Reading My Will(ingness)

Okay, I hadn’t quite expected to roll up the sidewalks here for an entire month while doing my Shakespearian NaBloPoMo experiment.*

In retrospect, perhaps I should have seen that coming. After all, my November schedule–full-time job, 2 “college courses”** (one of which is still ongoing), choir, regular Shakespeare blogging, and all the ephemera of embodied life (cooking, laundry, sleep, etc.)–was pretty rich.

With 20/20 hindsight, it’s not terrifically surprising I didn’t have a lot of extra time to keep the momentum going here at JALC.

But here’s the dirty little confession about it all: I didn’t exactly try that hard to keep the wheels turning here. And when I say “I didn’t try that hard,” what I really mean is I didn’t try at all.

So what up with that?***

The plain pure selfish truth is that I kind of enjoyed having a bit of a vacation from the unremitting awfulness of the news cycle. The Midterm election results, Bill Cosby, Dr. Matt Taylor’s sartorial choices, and finally the Ferguson Grand Jury decision… I’m not sure if objectively it was an extra-bad month, but it definitely was the kind of sequence that had me feeling the Sisyphean flavor of saying anything about the patriarchy/kyriarchy.

Hiding_out_from_the_bullyAnd it’s undeniably an aspect of my privilege that I even have the option to “opt out” of this sort of cultural work and hide out in my middle class existence. So I’m not especially proud that I chose to do so.

On the other hand, the crawl out of the black hole and my early/mid-October “low point” has been somewhat slow going. Most nights, I still need to take a quick nap after work to deal with my reduced energy reserves. Things are definitely getting better, but it’s a process, and if there’s any sort of arrival point, I ain’t arrived yet. Given that, I can cut myself some slack for prioritizing self-care during these weeks.

But here’s the final piece I haven’t yet figured out what to do with: how much easier it was to write Shakespeare posts other than posts here on JALC. There was something about it where I didn’t feel the same level of pressure/perfectionism that is infecting my writing here on JALC. There’s something in the topics I normally address here on JALC where I feel an obligation to “get things right”–be complete in my research, careful in my wording, and so on.

And I think there is very good reason to take care in how I choose to write about important and difficult topics. But it might behoove me to find a way to show care, empathy, sensitivity, without paralyzing myself in the process.

* Admittedly, it’s been more than a week since NaBloPoMo ended, but I was deep in choir prep leading into Saturday night’s performance, and then yesterday was spent primarily in an exhausted stupor. (And doing MOOC homework.)

** Yes, these are  only MOOCs, but they still required 4-6 hours/week each, which is not that far off from an easy college class, and is definitely a lot when you’re doing two of them on top of work. Suddenly, I have a lot more admiration for everyone who’s ever completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in this kind of “night school.”

*** Remind me someday to explain how this phrase ties into a theory I held long ago about how to title one’s academic treatises.


Image credit: “Hiding out from the bully” by Mitzpe Ramon. Unaltered. Licensed via a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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