A little over a year and a half ago, I wrote a post describing how I was finally going to get rid of my collection of Canadian Literature (and corresponding critical materials). In it, I lamented how I would never use or read the books ever again (or even for the first time). It was time, I declared, to let go of the past, who I was professionally, and embrace who I was becoming.
How things have changed in a short 18 months.
In that time, I have worked on revising my dissertation for publication (and thus needed some books that I had), joined up with a digital humanities group that focuses on Canadian literature, been offered the opportunity to teach a course in Canadian literature, and, finally, secured a book contract with a Canadian academic publisher to work on a Canadian author.
I guess all I have to do is say, “I will never - ” for the exact opposite to happen.
I will never win the lottery.
That obviously didn’t work.
I’m so glad that I didn’t get rid of all of my Canadian literature stuff. I realize now that the post I linked to above came from a place of frustration and fear – frustration that I was being forced (to my mind) to give up such a large part of myself and fear of what that would mean. Keeping those books and reconnecting with them has been wonderful; I wonder, why would I ever have wanted to give this up?
And then I remember that feeling I described here recently, of having to split myself in two; there’s a difference between letting go of something because I want to versus having to. For example, I can let go of who I was as an undergrad in the name of moving forward as a wife, mother, and professional. Giving up professional love of Canadian literature in the name of, what, exactly? It may help me survive my current position, but I’m coming to realize that this position isn’t going to move me upward or forward professionally. So why give up something so important to me?
I am receiving mixed professional messages right now; on the one hand I am a successful blogger, successful researcher, and a great teacher. But I don’t feel like I’m making any progress in my career. Giving up all of those books was my way of accepting my career as it is now, not as I want it to be. I’m glad I kept those books. Now I just have to figure out how to make them work for me.