead and jump on a course this fall.
It's Friday, and (knock on wood) my classes all seem pretty cool. Still honeymoon period though. Still, it's good to have a week under my belt, even if it was only 3.5 days long.
Fiona is really enjoying daycare, and I'm really enjoying my time with her. We dance everyday when she gets home, and she usually falls alseep, regardless of the music I'm playing. It's given me a good way to go through my record collection and purge (again) Do I really need three John Denver albums? Probably not. Which one will make the cut? Tune in next week to find out.