Sunday, September 6, 2009

Postdoc No More

This is my last blog post.

I've agonized about this for some time, wondering if I could keep up the pace of once- or twice-a-week postings now that I'm fully employed - preparing for classes, teaching those classes, grading papers, commuting an hour each way, trying to work on my own research and writing, all while getting to know a new city, meet new people, eat new pie.

On the one hand, there's certainly a lot to tell you about. There's the food, of course, which is both delicious and ridiculous, thereby meeting my two main criteria for inclusion in this blog. There's the whole adjusting-to-southern-culture thing, which would undoubtedly provide countless humorous material for me (and, once it went viral, could even become the basis of a heartwarming but culturally sensitive movie starring, say, Amy Adams or Renee Zellweger). Or I could take the teaching-in-a-state-university angle, offering up humorous or poignant anecdotes about my students and the important life lessons we all eventually come to share, despite our very different backgrounds and capabilities (this film would also star Amy Adams or Renee Zellweger, and maybe Michael Cera). For that matter, I could probably devote an entire blog to our pain-in-the-ass landlord and the countless awkward-but-hilarious situations in which he places us. I could even start a (gasp!) professional-type blog in which I actually write about the things I'm working on (that'd be communal violence in the British Empire) and current events related to the things I'm working on (that'd be communal violence in places that were once part of the British Empire). Yes, there's certainly no shortage of material here.

On the other hand, well, I'm quite busy now, and it would be awfully nice not to spend my free time writing blog posts. "Big deal," you say, "Just post shorter, less-frequent entries. Don't spend so much time fretting about outdated, pre-internet concepts like sentence structure, argument, grammar, or coherence. And when you're stuck, just do what everybody else does and post funny YouTube videos." Oh, gentle reader, if only that were possible! If I were the sort of person who could gleefully spew out slop all day long I'd already have a publishing record to rival that of Doris Kearns Goodwin. No, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right. And since I don't have the time or intellectual energy to do it right, I won't do it.

That's part of the reason, anyway. The other part is that the title of this blog is no longer accurate, and I just can't think of a new one. I suppose I'll technically always be "post-doctoral," but the "postdoc" stage is now over - I'm now an assistant professor, and I'll probably be something along those lines for quite some time to come. I've tried to devise with a new blog name, but it's proving well nigh impossible to come up with something that's as witty as the one I'm leaving behind. And if I can't go big, I don't wanna go at all. I've toyed with various Nashville-based plays-on-words, but none of them are too satisfying, and most are already in use somewhere else. (You can blame the demise of this blog, in part, on the existence of a cafe here called Noshville, which name, had it been available, would have been ideal for the sort of food-based blog I might well have written.)

Besides all that, I feel like I'm starting a new stage in my life, and it's going to take some time to figure out how to broadcast it, if at all. My old life - a largely solitary, itinerant affair that was eminently bloggable - has given way to something that's a bit more stable and a lot less solitary. Last year in the Valley, when I started this blog, I was feeling detached from the world and the people I knew in it, and this seemed like a good way to connect. I'm still far removed from many people I love - further, indeed, than I ever was in the Valley - but I don't think we really need blogs to stay connected, not if we're really friends. As for me, I'm now part of the world once again, and I'm feeling less detached. I have a job again, a real job that requires real work from me, and it brings with it lots of students, colleagues, and obligations that'll make me an active and engaged citizen once more. And when I'm not doing that, I'm sharing my home and my life with a wonderful lady and her (usually) wonderful cat, and this is also alleviating the need I felt, all those months ago, to have someone to share my experiences with. You hear that, Kate? You're what I have now instead of a blog!

And so it's with a heavy heart that I write these last few lines. We've had some grand times, you and I. We've learned all about London and Calvin Coolidge and underwear. We have tusseled with ninjas, cavorted with Morris Dancers, stalked J Mascis, and cruised our way through historian parties and campus visits. We have seen sock-wearing ducks, atheist buses, inaugurations, flies, and submarines. We have eaten pies and pancakes and much, much french toast. We will always have these memories, you and I, and if we ever need to refresh them they'll always be just a few clicks away - and soon, no doubt, downloadable directly to our cerebellums.

As a last thought, I'd like to leave you with a song that I learned at a very young age, a song that has seen me through rougher times than this, a song that still, all these years later, fills me with hope. It's from a little television show called "Growing Pains." Perhaps you've heard of it. It starred Alan Thicke.

Sing along with me, won't you?

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

[One more time, with feeling:]

Sharing the laughter and looooove.


Charles Brown said...

No! Nooooooo!!!
But this is the first time I even viewed this blog, only to see that it's de-funked!
Oh god, this is terrible. This is like that summer I fell in love with Beulah, only to learn that they'd broken up 6 months prior.
Gol dang you all. Gol dang you to HECK!

Jen said...

Wow, all this chatting we've done as of late, and no mention. Course, if I'd been a better pal, I'd of noted this sooner :) Happy trails, pdn!

LMB said...

RIP to your fabulous blog, whose last post did the fine musings of its creator justice. And PS, I told you so :)/