Regaining my footing

March 11, 2018

It's funny how intimidating it can be to try to reenter a space you've left for a while. My blog was once the coziest, safest room I could find in which to put my feet and think things over by writing them out and sending them into the Internet tubes (and to a few lovely friends!). Now it feels alien in a way I could never have anticipated.

But then graduate school happened, and my quiet, introspective bubble expanded. My program centers case studies, group work, and intense personal and interpersonal reflection. We spend a ton of time talking about our work and how we can do it more effectively or equitably. This is both hella stressful and the most fulfilling way I've ever worked with others. I've forged a lot of strong bonds in that crucible of team work and trial and error. I never expected such an interpersonal program to work well for non-confrontational me, but, hey, personal growth, right? I'm leaving this program* with a better idea of what I value, personally and professionally.

I'm still trying to figure out where a book blog (or any kind of blog) fits into this new understanding of myself. Since I last posted here fourteen months ago, I've read a total of 26 books, a bit fewer than two a month. I still read, but it's slower. I savor picking up a book for fifteen minutes a day when I can, or squeezing audio in while I do the dishes. I did not expect it, but I'm enjoying that pace. I'm a distractible person, and I find books blur together when I try to read them back-to-back. I take more time now to embody the author's universe, more time to mull the characters and the big ideas over. Oh, and it has to be fiction, fiction-based, or told like a story. Ain't nobody got time for hard nonfiction in grad school.

My favorite books from the past year and change have been Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper, and Lilith's Brood, the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia E. Butler. Two audiobooks, two paperbacks, all standouts during a time when nonessential content fell by the wayside. Part of me thinks they mean more, somehow, but it could also be they came to me at the right moments. I'd recommend any of them if you want to get swallowed up by a story or let a narrator whisk you off. Everyone and their mother knows Noah narrates his own audio and how excellent it is. Rebecca's narrator was just aces at bringing the spooky factor to the story). Right now, I'm making my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I put it down for a month or so, but the benefit of Márquez's meandering magical realism is not losing any plot threads.

I plan to tinker around a little more here and see if the mojo returns. I can't say how it will turn out, but I'll feel better knowing I didn't let this space perish from sheer inertia.

*Did I mention I finish school in three months? What the hell. When did that happen?!

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