I'm not one to obsess, really, but sometimes the not-obsessing becomes obsessive in that the compartmentalizing of thought takes too much effort. So while I've spent this long weekend building robots from Tinkertoys, cleaning house, making Play-Doh pancakes, cooking (raspberry crepes this morning!), walking, sketching on the computer, playing that damned Echo Bazaar, editing Fang's manuscript, prepping tax materials for our agent, enjoying a luxuriously long lunch with a good friend, and taking Lucas to the park, a fog of what-if has been seeping through the cracks in the walls of my willpower to not. obsess. about. it.
Meanwhile, I've let myself reread a few of the kind (and even enthusiastic) e-mails I received in response to the thank-you notes I sent to the department faculty who participated in the on-campus interview. I'm confident I impressed a couple folks mightily, but in the end it's a matter of "fit" and department consensus, which is something out of my control.
If nothing else, the campus visit refocused and reinvigorated me intellectually. I wrote in a previous blog post that I felt more authentically myself there, talking about research and teaching and public history, than I do in my actual job. It was a pleasant passage, though to where, I don't yet know.
It brings to mind some of my favorite lines by Seamus Heaney, from section XII of his poem "Station Island." In this section, James Joyce is advising the poet, who has just completed a pilgrimmage to Station Island:
is not discharged by any common rite,
What you do you must do on your own.
The main thing is to write
for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night
dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.
You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don't be so earnest,
so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You've listened long enough. Now strike your note.'
It was as if I had stepped free into space
alone with nothing that I had not known
already. . .
In other news, I'm anticipating spring. Today was warm enough for me to bike downtown for lunch in short sleeves. Yay! I'm also keeping close watch on tree branches. Here's a couple shots from my iPhone. The first is on my current campus, out on the student farm at dusk. The second is from my neighborhood, and I love how there's a bit of fall, winter, and spring bundled together in the twigs and sprigs.
What are you waiting for?
Kudos to you Leslie for playing the patient waiting game as well as for being open about the whole long process.
Can I say that any committee is certifiably nuts not to hire you?
I am unsure how to answer the question on waiting; I am in pause and daily motion waiting for the next big thing to inspire some creative energy, that nearly comes out of nowhere and catches me by surprise.
I bite my nails for you, vicariously living your anxiety and excitement, anticipating both success and failure. You might think I'm beyond jealousy for others academic careers, but I am not. I hope you invoke that jealousy full bore by getting hired, I do. But I'm sure that whatever comes of this tour, you will grow by it.
And what am I waiting for? Today, one bit of my wait ended (though another weight was landed). I scheduled my first meeting on the little contract I've just gotten. Now I have six months to prove my ideas worthy of satisfying someone else's needs. I'm anxious because it's not entirely clear just what those needs are. The meeting should answer that question.
And, I'm still waiting to receive in hand the big two-year contract, and to welcome my two new hires in less than two weeks, eager and anxious for my training and direction, ready to embark with me on a new journey, a test of our collective mettle. I lean over the precipice, about to leap, wondering if I will land safely.
Safe landings to you my friend. It's been a long haul, for both of us.
Good to know about AD coming here :-).
I wish you the best in this search (that YOUR name will be the one forwarded to the dean) and I wait also... for my husband's searches to bring a job offer home to him.
Fingers and toes crossed for you!
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