All of the empty shoe boxes full of old papers have been stored away in the closet, the piles of receipts and paper scraps have been sorted through and either saved or shredded, my CDs have been shelved in alphabetical order, the dust has been swept, the moldy coffee cups carted to the kitchen. The books, notebooks and manila folders I need are stacked neatly on the table in the middle of the room, ready for me to begin. To study. To write. To read. Oh, but the sun is out and there are so many distracting things out in the world. And this stuff, when you get right down to it, doesn’t really engage me. I mean at the cellular level.
So, what does? Well, that is hard to say. I derive the most joy from life from brief unexpected encounters, glimpses through open doors down long hallways, strange coincidences, and becoming tangled up in things that, in the end, are much larger and more important than myself. I am finding that it is difficult for most things to sustain my attention. I drift off into my own imaginary world, seeing weird scenarios play out in my head.
I want a job where I can express those little scenarios, not sit around a table think of ways to enable other people to express their own scenarios. There is a big difference there. So, do I really really want to get a PhD? Meaning, do I have the energy and motivation to stick around here for an extra 2 years? I dunno. A Masters may serve me just as well for what I want to do. The only advantage I see to getting a PhD is being able to teach at a University. I forget, though, that the reason I returned to grad school was to GET OUT of teaching. Still it is a great opportunity, and if I can stick it out, I will have more, not less options. I can do whatever I want.
Ultimately, I don’t have to decide until next spring, but by that time I will have had to take a lot of stats and research courses, which aren’t required for a Masters. The big drawback is the stats class this summer–if I decide to only pursue my Masters degree, I could free up June to work and make a film.
Who knows. I regret letting this niggling doubt enter my head because now it is impossible get rid of.
I went running yesterday on a path along the Rivanna trail I haven’t run on since October. It was covered in fallen leaves then . Now, the leaves have been washed away by the winter flooding, which also dumped lots of flotsam along the banks–Styrofoam bits, bicycle wheels, bundles of sodden twigs and branches.The flooding also decorated the low-hanging tree branches along the river with shredded, raggedy plastic grocery bags of various colors. When I cock my head and squint a little, the plastic bags seem purposeful and holy, like Tibetan prayer flags snapping their messages to the wind. This time aroun I passed a family of goats, some mating geese, and, gathered in a field around Hogwaller, a colony of about thirty vultures, eager for the spring slaughter. I passed sewage spilling from a pipe into the river and, for a brief time, ran right beneath the speeding traffic of I-64.
My lungs have still not completely cleared up from my cold, and when I arrived home I had a hacking cough for about 10 minutes. It felt good though, like my body was being purged.
The tickets to Barcelona have been purchased. A bit pricey, but, hell, I didn’t pay for them. It is an open-jaw ticket, arriving in Barcelona and departing from Lisbon. E. and I will have about two weeks after I wrap up at the University of Barcelona to travel up to Northern Spain and then south along the northern coast of Portugal. Having dedicated the last 6 or 7 years of my life to travel, it feels almost criminal to get someone else to pay for me to fly overseas.