Monday, June 22, 2015
How 6 months went by: a poem, a note, and a personal elucidation
“From the Beyond”
A year sliced in half, with the six months askew:
days spanning many suns and spilling into many moons.
Weeks like hours and months like moments, waves consume,
Retreat, return; sand dripping and creeping
Until the glorious night soothes. Beneath the calming
Dark, the crickets chirp, the fireflies blink,
The ones and zeros lie asleep, the wires tripped
Over themselves, a clear free path revealed,
At risk of being overgrown.
Greetings, friends of the blogosphere,
It’s been awhile, eh?
In the last six months, I didn't really exist. Well, I did, but it didn't feel like me, really. It felt like a big robot brain, Face of Boe style. There was grad school, teaching, volunteering, student leadership, state lobbying, job applications, dissertation proposal writing, conferences, and many little trials and triumphs. It was a time my heart felt overly full and I knew I was where I needed to be, but I am happy to move on to the next phase in my life – writing and defending my dissertation.
What’s my dissertation? You ask.
Called “The Squall of the Wind Farms,” it’s an exploration of the policies and clashes among entrepreneurs, politicians, and various community interests in the development of wind farms. Nerdy, but I love it.
I did not have my dissertation in mind when I created this blog, but I delight that its title (Through the Wind Winding) so accurately captures the dissertation process. I feel a little like a ribbon that’s been blown around for months, finally caught in a tree, waving limply as the sun sets in a bright burst.
A Personal Elucidation
Someone asked me why I don’t post about politics on Facebook or my blog. (After all, I am a political science doctoral student.) My choice not to post my political opinions here stems from a few interconnected reasons.
1. The older I get, the more I see values and pitfalls, benefits and detriments, from multiple perspectives, and the less sure I am about my own opinions.
2. In each of my various professional roles as teacher, academic, journalist, and political scientist, I deal in the presentation of facts and perceptions. These are just as variable as opinions. Show me a study with one result, and I will dig up another study with a contrary result. Methodology is only part of these differences; we all want to be heard so badly that we speak past each other, asserting others are wrong before we try to understand how their perspectives actually compare to our own.
3. In a world where so many voices seem to shout, I genuinely want to listen. I want to know what each person means by the words they use. Political differences seem slightly less insurmountable when we peel back emotional rhetoric to look at substance: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
4. Every single person has something to teach me, and it’s not my place to shout over these potential learning opportunities. You won’t see me posting much about police brutality, race, or the 2016 election campaigns, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I care very deeply, which is why I spend so much time pushing these issues from multiple angles, particularly in the classroom. (Boy, am I excited to teach American Politics this fall!)
5. Finally, everyone needs an outlet. I love my job and my field, but I also love literature and poetry and silly pictures of cats and dogs… I use social media to fill these gaps. Politics is present in almost every aspect of my daily, face-to-face life; it is, after all, my career. I relish having a tiny little corner free of it.