It sort of crept up on me. 2013. A whole year gone by. I haven't written here for a while, I don't know that I will.
Perhaps, ironically, I shall blame my silence of the written word on my incessant travel. In 2011 I finished the long-winded behemoth of a work, I affectionately called the diss... cause, you know, it hangs like a cloud of negativity, or like the sword of Damocles, dangling above your head, ready to crash down and sever what is left of the mushy material that you liked to pretend was a brain.
With my father, oh kind man that he is, we traversed the country not once, but twice in the period of 11 months. First to move to a rural town in southern Virginia (Farmville, no joke) where I took up as a visiting professor at a men's college (of all places!). It turns out that much of last year's silence had more to do with the fact that I was living in a town of... like 5,000 people and didn't want to pontificate on easily identifiable neighbors. We shall call that the reason, not laziness, not burnout, not spiritual exhaustion, not broken-heartedness... alas.
In the 11 months that I lived in Virginia, I returned to California no less than 3 times, (both northern and central coast) spent a month in Mexico, travelled to Seattle (for the MLA), to Worcester, MA, Phoenix, AZ and Portland, OR (not to mention VA) for job interviews, went to DC thrice, South Carolina, thrice, North Carolina thrice, Florida twice Pennsylvania once (for a funeral, rest in peace, Rick)... and a handful of other shorter trips on weekends. At the end of that trial east-coast period I moved back to California, thinking it was for good, hauling myself (but not my stuff) back across the country (with Dad and I. this time)... utterly defeated and wondering if there was much left of me, emotionally, spiritually, psychically (because damn it, hard as I try, my physical disappearance is never on the menu du jour).
I had barely set foot back in my beloved Santa Barbara, sifting through feelings, some extraneous and others absolutely germane to my survival, when I was (professionally speaking) rescued by perhaps the most amazing administrator (M.) who had worked tirelessly to create a tenure-line from thin air.
In fact, this particular musing shall be my first defiant act of (pseudo-) literary procrastination of the new year, a defiance of the very task that got me my job. I have signed on to innovate... on line. This is the way of the world, and I am not opposed, in fact, I embrace the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of public education, but, sometimes, just sometimes, I, too, need a break. And break, I will take... for five minutes.
But I digress... I have landed squarely on my feet in Phoenix, Arizona... many well-meaning friends snarkily declare that I couldn't have found a worse place to be, but I disagree. I am enamored of the desert landscape, the barren sandy hills with spiny cactus protruding. I could love it here. If I could just stand still and breath. Yes, yes, the heat... it was hot. No doubt about that. 116 when we drove through in early July on our way to the coast, 116 when we arrived in mid-August to live. But the cool settled over us soon enough, and the bright blue, the wide-open sky... well... it is enough for me. For now.
I have explored in bits and spurts, but work has settled in, a rhythm that I never would have imagined as a graduate student. I have learned things about myself that I never knew... most people hate meetings. I love them. I truly enjoy sitting down and talking about how things work and how we can make them better. I get to dream big and work towards making that dream a reality. I know the wall will hit me, or I it, but it hasn't happened just yet, and I will stumble along, trying not to plunder for as long as I can before the stone wall stops me, rambling like I do.
So what if I haven't spent more than a few weeks at a time in town? I will settle down, that is my one and only New Year's resolution. Well, maybe there's another, but it will come later. Since moving to Arizona, 5 months ago, of course, we have been back to California 4 times (twice to Santa Barbara, twice to the bay, and once, in that time also to Sonoma and Mendocino for Kirsten's wedding!) We've also been to Colorado and Florida... and tomorrow, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our early February trip to Santa Barbara, I swear! is the last planned trip I will take until the summer... I need to dig in, throw down some roots, even if they are succulent roots and not tall trees. I am ready to call a place home.
Sounds like an opportune moment for me to shut this whole operation down, once and for all... which is exactly why I shall aim to revive it, if only for myself and a few faithful and dearly beloved readers. I don't really care, it turns out, if anyone reads what I write --here-- I just like having a place to put down some carelessly crafted, but often beautiful thoughts.
Which brings me to now. I have never been big on divulging personal secrets, dancing along the edge of exhibition and timidity, like a dancer who hides behind a back-lit silk screen. I don't know what I want from this space, as I don't know what I want from so many other aspects of my life. My daughter, my sweet, dear, precocious, witty, brilliant girl has finally given in, just a little, to teenagerdom, and I find myself suddenly aware of how tenuous this nomadic life has truly been. But, no melancholic musings for me today. I am still ready to tackle the next big thing, climb that mountain, scramble over the hurdles and roll under the waves.
I am grateful for those in my life who have been if not truthful in all things (no one ever is or can be, I find), at least steadfast in their support and love. I think I understand a little more than I did last year, and this is, if nothing else, a declaration of moving onward and upward.
So, 2013, maybe the first year that I am not trying to do better than last, but rather, just take things as they come to me. Forgive trespasses, let go of those who cannot do the same. Just be.