In a bit of a rage, I deleted the paper I had spent the day on. Because it wasn’t what I wanted. I was too messy with it, and going nowhere that I cared to go. Which I suppose, are the words that could sum up my grad school experience in general.

I am a semester shy of finishing my PhD coursework, and feel like I have little to show for it. I have no cohesive sense of what I’ve done, am doing, will do.

Except that I have deleted, am deleting, outlines and paper upstarts – forever  unfinished.  I could (alright, I do) blame the muddled, un-slept and distracted frame of living that motherhood demands. And perhaps the season, can be blamed a bit too.

There’s something about spring, opening itself, that drives me a little sane and distracted again each year.  It reminds me that the things I accept as restorative in the winter- the nettling out of thick ideas, nestled in the deep tucks of down blankets- are sweated and stale by the green standards of springtime. And just the idea of today’s paper, unwritten, leaves me listless.  And starting over again.

I began graduate school with the intention of getting a degree that would allow me to teach and inspire others to think for themselves about things that mattered in the world, and I still see that goal as valuable. But it is hard for me to reconcile the research and writing that is required of me with my love of teaching and learning. I am expected to constantly bend my interests to fit the framework of someone else’s, bend them, until I no longer recognize myself in them.  I know this is not an uncommon story. But I am seeking the uncommon, and find myself stuck here, bewildered by and continually summoned into the logic of a way of knowing that I have never felt at home in, but need to keep writing into.

A point I should clarify: I do not mean that I place my hope in seeking the obscure, when I say that I would like to seek the uncommon. It seems like this may be the “way out” of the uncommon for many impressive scholars and colleagues, but I seek something distant from this, as I wither and weary from the time devoted to un-applied or un-applicable knowledge.  And they must too: it seems to leave so many of them smart but gaunt, with no time to be a part of or understand the practicalities of the living world. I do not know how, or if, they seek to nurture community and relationships or to take part in any great doing. I am bewildered by the constant hypothesizing about politics and ideas that could demand ones action and advocacy, but fails to. And when all the archaic drivel and fluff stands in the way of parenting and loving and friending and teaching well, it is hard for me not to grow bitter about what we’re all doing. Or to try something different and disconnected, anyway, when I can.

And right now, I can’t. The last month of the semester does not seem to be a time that I can live or act on any separatist dreams. So I lament for a minute, before sinking again into blankets and starting over, tap-tapping the keyboard, in unfortunate indifference to spring.

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