I swung by the library because I was out of books at home to read, and that always puts me in an uncomfortable place, mentally. It's like having your kid spend a weekend at your parents: you wander around without purpose for a good 2 hours before you finally settle into something else, but it still just doesn't feel right. Even though you've been looking forward to this time alone, you can't wait to get them back. Being bookless is something like that for me. Newspapers are addictive and magazines are moments of fantasy and inspiration, but books ground me like nothing else.
Well, I got some books. I was skimming the non-fiction section looking for a new memoir, and I had my 1st epiphany of the morning: I really dig memoir in the same way that I ravenously follow certain bloggers. There's some amount of out-of-body decadence in it for me. I'm fantastically behind where I should be in my ability to understand other perspectives (I'm blaming you, small-town, Midwest, homogenous upbringing!). Throughout the course of the semester in one of the classes that I teach, I have my students complete a series of 10 personal responses based on specific topics located from short essays in a collective text. The latest response was a response to what each student believes about peace...doesn't an ability to understand others' positions, to truly listen to them and respect their own place, do much toward engendering a sense of peace and ability to thrive as a unit between us? I believe so. All of this is to say that I picked up a memoir by Wendy Davis, the politician from Texas, in large part because I just finished a similar book by Kirsten Gillibrand (New York's Senator), and I find myself compelled to refuel my perspective about women by women. But I bypassed a memoir by a Mormon in favor of Davis's book. Here's my pledge: I'm going back for that one next.
This somewhat leads into my 2nd epiphany of the day, which happened just before logging into this bit of a blog when I was thinking "What, oh what, shall I write about today?" or something like that. I had a common (of late) combination pity party/confessional/therapy session with myself in the car as I was dropping the young people at their respective schools. It wasn't a fabulous morning, it was totally my fault, and I hate that about myself. So I was sitting down here in my normal Thursday morning squishy chair, and (perhaps I'm just really dense not to have realized this before), but the times in my life when I have been most centered, most happy, and most purposeful have all been when I've been a student or in direct conversation about literature. There's some seismic shift in my self-monologue when I have been in this mental place, and I like it. No, that's not accurate. I need it. Here's my second pledge of the morning: in order for my life to make the most sense for me, I must be a participant in academic conversations and contributing to them; I will foster this ability more than I have been doing since my time as a student has ended. If I am to return to my healthiest self, I must do this for myself in some way. And I don't know how I'm going to get there, but I think that I have to try, somehow.
I'm counting on some measure of accountability in so submitting this here. Please, do check in on me if you want to in the future to see where I'm at on regaining my equilibrium.
In the meantime, I made brownie buckeye cookies after the girls went to bed last for no other reason than I know it would bring some measure of happiness to the boy, who is an in-the-flesh cookie monster. And that felt good. If you know of anyone who could use some cookies for no other reason than just because, let me know. Cookies for all--a pretty simple concept that makes me happy.