Recently I logged into blogger.com while I was teaching a workshop, and when I did so my legacy bio from 2005 popped up onto the screen in front of the audience. It was a bit embarrassing to see my just-barely-in-grad-school self on that big screen and to realize just how much time has passed in the interim. I don’t live with any of those people anymore (I’m over 6 years divorced from John and the kiddos both live in their own apartments in different cities from me) and I’ve long since finished my Ph.D. While I still enjoy my afternoon cuppa and I do spend a lot of my discretionary time gardening, I rarely define myself by those hobbies. Of course I am still a cancer survivor and I am still am amputee, but I would probably not advertise those aspects of myself in front of an audience while I was speaking on a professional topic.
This is a pretty good example of how the internet doesn’t forget much, despite the fact that I’ve rather strategically moved my URLs around enough that my decades-ago blogwriting is not so easily discoverable. It still happens often that near-strangers will mention to me that “they’ve been reading my blog…” and I am left feeling like I’ve just left my junior high school diary open on a park bench.
So perhaps this is the perfect segue to an announcement about the talk that I’ll be giving at my alma mater on March 1st. It will be an opportunity to reminisce a bit about my life as a blogger along with my colleague Jeff Wasserstrom. If you’re interested in hearing some of my stories (including, perhaps, how it felt to have my decades-old blogger bio pop up in my workshop last week), please consider yourself invited to join in!
(And it is not without a large feeling of fondness that I note the location of this event is one of my former favorite UCI study haunts, which is now named after my best-ever UCI Bio prof).
It seems a season of returns, for me. I just barely returned to work after having to take off three weeks due to an urgent medical issue. I am about to return to the classroom, after a summer away from teaching responsibilities. Earlier this season I returned to vegetable gardening, a hobby that’s been on hold for about five years. And perhaps most largely, I feel as though I am returning to being myself again, after several months (years, even) of struggling with health challenges that left me drained of my typical vim.
I have intentions of other returns, soon. As soon as my doctor gives me the thumbs-up, I will return to outrigger canoeing and to daily yoga and to evening neighborhood walks and to globe-trotting. I expect that not to be far away(!).
It seems that I also have the inclination to return to writing. For so many (many) months I simply lost interest. It felt like anything I wanted to say had already been said. Or that I simply wanted to read long novels and putter in the soil and giggle with friends and watch BBC comedies, instead of throwing out my thoughts at a keyboard.
But those writing feelings are coming back again. I don’t know if they’ll stick or if they’ll get subsumed in the other stuff that’s keeping me busy these days.
We shall see.
Recently I came across the Impossible Things blog through the story of the author’s coffeeshop interaction with Russell Kirsch. I poked around the site a bit and was impressed with the author’s verve. I’m the kind of person who likes big challenges, and doing “impossible things” seems a great approach to life.
Perhaps what I found most provocative on his site, was this phrase:
Live a good story. Then don’t be afraid to tell people about it.
Because I’m struggling a bit with the telling of my life story these days. Some days I’m just not interested in sharing–the initial adrenaline rush that came from being all wide-and-open on the internet simply isn’t there for me anymore. Also, I’m feeling a need to resist the tidy narratives that are often created for my blogposts–the rosy-colored tint of my voice here feeling a bit too saccharine for the realities of my current day-to-day experience.
But there’s some irony in my reticence to share, because quite simply, my life is more interesting and blog-worthy than it ever has been before. This past year I’ve traveled to more cities than I can hardly recall, had dramatic romantic encounters that would rival anything on the big screen, have supported my kids through some of the most important transitions in their lives, and have welcomed more friends & food & flowers into my daily experience than I could have ever imagined. All that, while learning being a breadwinner, finishing my doctoral degree, and being at the peak of physical health.
The other day Catgirl stepped into my office and asked me if I was writing my life story yet. She thinks I have some important stories to tell. And perhaps that’s just the motivation that I need to get the job done.