Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Treading Water

Monday, December 12, 2011—Irvine, CA

Pouring rain today, but patchy: there are spots here and there where the sun is shining thru and there’s hardly a drop to be found (there are also areas where the sun is out and the rain still coming down hard). I had a wet, miserable, and dangerous trip out to work today—this is not the kind of weather in which to be driving a 50cc scooter. I did see one of the best rainbows I’ve ever encountered. As I turned from Edwards onto McFadden it was suddenly there: a pastel green, yellow, and rose arch that looked like it was right out of some kids picture book terminating into a bright sunny section of McFadden some mythical distance beyond. Makes one understand the basis for religion, in the days before our hyper-empirical world, before the triumph of materialism.

Feeling myself slipping out of school mode. This was time in months that I spent a day only doing non-teaching related things. It felt good, to the point where it’s got me back to really trying to figure out how to end this sojourn in the academic world. My current job has been much on my mind for another reason as well. The full-time position that I knew was coming down the pipe at Irvine Valley finally has arrived; I have until February 28th to apply for it. Though I’ve already contacted some people about writing rec letters for me, I’m leaning against going for it. Teaching has been a good experience, but I’m a writer—and to take a full-time academic job would all but end that. I’m realizing that I’m facing the same decision I did when I decided to bail out on the Ph.D. program at UC Santa Barbara several years ago. Then I felt my true identity, my true purpose on this planet being slowly devoured by my then still-widening commitment to anthropology. I made the right decision then when I left UCSB and avoiding this job is probably the right decision now. Still, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to make some decent money and not have to live a hand to-mouth-existence. I just have to remember that I’ve got two great books in the can and more on the way, that I’m not a wannabe writer like a I was a decade ago. I am now a real writer, which means, by definition, that that’s my future as well. Still, I’ll agonize about all this for a while—that just seems to be my nature …

What else. Feeling a strong need to start the Greek book. I’ve decided to print up my diary entries from last summer and start reworking them into … something. I’m beginning to see the book as a collection of travel sketches, connected in an Impressionist kind of way more than thru any linear narrative. This will work well for a lot of reasons, but perhaps most importantly it will solve the time issues that will crop up because the book will be based on at least two trips; I can mix and match experiences, collapse time, do whatever I need to make things flow and not have to worry about it all making temporal sense. This will also probably mean that each section of the book can be read on its own, which will also mean that I might be able to sell a few of them as travel pieces with little to no reworking. Getting excited about this project. As I mentioned in the previous entry, I’m really feeling the need to write these days—it’s time for another go round with the muse …

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