Something extraordinary happened to me on this date. I still can’t explain it, but it has to do with stars, a lake, a dock, an extraordinary light in the distance across a lake, and who I am at my very core.
Sometimes the world moves in the same old direction, just spinning on its merry way, but then something occurs, and everything stops. I may not have always noticed when the world stops, but this time, I did. I dug deep and rallied hard to get it, to understand, to appreciate what was happening.
I remembered who I was and who I had been and who I might be in that moment of world-stoppage. What a beautiful gift. I am a writer, an artist, and a teacher. Perhaps all that came together in a crepuscular moment of extreme unity. Perhaps I was supposed to see the future in that moment, that fine moment of untimed-ness. And the future is me–being all those things for the rest of my life.
Perhaps I was supposed to find peace in that moment. I certainly did that–a chaotic peace. There is such a thing after all.
And this occurred to me during that moment of earth-shaking zen: I am the age of Dick Butkus’s jersey number with the Chicago Bears–he remains the “standard by which all middle linebackers are judged.” Is it a coincidence that I always wanted to be a middle linebacker in the NFL? No. There are no coincidences.
That position on a football team and my position in the world–not so different after all. It’s good to know who I am. Finally.
What I wrote about who I am, awhile ago, appears below. I don’t deny it now, but it’s changed a bit, and I’m okay with that. I was going to revise this to reflect who I am becoming, as I have before (I’ve revised the below several times since starting this blog), but then I thought better of it. I like what it is, or was, or might still be again. So it will remain untouched, for now.
I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, or wanted to be a writer. I write and study haiku; I write in the margins of books to think and have conversations with authors; I write for students; I write for friends–at the request of friends; I write in this blog (is this medium really so five minutes ago?) and have started researching and writing a biography of Frederick Tennyson which I hope to complete before 2020 (really–it will take me that long if I ever get back to it); I write notes on the fridge; I write about educational issues; I write emails; I used to write about aviation and life-long learning; I write curriculum; and I write for me. I write about program development, project management, and instructional systems design. In writing, I find myself.
In reading, I lose myself. Right now I’m reading Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, and I love it. I’m also reading about issues of the “commons” because I’ve gotten hip to the open movement in the last year, bandying about terms like “propulsive logic” and “rhetorical velocity” like I know what I’m doing. And sometimes I really know what I’m doing. I teach writing and Victorian literature. I read a lot of science fiction. I love being in the sun. I love writing, too.
I create abstract industrial landscapes: ink on paper. A few samples exist below and to the right–a few hung in Village Gallery in a show in Oct.-Nov. 2010 and again in March 2011. I also had three pieces in a show at AUM sometime in the summer of 2011–and they are on my living room wall now. I also design and create the frames out of plexiglass, washers, nuts and bolts and boat chain–I drill holes in the plexiglass with my 2.5 horsepower old-school-plug-into-an-electric-outlet power drill. I love art. It’s freedom.
Occasionally, I design using a computer. The header on this site is my design: Circumpunct51 (a full version appears below). I fooled around with circles for several months in 2009-10, every single day for stretches of weeks at a time, and designed about a dozen works of circumpuncts for fun and for inspiration. I did a citrus-themed series of circumpuncts; one series using just the traditional circle with a dot in the middle in black, and others with various colors to suit my mood. What can I say? I love a circle, a journey, all tidy and round.
During the summer of 2011, I taught a WAC class, writing across the curriculum. In that class, I explored much of what I do here: weaving together ideas, connecting disciplines in strange and beautiful ways, developing ideas for my next classes, enjoying great conversation and embracing the serendipity that comes when I need it most. Teaching makes me happy. Always. I did that wide-ranging crazy connection thing last fall, too in a pirate-themed pedagogy of basic writing course. And did anyone expect anything different from me in an honors composition sequence this year? I hope not.
I have loved teaching with online writing–and learning more each time I do it. It’s a remarkable thing, this Information Age we live in. I’ve never been a happier teacher. I hope my students have been as happy as I’ve been. It’s a struggle to write so much sometimes and in such a public forum, but so many have stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences. I appreciate that–it makes me want to be a better writer for them, a better teacher. Many have done amazing work worthy of a much wider audience than our class–I hope some will consider a life of writing.
Here is the Citruspunct series. I took the photo of each piece of fruit and used the colors from each to create multiple variations of the circumpunct. I want to do a steampunk circumpunct one day. Can you imagine?