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New Blog

 Sam: “There are ways to speak out that don’t scream ‘look at me.’”

Gabe: “Are there? Because if so, they seem to have eluded you, no?”

                                                                              —Dear White People, Vol. 2, Ch. 8

My entirely true explanation for why I took a sabbatical two years early is “so I wouldn’t quit my job in a huff.” At my university, folks have to sign a form promising not to run away forever but to return and work for at least one year after the sabbatical. Therefore, by scheduling the sabbatical, I was guaranteeing myself not only something to look forward to in Spring 2018—which would keep me from quitting in a huff in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Fall 2017—but also an obligation not to quit in a huff before completing Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.

Nevertheless. Things I have seriously considered doing this summer: going to law school; applying for any of a handful of vaguely writing- or editing-related jobs advertised within a 60-mile radius of where I live; teaching high school; and returning to freelance editing, which I enjoyed doing before and during graduate school. I interviewed for and was offered a high school teaching job, which I turned down after much soul-searching.

It’s entirely possible that I’m burned out in my job.

I’m making some changes in what I do at my job, making some changes in my level of political engagement (I took a year off from political activity because I didn’t have the bandwidth), and making some changes in my health-promoting activities.

Another change is to return to blogging, but with the attempt to use the blog to get more of what I want in life: conversation and connection. So I’ve changed the address of the blog and transferred over my content from the previous website (in the transfer, a lot of the pictures got lost, likely because they were copyrighted photos I pulled from the web). But the bigger change is not just the URL but also that I want to make my blog posts less polished. With the previous blog, I wrote essays. I love essays, and I love writing essays, but by focusing my energy on creating finished products, I made it less likely that dialogue would result, less likely that I would continue working out ideas in conversation with others. Writing essays also puts attention on me as the writer, and frankly I don’t like receiving attention all that much.

I was very quiet during my sabbatical, and I got a lot of scholarly work done. But I also spent some time looking at how other academics are using blogging and social media to work through ideas in community. I have a strong distrust for anything that smacks of “branding” or marketing myself as a human or as a Smart Person™ product—there is such an astonishing amount of bullshit in academia—but . . . I’d like to talk about things with more people, more often. I have been very quiet for six months, and I want to make some noise again.

I want conversation, and I want to be part of conversations about how new ideas can inform and shape scholarly work, public discourse, and even everyday life. But I also don’t like to scream “look at me,” and most days that’s how posting on Facebook feels to me (and I can’t even with Twitter). So if you have enjoyed my blog posts in the past, or if you followed my blog at the previous URL, please bookmark this URL or follow the blog (if you’re a WordPress user). Maybe sometimes I’ll post a link on Facebook, but I’d like to post on this blog more frequently, and more informally, than the longer and more polished essays I was posting to the previous site, and there’s just no way I can bring myself to post links to Facebook every day or even every week, because I don’t want to feel pushy. If you like something I write, feel free to share it on your own social media. But especially, if you’re interested in something I’m writing about, please comment. The amazing thing about my sabbatical was having the time for once to “read to the edges” of an idea or issue, instead of just straight down the middle, in a hurry, as I’d been doing for all the years and years and years of combining academic work with parenting. After six months of reading and writing and being quiet, I’m ever more awed by the quantity of amazing work that people are doing, and I’m completely unaware of most of it, because there isn’t time enough. What are your ideas or experiences or bits of knowledge that I can learn from?

Things I want to write about soon:

  • Stuff related to teaching Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture for the first time ever this fall
  • Getting involved in the Allen County Stonewall Democrats group again
  • Atheist literary theory
  • Food, meditation, exercise, feeling stuff
  • Feminism, activism, and feeling powerless

6 Replies to “New Blog”

    1. I think I would loooooooooove geeking out on law school stuff, but I don’t want the debt, so it’s cheaper to try to figure out what I can do with what I’ve already got in my head.

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  1. I’m looking forward to reading, Rachel. There’s a lot here that I’d like to talk about too, though I’d much rather talk than comment. I’m not sure how to get over that, but I’ll think about it. I’m very glad you’re doing this.

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