Tuesday, August 11, 2015

No one can dictate my story but me.

     I love this quote by Ann Lamott.  This summer has been one of story upon story. The beginning of the summer was rough; I was dealing with the edge of depression (it still happens now and then), was betrayed and discarded by someone I thought was a friend, and felt at loose ends in a number of ways. My summer was saved by a connected learning MOOC (massive open online course) designed for educators. It included a number of challenges that allowed me to grow both artistically and professionally. I also made some new contacts who may become friends. I also found healing at my annual trip to Gulf Shores with true, longtime friends who know me well and assured me of my worth.
     I also had fun working on a chapter in a book with colleagues, finding a place in becoming with other professional acquaintances, and preparing new material with yet another educator for a couple of big education conventions. These professional collaborations got me thinking about the importance of language and story in both teaching and in life. These ideas are evolving, but may be a new direction for my doctoral research. Social media will still be a part of the process, but likely as a part of how language affects story. A Twitter post of 140 characters requires a different language than an essay, a photo, or a multi-modal composition. How do people determine which medium to use when telling their stories?
     Tomorrow begins a new chapter in my own story. Orientation at Georgia State kicks off a new philosophical course of study, and a new teaching position will keep me grounded in reality. I expect to be gleefully busy doing things I love to do: educating, researching, learning, and creating. And I will be telling the story I own.

created with my phone photos from this summer, an Anne Lamott quote from Pinterest, and Pixlr

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Element: Water

I think I have covered the four elements in this series, but there are more ideas brewing!

Overlays by Design Cuts
Wings from Deviant Art

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Deep Water

I've been enjoying my summer break with my annual trip to Gulf Shores, a Connected Learning MOOC, and dipping my feet into the research I plan to do as a doctoral student. Still, I've had time for introspection, especially late at night.

I've thought a lot about different ways people approach life. Some seem to be content to splash around in the shallows, while others submerge themselves into deep water. Neither approach is necessarily better than the other, but they are distinctly different.

Many people prefer the predictable nature of the shallows. They ride the waves and frolic in knee deep water, letting laughter cover up disappointment and sorrow. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the shallow waters; I spent a week doing just that in the Gulf of Mexico and loved it. It is refreshing and happy.  It is safe and requires little risk. It is easy to maintain a protective shell in the shallows, and there is plenty of company to help share the burdens of life.

Others choose to dive into the deep waters, leaving the surface to find the beauty of the unknown. In the deep is adventure and purpose and meaning. Sorrow and betrayal are keenly felt, but the rich experiences bring deep and abiding joy. There are risks, to be sure. Going deep means being vulnerable, and vulnerability is scary. Fewer people choose the deep, so it is often a lonely journey. But there is meaning in the deep that the shallows cannot convey. There is a stillness that requires meditation on both the tragedies and comedies of life. Exploration of the most difficult places in the heart is unlimited, and no moment, sad or joyous, is left unattended.

I choose the depths.  I get hurt, it's true, but I also know joy beyond happiness, satisfaction beyond superficiality, and a sense of becoming real.  I can't fault those who, for whatever reason, prefer the shallow water with its safety and predictability. I just know that, although I don't mind the occasional visit there, I could never be fully and truly myself in a knee deep life.  I need to ponder the depths of emotion and philosophy and thought. I need to understand why the waves crash the way they do, and how a stillness is possible beneath the choppiest sea. Deep calls to deep, so the Psalmist says, and I must respond. It's who I am.