October 22, 2008 § 14 Comments


It isn’t what it used to be, blogging.  Most of us are writing less often, and some of us aren’t writing at all, leaving our blogs to drift through the blogosphere like so much space junk.  Unquestionably, the zeitgeist has shifted to other, pithier forms of virtual communication, but I also suspect that many of us are distracted by the demands of real if unnarrated lives.

Certainly, I am.  I’ve entered my last year of doctoral study, which is a frenzied blur of dissertation writing, grant applications, and, in the moments between, fear.  The end of the road looms, and with it a future that feels as though it will arrive both too soon and not nearly soon enough.

I’ve been told that there comes a point when you know in your bones that you’re done with grad school.  I reached that point last spring, when, mired in the worst poverty I have ever known, it dawned on me that no future, no matter how uncertain, could be as unremittingly awful as that dispirited present.

Things are better now, but I have lost my patience with grad life.  I’m tired of the late nights, the solitude, the disorienting lack of structure.  I’m tired of having nowhere to be and no particular time to be there.  I’m tired of owning one pair of jeans and five pairs of socks and of wearing the same scuffed boots I’ve worn for the last eight years.  And I’m unspeakably tired of feeling as though my life hasn’t really begun.

So yes, I am done, but now the truly hard part begins: figuring out how to do something else.


§ 14 Responses to Done

  • shakti123 says:

    good to read write more articles.

  • tornwordo says:

    I understand the sentiment, but still love your writing and picture posts. Writing is just a creative endeavor that is beneficial. That will never change.

  • kirsten says:

    You mean, you’re done with grad school but not with blogging right? You’re not done with blogging? Right?

  • Frank says:

    I’m starting to think it’s an ebb and flow thing. We all had that tsunami of interest at the beginning and for many that interest receded.

    Personally I’m slowly regaining interest in it, but on terms conducive to balance with the demands of my life and other competing interests. Sorry for being a silent watcher for a while. I really should have spoken up more than I have.

    I hope this isn’t the end of your blogging. It really should morph into what you want it to be in your life. I suspect if you step away from it for a while, you’ll find that urge to come back as I have.

  • zura says:

    “And I’m unspeakably tired of feeling as though my life hasn’t really begun.” This line, by the way really struck a chord with me. There are so many “traps” we have set up for ourselves in the vein of “When I achieve X, then I can being my life.” A big one for me that I overcame in the past was “When I get married, then…” But life is much richer than that. Good for you for realizing the done-ness of things.

    But like Frank says, no need to stop blogging, right? Yes, it’s certainly changed over the last couple of years but one can certainly help it morph into what you want/need it to be.

  • Geoff says:

    Knowing I’m one of those contributing to the “space junk,” I’m hoping your blog won’t occupy that same orbit.

    It couldn’t have been easy coming to this conclusion. As people who have wrapped themselves up in a certain way of doing things, of seeing the world, and engaging with it, whose sense of self is so intimately tied to those kinds of practices, disentangling would have definitely been a challengs.

    I’m glad you’ve arrived at this stage. Fill your life with diversions that matter, I say.

  • Say it ain’t so, Vila. This is sad news…But I can certainly jive with academia being an unrewarding and alienating space. Moreover, the idea of a ridiculously prolonged adolescence is certainly a trope in grad school…

  • Vila H. says:

    Um, maybe that one could have used some editing? (Grins sheepishly.)

    Thanks, first, for all your comments. It’s nice to know that you’re still out there, even if you’ve been quiet. I didn’t mean to suggest that I plan to stop blogging, but reading the post again, there is a resonance between the two themes that you were right to pick up on.

    The thought has crossed my mind, of course. I don’t mind at all that the kind of blogging we do has become, to use Raymond Williams’ term, residual, but I have wondered what, after four years of writing it, I want this particular blog to be. Which is easier than wondering what I want to be.

    Zura and Frank both used the term morphing, which is exactly right. I’m morphing, which feels every bit as awkward as it did when I began my ridiculously extended adolescence. I suppose that my blog is morphing along with me, which means that it’s nothing but zits and mood swings from here on in.

    Now, before I return to the warm confines of my own navel, I have some comments of my own:

    Congrats on quitting smoking, Torn, and you will get through the day you’re dreading. Promise.

    Zura, I envy you your recent travels, and enjoyed your postcards immensely. As for marriage–only when you come across someone with half your spirit and not a moment sooner. Until then, yes, just live.

    Frank, I have noticed that you’re coming back to it, and, as ever, I’m happy to read your thoughts on just about any subject. That goes double for your photos.

    Kirsten, you are the glorious exception that proves the rule. Also, would you please make me some mix CDs? I know, I’m old school that way. Or maybe just old.

    Geoff, I can’t imagine that your schedule leaves much time for blogging, and I suspect you’ve had weightier things on your mind, but if anyone should have a straight-up photo blog, it’s you. Consider the idea, at least.

    Sparky: It is fantastic to see that, after everything, you’ve landed on your feet, if precariously close to a casino. I’d like to pick your brain the next time you’re in Montreal, so be sure to let me know when you are.

    Shakti: I don’t know you, but thanks for reading.

    So, onward…

  • rada says:

    I definitely share all your sentiments. I have a friend who quit his doctoral studies and now balances work with his passion for ceramics/fired pottery. It’s inspiring. Best of luck as you approach the home stretch.

  • Vila H. says:

    Thanks. I just got asked if I was dropping out of grad school, so I’m glad you caught the home stretch part. Hope yours is proceeding with greater clarity.

  • husk says:

    Blogging? The hell is that? :P

  • Vila H. says:

    It’s that thing where you let people comment on what you write. Y’know? ;)

  • husk says:

    I don’t write anymore, I post pictures :)

  • […] also wonder, like others have recently, what the point is. My most read post, by far, is about the Spartans and Thermopylae meant as a […]

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