I’m Still Here

Hello, everyone. I’m stopping by to let you know that I’m alive, that I have thoughts, and that I will again eventually share them with you in this space. I’ve been away for quite some time for a variety of reasons, none of which are interesting, so I’ll spare you. But, in light of last post, I will provide a relevant update:

I got a new job.

It’s not a 180 or anything; I’m not starting a business in my back yard or going back to grad school or moving to France. In fact, it’s a job with a lot of similarities to the one I am leaving, task-wise. It’s a lot of organization, coordination, planning, and keeping balls in the air. Three years ago I would have been intimidated by a job like that, but I think I’ll be fine in this post. The coolest thing about it, though, is that it’s not in IT or Defense, but in rural economic development. I get to work with a bunch of different people on issues like local food systems and clean energy and health, all of which are topics I’ve been interested in for a long time now.

Looking back a few years, the narrative makes sense. I used to teach writing to college students, and, since you have to write about something, I made my students write (and read) about food. I was, I think “obsessed” is the right word, with food and food-related issues for many years. One reason this topic was so fruitful in teaching writing to a bunch of students with different majors was that food-related issues can be stretched and molded to fit into really any interest. Examples I frequently gave to set students’ minds running were:

  • Women’s Studies majors might write about representation of women in food advertisements
  • Sociology majors might think about health outcomes in lower-income neighborhoods
  • Economics majors might think about hunger in Ethiopia
  • Pre-med majors might write about e. coli in peanut butter or melamine in baby formula
  • Anyone who eats daily might find any number of topics related to food interesting, regardless of their major or lack of one

As someone who is infinitely interested in almost everything, I loved reading what my students wrote (however poorly). I loved helping them figure out what they were trying to say, or how to find the right resources to answer a question, or how to remember rules about apostrophes. Yes, you heard me: I especially loved teaching grammar (nerd alert!).

Moving to Asheville was a huge leap for me, considering I had no relations, acquaintances, or job prospects, but it wasn’t really a huge risk, because for something to be a risk, there must be something to lose, and, at that particular point in my life, I wasn’t hanging on to much, spiritually (or financially) speaking. But it still took the stepping-out-of-the-airplane push to walk out into the scary unknown. I was lucky and found a job within a couple of months, and my current employer (until Monday) also took a risk on me, considering that I didn’t have any real office job experience. Having no other prospects, I figured I’d try the position out and see how it went. It went poorly, and then, later, better. And while I had no intention of working there until retirement, I didn’t hate my job and could’ve carried on a good while longer. However, as my previous post illustrated, the job wasn’t exactly bringing me joy (though I have complicated feelings on how much joy a job can reasonably be expected to bring one). So when I got a sudden, word-of-mouth invitation to submit a resume for the new position, I got really, really excited.

About that position, I will admit: making sure the meeting invitation got sent to all the right people and taking meeting minutes are also not tasks that bring me joy. But, as I’ve told several people over the last couple of weeks, I’m very aware that we can not all be the person fishing the baby out of the well. Yes, it feels great to save the world, but someone has to run payroll; someone has to maintain the vehicles; someone has to send the meeting invites. I think my ego (and my thrill-seeking heart!) can handle being the one who sends the meeting invites, because my soul (I know, creepy) will rest easier at night knowing that it’s for Good. And, cheesy and un-intellectual as it may be, I believe in Good. Not 100% Good v. 100% Bad, just, that they exist.

And, I’m putting this out there into the Universe (i.e. the World Wide Web), that I would like a side benefit of this change, which I am doing for my Soul (you’re welcome, soul), to be increased written productivity. More words, less fear. More ideas, less beer. I know, it’s a lot to put on a job change, but after all the hours I’ve spent in therapy discussing the ways in which my current job does not jive with my sensibility, I have a strong belief that my, what I’ll call lack of flow, has a lot to do with how and around whom I spend 40 hours of every week. And I think that I’ll be learning so much about a completely new field, I’ll have lots of thoughts to process on that topic, even if it doesn’t boil down into the best poems of my life. But, that said, I’d like to get back to writing poems that I actually like, and since this is going out to the Universe, I’d like them to be really, really good. Thanks, Universe!

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