I’m here now. Where’s here?
Here is Iowa City. The raging prairie. The land of corn and Hawkie the Hawkeye. Yes, here is the fine state of Iowa, but here is also a strange place. An in-between place.
The move from Pennsylvania to Iowa is finished. Furniture unpacked. We have a couch and bed and home again. Plumbers and arborist have done what plumbers and arborists do. And now I’m here.
My job with Penn State ended on June 30th, 2022. My job at The University of Iowa starts on August 17th, 2022. I’m unemployed. I have a month all to myself. Amidst the clamor of two (extremely) loud children. Amidst the clamor of still doing things professors do, regardless of institutional affiliation. Planning classes, submitting conference proposals, and research. Keep at it, young scholar. Not so young scholar, maybe.
And then there’s writing. Making stuff. I’m away from the improv company I helped found. So there’s all sorts of unspent creative energy burbling in me. Clamoring. At its best, that energy takes shape as writing. At its worst? Yikes. Let’s focus on its best. Writing.
What’s the purpose of this writing? these blogs? What’s the point?
It’s mostly personal writing. Weekly journals. Musing about the moment.
I started writing these blogs when I wanted to become more serious about writing. Give myself a little discipline. Some routine. This would have been 2012 or 2013. And now here we are in 2022. Did I dream of fame and fortune back then? Write some books, become Stephen King, and retire comfortably in some sort of manor? Tanner manor? Perhaps. Those dreams are as dead as some of the hair follicles on the back of my head. Lament the bald spot.
I don’t have an agenda for these blogs. Or a point to make. Sometimes the writing feels artful or clever to me. Sometimes it feels funny (makes me laugh, anyway). And sometimes I do write things that seem to me worth writing. And other times I don’t. Just life updates. The only thing consistent about these blogs? Typos. It mostly feels like I’m writing for myself. Lifting weights. A weekly workout session. Get my mind moving so I can move into other writing.
I’m glad to keep friends and family updated. Yourself included. That’s a good thing. There’s not much of an audience here, so it’s not as though this is some weighty platform. But that can be a good thing too. Freedom to write whatever I want to write. Again, it’s like going to the gym. Or maybe a playground is a better comparison. Playing with words makes you better at playing with words. That’s true about writing. True about other things. People learn through play. And I’m an education professor. So I should know. Know a little, anyway.
So I don’t have an answer to the question of what the point of this writing is. I’m not sure. But I just keep at it. Kind of existential, right?
About being existential, I don’t really know the answer to my first question either. Where’s here? I don’t know.
So much is different. So much has changed. I’ve given away the life I built in Pennsylvania. And now I’m looking forward to the life I’ll build here.
It’s summer. It’s hot. I bought tennis rackets. Solomon and I went to a nearby park. Spent an hour trying to volley on a Sunday afternoon. That’s a good thing. Spending time with my children is a good thing.
I’ll get back to heftier writing soon enough. And to work, as of August 17th. Probably before then. And I’ll likely keep doing improv. Somewhere, somehow. But I hope to do these things with some more balance, so that I have more energy to give to my family. That’s part of my challenge as I settle here. As I move into this next thing.
I’m here now, and I’m curious what here means, even as I caution myself to chill out. Or, as Michelle Tanner might say, chill out, dude. (RIP, Danny Tanner, RIP).