Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"So be it! See to it!"--and Other Words of Wisdom

--Yesterday morning, I realized that I had thrown out an unfinished rough draft of my Jesus Goes to Fashion School poem.  It was in a stack of papers that I brought home from church, and I dumped it all into the recycling bin.

--On a different day, I might have gone out to the bin to dig it out--but yesterday morning, it was raining torrentially, and I didn't relish the thought of finding it.  Plus, I thought I could reconstruct the poem.  As I was writing it, I wasn't truly pleased, and so I thought I'd experiment.  I'd let the draft go, and write a new one last night.

--Last night, however, I wasn't feeling like writing.  Happily, this morning my mood had shifted, and so, I wrote another draft of the poem, a draft which I like better.

--Why didn't I write last night?  I was tired rather early in the evening--and so I sat and deleted old e-mails while listening to the coverage of the Iowa Caucuses.

--I didn't expect to be so interested in the coverage.  I've been finding political news stuff tiring for the past several years.  I'm so tired of everyone's anger.  Just accomplish something, and then go off and be angry.  Figure out a way to work together like the grown ups that we're supposed to be, at least on a project or two.

--But last night I was hearing the voices of ordinary citizens who showed up on a cold night to caucus for hours--more dedication, I might point out, than many of us would demonstrate.  I found the voices of those citizens so inspiring, even when I didn't agree with them.  I loved that they had carefully considered their choices.  I love that they took it all so seriously.

--It made me feel hope.  I so need to feel hope.

--The last week at work (from last Wed through yesterday) has left me a bit dispirited--lots of initiatives regarding curriculum strengthening and the like, that leaves me saying to myself, "This would have been great a few years ago when I had more people working for and around me, but we simply do not have the staff to do what you envision."

--Yesterday a colleague asked me if I had any materials from the time when I was on a committee that evaluated student applications for a scholarship.  I am now one of the ones of institutional memory--and lots and lots of data stored.  I was able to find what she needed, but to do that, I looked through all sorts of old, electronic files.

--I was both impressed with all that we used to do, and saddened to think about some of what we no longer do.  I try to remind myself that we're doing good stuff now too--eight years from now, when I'm looking through all the files that I'm creating now, will I feel the same emotions?

--But let me remember, too, the good parts of the past week.  I want to remember our beautiful afternoon on Sunday.  We moved to the front porch, where my spouse worked on his classes, and I read the first 8 chapters of Hard Times.  I drank wine and nibbled some cheese and thought about other front porches, like my grandmother's.  I would sit on her front porch and luxuriate in the feeling of watching the world go by at a lazy pace.  Sunday was like that.  It filled me with gratitude.

--Speaking of our emotional lives, I was interested to explore ideas that are coming to light as scholars organize the papers of Octavia Butler--and thanks to Jeannine for the link in her blog post to the materials.  I love the assortment of notes that we find here.  Her notebook page where she tries to figure out how to pay the rent while she's waiting for her publisher to pay--well, it breaks my heart, while at the same time, I know how the story ends.  I want to say, "Hang on.  You'll win a MacArthur.  Your works will be taught across the nation.  Better times are coming soon."

--Let me see if I can paste a picture of her motivational self talk.  Here are her dreams and goals:

--I need to remember that many authors who go on to be very important to the canon must endure years of perseverance.  Just because we haven't been anointed yet does not mean that we're not good enough.

--In Butler's words: "So be it!  See to it!"

--February 2 is also a congruence of holidays that celebrate light, the stirring of new life, the fact that Spring draws closer: Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, and Oimelc.  If you need something spiritual for your Candlemas reading, see this post on my theology blog.

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