1. (from Nightfly) Do you find that it’s harder to post rather than simply commenting at all your regular stops—coming up with ideas and such? Or, do you find that posting keeps you from “IRL” writing (essays, fiction, etc.)?
That’s a very thoughtful question. As a new blogger, I’m not finding posting hard, I think part of the reason for that is the intent behind my blogging is not one of duress. I’m not pressuring myself to come up with a killer post, day after day. I mean, if stuff’s going on IRL or I just don’t feel I have anything substantive to communicate to my (tiny but wonderful) readership, I will refrain from posting. The real intent behind my blog is to talk about myself a little and express my ideas (in the hopes of being heard, and possibly understood). Rather than risk dominating or going off topic in someone else’s combox, I have my own space to use my voice.
Interestingly enough, and I may be an exception for bloggers, having a space for my voice has reawakened the more creative writing side of me—or at least given it a place to work while I’ve been drawing too heavily on the academic side for research papers and the like for grad school. I’m seeing an increase in writing ideas and a more writer-ly frame of mind, more frequently. So instead of sapping my inspiration, blogging has been fueling it. Also, as I go along and keep discussing my writing on my blog, there might be an opportunity to garner a little encouragement and support for my writing by others who enjoy writing and/or reading.
2. (from Ashley) How did you decide to go back to school?
Some days I’m still asking myself that question! Well, the short version comes down to the circumstances in my life at the time, my state of mind, and the grace of God. The long version: The circumstances were that in April 2005 I suffered my first and only really bad breakup of a long term relationship (post college), and it was extremely protracted and difficult to get over, especially because we had a ton of friends in common (not to mention he continued to behave like a jerk even though he chose to end things). My roommate didn’t like that I was grieving and staying home more often, and she claimed my cat bit her and tried to evict me—so I moved. Then the ex started dating someone I’d thought was my friend, not even six months later. So a majority of my friends who were better friends with the new girlfriend (and did not seem to comprehend how she had basically let me cry on her shoulder and had helped me move—yup, saw everything I owned!--to justify and help her go after him), left me for her.
On top of that, the workload at my job had become absolutely unmanageable and they wouldn’t hire anybody to help. I was barely allowed to take off for Christmas in 2005, and I didn’t see any way to get promoted and be treated better. So no friends, no love, and a difficult job all made me miserable. By January or February 2006, I thought, well, I have an English degree, and people always asked me about being a teacher or told me I’d make a good teacher—why not see what the requirements are to get certified? I asked my mom to ask her next-door-neighbors, a couple who I knew were teachers, about it. The wife asked, “Why not be a school librarian?” She herself had tried teaching English for a year, decided it wasn’t for her, and went back to school for master’s degree in Library Science.
When I spent a day with her, in her library at school, I felt comfortable and I thought, “This isn’t like standing up in front of a classroom”—which had not appealed to me all—“I could do this.” So I applied to school. And I prayed. One of my intentions in a novena for St. Rita’s intercession was that if was meant to go to school, that there would be a way to pay for it.
Not only was I accepted (without having to take the GRE), I was offered a fellowship that took care of about 25% of my tuition. Mom found a laptop on sale, and I said to myself, “I guess I’m going to school.” Maybe if I hadn’t lost just about everything, and felt I had so little to lose, I might not have taken the plunge. But now that I’ve done it, and done really well in it (we’ll see how much I’ve learned!), I think I am closer to where my talents lie, and hopefully happier times in my life.
3. (also from Ashley) How does your faith affect your life?
It may sound weird, but faith informs my life. It’s like an undercurrent going behind what I do, how I act, how I feel, how I respond to things. I pray several times a day, but not really as a routine (except the Morning Offering and prayers before sleep)—sometimes I pray behind the wheel (that commute is good for something), but it’s more like a conversation from the heart.
I wasn’t always strong in my faith all my life, and in fact I had a hard time as a teenager believing that God loved me. Today, I don’t doubt that—my struggles these days are refraining from telling God what to do for me and when, and trusting that God wants to give me good things.
My faith probably has cost me some friendships, and definitely some dates. I’ll never forget the time I hit it off with the friend of a good friend while a bunch of us were at dinner together, and the next day my friend said she’d check things out for me. When the report came back, it was not good. Why? “Because you want to raise your kids Catholic.” Meaning I go to church, I’m not going to do what’s expected on the third date, I won’t move in with someone, etc. I know, his loss. I can’t compromise. I’m not perfect, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I compromised what I believe.
4. (from WordGirl) How about something/someone totally out of character that you secretly like?
This was a toughie. It seems to me that I have pretty eclectic and off-the-beaten-path tastes, so one “popular” thing was surprised to find that I like is the TV show Ugly Betty. My parents like to watch it, so one night I decided to see what it’s about. Granted I think some of the storylines are downright silly, but the characters are interesting. I also can’t wait to see what dreadful costume Betty has on!
I still can’t watch more than thirty seconds of Gray’s Anatomy without getting hives, though. It was up against The O.C. (the fourth season never existed!!!) for a while anyway. (Uh. . . is being a fan of The O.C. out of character too?)
5. (also from WordGirl) [How about] if you would ever get a tattoo (if you don’t have one. . .)?
Like you, WG, I am “uninked.” Although it’s funny you should mention it, because I noticed in Pilates class on Wednesday night that my instructor has one on her back behind her shoulder, and for a brief moment I confess I did fantasize about getting one. But the desire passed. It’s not so much the pain but rather the permanence (in spite of what lasers promise) and the change in color (and possibly shape, ha ha) over time. I don’t think tattoos indicate a bad reputation or anything—although excessive ones seem counterintuitive to me in terms of enhancing someone’s appearance. One of the nicest people in my college dorm (at my second undergrad college) was a young woman who dyed her hair jet black and sported several tattoos. I always knew that when a convention was going on downtown she’d come back with a new one, usually small. My older brother has a larger one—comic book related—in a really dumb place that's hard to cover. I suspect he did it just to get a reaction out of our mom. (Too bad that wasn’t the worst thing he ever did!)
Thank you all for some very thought-provoking questions, and I hope the answers were at least half as interesting! That was fun to do, so maybe this Special Edition will make another appearance in the future.
On a more serious note, I got some bad news this morning about my great-uncle. Granted, he's 90, but he had been managing amazingly well (with the help of my cousins) in spite of the loss of my great-aunt (my late grandmother's sister) a few years back and not being able to see or hear very well. But he wasn't feeling well lately, and my cousin said the doctor thinks it's a recurrence of cancer and looking really bad. As in "maybe a month" bad. Cancer sucks. I am so bummed out--he's an awesome person. He often would bring us bread from his half-brother's Italian bakery. Such a personality--and he's seen a lot in his lifetime, too. Until about a year or two ago, he would travel annually to Holland to visit the families in the town his squadron helped liberate in WWII. Right now he's staying with my cousin and her family, and I guess we just keep enjoying our time with him for now (I bought him fancy chocolates--he's a chocoholic). And praying.