I had Big Plans. I was going to embrace 2013 as They Year I'd Finish My Book on Film-Composition. Instead (so far), this has been The Year of The Move. And while moving is a fairly common event for many people, it is easy to forget just how demanding, how daunting, how physically, spiritually, and emotionally challenging a move can be. Oh yes, and but now I remember. In fact, while I was still in Utah, preparing for the move, I had to see my therapist to talk almost exclusively about the work of helping my husband confront "his room" (his "storage" space of memorabilia and special things). As I recall it, about 75% of the anxiety I've been experiencing has been about how Mike is taking the downsizing process. He has been a champ (see later in the narrative where I describe how it's all. just. happening).
Our home in Provo, Utah was a massive 2000 square feet. When we bought it in 1999, we'd planned to start a family, get a coupla dogs, and do the whole thing. You know. And but we ended up discovering that our family would be capped at 2, Mike and I (long, long, longer story than I care to share, publicly). We stayed in the cavernous house, filling it up with things we probably should have seen as unnecessary but following the script for living in America (I am looking at you, giant, mancave-approved puffy couches!). You can probably imagine the many things I have to say about this time in my life -- sadness, illness, a life-threatening botched surgery, professional disappointments, and so on. But eventually, I began my life as a digital filmmaker, as an experimental documentarian, as an actor, and digital scholar (well, let's go there -- because the process of converting my short films into webtexts for publication in top digital journals like Kairos, and Enculturation required alotta new skillz, and given that my new passion for digital filmmaking was pretty much saving my life, I was glad to learn them). Also helping was my involvement with the Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival, and my studies in acting (a long time desire. @ 41 and after learning that I would not bear children, my mantra emerged; "I'm the baby"). As you must know, all of these events were affecting and reshaping my pedagogy, and I shared my discoveries in each of my digitally-enhanced conference presentations, many of which morphed into the aforementioned (did I just say "aforementioned"?!! *eyeroll*) webtexts. And I began drafting the book.
Today, sitting in my half-unpacked new apartment (1100 sf!!) in Naperville, IL, I see the book differently. I still see it, and I still hope I can make it happen. At the same time, the move ... and the reflection you are reading, drives me to contemplate grace. I was rarely graceful in those sad, angry times -- through the personal and professional struggles. But eventually, new truths came into focus, core-of-my-being truths that many of us resist in the evolution of our professional, married, and/or (any) institutionally scripted lives. I won't share these truths publicly, not now. I'd have to be a narcissist to imagine that you are driveling after them, and I hope I'm no narcissist. So but these truths resculpted my sense of personal and professional value. They rethought my goals. They renewed my attention to *attention*. They moved me here, to Illinois, where I will begin my new job as an Assistant (!) Professor of Professional and Technical Writing at Lewis University in Fall, 2013. I will teach a 4/4 (initially, anyhow), teach courses that I will need to design from scratch (though local colleagues have been generous in sharing their existing syllabi and assignments, which I will certainly use but also tweak to better fit my teaching style and disposition). In many ways, the job will be more demanding than my job in Utah. But The New Priorities included this kind of clean slate, so I'm in. Also, I gave up tenure.
But so as if to communicate the rightness of the sometimes uncomfy decisions I have had to make to get here, the real estate gods and goddesses conspired to sell our house in just 2 weeks! Profitably enough to afford us a coupla months to get set up here in the apartment and to enjoy time with family (i have tons of family in Illinois). Each slight obstacle quickly toppled, along the way. Each minor frustration, which would in the past have derailed me, devolved into a hilarious reflection on priorities. Each day, Mike and I would stop one of the 10,000 things we were doing to pause and holler across the expansive house we were packing or from the driver's seat to the passenger's during the drive to our new home), "hey, we're doing it!"
So what of The Book? For now, I can say that I am writing. Oh sure, a wee blog entry -- jeez, it's nearly *expressivist* (I'd *gasp!* but if you know me at all you know that I have always argued that expressivism has never been "expressivism," as defined by the powerful interests that a field engages in defining its various selves). And this is fine, for this morning. I hear birds singing (freal), I'm sitting at one of two new workstations I've built in the apartment; Mike is sleeping peacefully; Emily and the girls will come by to swim later today; I'm getting a new haircut and color thing this afternoon at a Naperville salon; I'm healthy, happy, and even writing. There were years and years of not.
It's improv, kinda zen, kinda selfish (?), kinda sane. I hope soon to be working a schedule for the book ... and yes, I worry that the window for you to care about my thoughts and work in Film-Composition has closed/is closing. But I hope to do it anyhow. I'm the baby.