I promised myself I’d try to blog at least once a month this year, so here it is. I don’t really have anything in the bloggy draft that I’m ready to click publish with, and I just realized that September does not have another day. In this hellscape we call America, everyday feels like Tuesday. Let’s see. How about some quick thoughts. Fun facts.
1] I did a quick search with the phrases “faculty development,” “burnout” along with the the word “trauma” today and I thought through the essay I would write for faculty developers. Not now. Someday. I’ve been dying to use the Battlestar Gallactica saying “So Say We All” for years as a title. This might be the essay. Can’t possibly write what I’m thinking until we’re on the other side of whatever the fuck this is.
2] I am so entirely in love with curbside pick-up at my local library. Once a week I ride my bike to pick up my four or five books, and I try to smile with my eyes as I thank the lovely librarian who is giving me a bag full of books. I do, however, miss rummaging through the free magazines and old books in the basement. It’s usually me and three dudes who look Jerry Garcia and smell like they have questionable hygiene practices. One dude has been wearing the same sweater for the entire time I’ve lived in Bellingham. I moved here in 1998. I miss those guys.
3] I’ve been reading up a storm. Totally making up for those shitty years for personal reading also known as graduate school. I inhaled Can’t Even: How The Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson. How have I been on this Earth for so long without knowing the phrase “Hope Labor?” I was the Queen of Hope Labor while I was an adjunct. First but not last of her name. Storm born. Breaker of chains.
I stared into space a lot while reading the history of unions in that book, and since I live with somebody who researches about generations, we talked about it all weekend. Or I talked about what I was reading and he got riled up about Boomers and capitalism. Pure joy for me. Lots to dissect with regards to this very fucked moment we are living in, and as a latchkey Gen X’er whose life was blown apart by the disappearing industry of what we now call the Rust Belt, I have a lot of empathy for that generation. And I have to tell you, because I want to stay in a good mood, the sections on social media and being a parent (I can’t use the word “parenting;” it’s like the word “hella” or “influencer”–I just don’t get it. I am the But Why Cat when I hear those words). Okay, social media. Yes. I am so glad I experienced love in the pre-times of social media. When I finally burned all of the notes and letters from a person who broke my heart, it was so satisfying. I rose from the ashes a new woman who would never fall for that shit again. Changing your relationship status to “Single” just wouldn’t have been the same. These are the things I thought about while my brain and heart needed a break from capitalism.
3] I’m reading–very slowly–one woman at a time–Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers and Mavericks Who Shape How We See The Natural World by Kathryn Aalto, and it reads a lot like an Intro to Ecofeminism collection which I’m totally down with, by the way. I suffered through a class taught by an Eco-Critic (ah, the early aughts, so cute) and I wish this book had existed then instead of the bullshit overpriced anthology I had to buy for the class that was supposed to be on literary theory, but we just talked about his research the whole time. Anyhoo.
When I got to the chapter on Mary Oliver, I was having a particularly rough morning where it had been a week–as in seven days that feel like Tuesday–since I made it through a morning without crying. Aalto explicates the poem The Summer Day which I love love love. This quote made me laugh. Snapped me right out The Funk. The dark corners got light again when I read these words:
“At the end, she asks a question that, paired with the wild animals, prompts us to take stock: ‘What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
To that very question, Oliver once replied in an interview, ‘I used up a lot of pencils.”
This wild wonderful life feels a bit on pause right now, but you know, So Say We All.
Pencils, yes. That rings true and reminds me too of that little throw away missive I remember from a Kurt Vonnegut book. He mentioned foot prints int he sand making a trail off into the distance. Each one said, “I was here, I was here, I was here, I was here.” And So Say We All. We are here, we are here, we are here.