It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
I could tell you I’ve been busy, but I haven’t been any busier than usual. I’m helping to organize another THATCamp Kentucky (y’all should come!). I’m teaching two entirely new classes this semester (but you knew that already). I’ve been applying (and interviewing) for jobs, which took a lot more out of me than I anticipated.
And it’s not like I haven’t been writing. I’m writing articles for Women in Higher Education and Educating Modern Learners (launching ASAP). I’ve been following the news, and I still have opinions about much of what is going on in higher education (and higher education-adjacent). But I’ve mostly been listening to others on these issues before speaking up myself.
But mostly, I’m a terrible liar.
I have any number of aborted posts, some addressing my attempts to transition into an alt-ac or a post-ac position, but I still feel entirely unqualified to talk about any of it. Others talk about my teaching, but it feels disingenuous to write about my teaching when I’m actively trying to find a job that radically reduces how much I teach. I’m frustrated that I love teaching literature so much but that my future (at least any future that pays me a fair wage and provides opportunities for professional growth) probably won’t involve teaching literature. It’s not like my present particularly does either, but my current course-load actively reminds me of all I am trying to give up, what I am walking away from.
And now I’m stuck again.
I have to keep trying to tell myself that this isn’t a blog post, so maybe I can write in this space again. There’s a vulnerability in writing about this (or at least around this) that I’m as surprised as anyone I’m not willing to expose, at least not here. And when I can’t write about what I really want to write about, I can’t write about anything.
There is an allusion in the title to this post that there are only a handful of people (and pretty sure not one of them reads this) will get, so I’ll explain it here. Back in the late 1990s, I started writing on the Internet for a friend’s webzine (although, really, in hindsight, it was a blog). The website was This Is Not An Exit (as for the Internet being forever, good luck finding it!). The experience was liberating and exciting; I had a legitimate audience for my writing, as well as a small but supportive community.
And then I aspired to become an academic, and so (for the sake of my career), I stopped writing on the Internet. I was told that it was…unbecoming of a young up-and-coming academic to write online. I was disciplined into online silence.
And so I was silent.