Most of my closest friends do not live in the same town as I do. In fact, they all live at least an hour drive away. Some live more than 10 hours away. Some live as far away as the west coast. Others are in another county. These are people that know me in depth. Some I’ve known for over 25 year, others for 7 or 8. These are people who have seen me at my best and as I have struggled. These know me as an individual, as a parent, as a basketball fan, as a phonathon novice, as a brand new Ph.D. Student, as a faculty wife, as a children’s literature scholar, as a novice writer, as a person living with an anxiety disorder (pre- and post-diagnosis), as a transplant from another state, as a high school friend, as a teacher, as a neighbor, and so so so many other ways.
These people are more than important to me. They are part of my story.
So why is it then, that I am so terrible about staying in touch with them across the miles. It doesn’t matter if it is 100 miles or 1000. I am not great at long distance friendships. I think it’s because it makes me miss them more. That’s pretty selfish me though – especially considering they remain friends with me in spite of my failures.
Thank you friends. I am going to do better.
Why a new blog? More accurately, why another blog?
I still plan on blogging over at @ChildrensLitCrossroads but I wanted and needed a different space.
Live – it’s somewhat self evident that I am, in fact, living. But it’s also a reminder for myself.
Listen – I’ve been reflecting a lot on the importance of listening and also the many ways and places that I do it. Three areas I am particularly aware of this right now; as a parent, a teacher, and an ally.
Think – My thinking brain is a bit like a hamster on one of those exercise wheels. It just keeps going. I need a place to get some of the thinking out of my head. Not just to get it out, but also to share it with others.
Write – again, this may seem somewhat evident. I’ve spent the past seven years in a PhD program, learning how to write in “academic-ese”. (btw – there is nothing easy about it). But I have also been spending time trying to develop my own writing voice. Sometimes it is academic, and sometimes I want to write about life.
Other things I’ll write about:
- teaching – I’m a teacher. It’s really hard for me to turn that off. Just ask my daughters – they can tell you all about “teacher-mommy”.
- parenting – speaking of my daughters, I have two of them. They are 11 and 15 years old. They are amazing. I’m fortunate to share parenting with my husband of almost 20 years. Did I mention that they are 11 & 15? There is a lot to say about that.
- learning – for me, part of being a good teacher and researcher means always learning. I love learning, even when it pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Well maybe not as much then.
- reading – i blog about children’s and YA literature over on my other blog, but often it is as a scholar and professional. I read other stuff too, and sometimes I want to write about it.
- etc – because there needs to be a catch all
Thank you for joining me on this journey…
When I was a kid, one of our favorite things to do in the summer was to jump off the raft. When we first got it, my sister and I paddled out on eager to plunge into the water. But then we got there. I remember looking down and thinking I wasn’t so sure I wanted to jump anymore. What had seemed like an exhilarating and excited idea suddenly seemed downright scary. It was difficult to see the bottom, I did not like that sensation at all. But it was hot (and we did not have air conditioning).
I know that eventually I jumped that day, and many more times over many summers. However I still do not like the feeling of not being able to see the bottom – either literally or figuratively. I get a similar sensation when I think about writing and even more so when I think about sharing my writing. I have blogged before, and will continue to over on my other blog Children’s Literature Crossroads. That blog is focused on my work as a children’s literature scholar and teacher educator. So why a new blog? Because over the past few months, I’ve been feeling the urge to write more broadly about life. I wear many “hats” as do many people. Mother, teacher, scholar, wife, friend, colleague, student, daughter. For much of my life, I tried to compartmentalize when I wore the different hats. The thing is, that doesn’t work. When I am teaching, I am still wearing the other hats. They may not be obvious to those around me, but I know they area there. Recently, I have been finding myself making those hats more explicit in interactions with other people and with myself. These interactions have resulted in lots of thinking.
Thinking in my head that I need to get out as words on a page. Thinking that I want to share with other people. I’ve been staring down and waiting to write, just like I stared over the edge of that raft. It’s time to jump.
Me, jumping into West Bay.