Monday, December 31, 2012

Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon

I’ve been absent from this blog for far too long now, and while a great deal of the reason for that can be blamed on the busy-ness of this past quarter, the explanation for the past month or so of blog absence lies more in the realm of academic self-contemplation and consideration. Part of the focus of the past quarter has been on developing the ideas and committee for my dissertation. (It appears that part of that has, in fact, been getting used to talking about my “dissertation,” which is such a scary word that, until a few months ago, I primarily referred to it as my “project.”) While a later post will start to get into the nitty-gritties of my topic, and what I’m interested in spending the next few years of my life researching, in this one I want to talk mostly about where I’ll be taking this blog in the future, and how, actually, it will start to relate more directly to my academic endeavors.

This blog started out as a bit of an adult re-imagining of the LiveJournal my friends and I used so earnestly and often in high school – a way to communicate to those both near and far my monthly (or, as was more often the case, tri-annual) pontifications on life as a grad student, as a 20-something, as a single woman, in the 21st century. And while I don’t regret or find any of my older posts to be without value, it’s time now for me to turn this blog into an extension of, and support for, my academic research. Inspired by the blogs of other members of the community, in particular of some of my grad student colleagues at UCSB, I want to start using this space to talk about things I read in the process of my research, ideas I’m thinking of working into my writing, conferences I attend, and other topics that are much more germane to my studies than going to see the Glee concert movie. (OK, so maybe I fibbed a little about not regretting any of my previous posts.) I hope that, by taking the blog in this direction, I can help clarify my own thoughts for myself, as well as communicate them to and open up discussion with others in the academic scene. I hope my readers (especially if there are any of you other than my parents and my grandfather) will enjoy my more scholarly reflections.

That all being said, I will not be sharing with you all the list of books I read for pleasure this year (in part, I must confess, because the list is embarrassingly short, thanks to the vast amounts of reading I did for my MA exam in June). However, I will share with you this story: this winter break, I did something I’d never done before, and I think that it, along with the new direction of the blog, reflects a – somewhat frightening – maturation on my part: I started reading an academic book for no reason other than I thought it would be interesting and, at least in part, pertinent to my research. The book is Helen Cooper’s Shakespeare and the Medieval World, and while I’m still less than a third of the way in, I’m finding it quite interesting and thought-provoking. I hope to return to it in a later post, but for now, let’s just marvel at the fact that I’m now one of those people – the people who read scholarly texts for fun.

With that, my dear readers, I leave you for 2012. Have a happy new year, and I’ll see you in 2013!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lifestyle Choices - No Regrets

Today, I am the poster child (woman?) for the Crazy Cat Lady stereotype.  I came home from the gym this evening, and proceeded to sit in front of the TV watching a Law and Order: SVU marathon while consuming a dinner consisting entirely of snack food, rather than a meal (God bless you, Trader Joe’s).  That was shortly followed by almost two hours spent watching 30 Rock and working on crossword puzzles, which was immediately followed by some minutes in which I entertained myself greatly by shining a red light around the floor (and walls, and door) of my apartment and watching my cats try to catch it.  And this was all done while wearing unbelievably comfortable yoga pants and a tank top with a hole in it.  So yeah, this whole evening was a Crazy Cat Lady evening.

And I have no regrets about it.  This is the life I love with every little bit of my soul.  Do I dislike going out?  Not at all: last weekend I spent two nights on the town with friends, and loved it.  Do I take no pride in my appearance?  Hell no: did I not mention this all started after coming home from the gym?  Am I accepting a lazy life of singleness?  Not in the slightest: do you have any idea how much more fun playing with the laser cat toy would be if I had a boyfriend or girlfriend here with me?  (I’m only slightly kidding.)  My point, though, is not that I’m settling for some inferior lifestyle; it’s that this lifestyle is in no way inferior, and I have every right in the world to enjoy it.

I have the right to enjoy it because it’s my summer vacation.  I have the right to enjoy it because I have a Master’s degree.  (Yes, I did spend those six months I’ve been absent from the blog doing something productive.)  I have the right to enjoy it because why have cats if you’re not going to savor at least some moments of Crazy Cat Lady-dom?  But mostly, I have the right to enjoy it because this lifestyle – this Crazy Cat Lady who also happens to look pretty good (and almost entirely cat-hair free!) when she hits the town lifestyle – is what I want.  No regrets.