Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Head poke

Just poking my head in. As you must have surmised... I'm on blog hiatus. I've let my bloglines reading lapse (over 300 messages taunting me), and I've let my voice here go silent.

I'm in transition, seeking a new path for my current trajectory, and a fuller understanding of just where I'm headed. I've contemplated starting a new blog, for my new self, letting PhDBlue fade as a closed chapter of my life. But is it closed? I suppose, one can always reopen a chapter, reread the lines.

Last night, Rocket and I were talking. I spoke of some of my new fantasies. Not necessarily fantasies about if and when I reach great success. But ... well, I said there's a part of me that would be happy to take a job like the one in Beautiful Nowhere, settle down to being a professor, buy a small farm, raise chickens, grow vegetables, open a little restaurant or B&B, can my own jams and sauces, sell them, on days I don't feel like being elsewhere.

She said, you know, it's okay to have different parts of your self, and to let them come out. It's okay to be complex, and to appreciate that complexity.

So, just now, I'm trying to settle in for the long haul that my current projects require. The screenplay will take me sometime. If I can "sell" the idea, it will take even longer to realize. And my analysis: I'm trying to do something quite different with Applied Research Field than has been done. I'm trying to look at things in a way that has been overlooked. And I'm trying to learn as much as I can about what has been done, and how, so that I can piece together many of the tools that are currently available. No need to reinvent the wheel, when I just wish to make a better chassis.

If I do start a new blog, I'll let you all know. Meantime, friends, thank you for being there these past couple years. And thank you for your patience with me as I enter my cocoon. Who knows? Maybe life as a butterfly awaits.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Who are we, anymore?

When I began this blog, I was motivated for change. I wanted to find a community, a home, a sense of belonging. I was adrift, lost in the current, without navigation. Things have changed... but, (in honor of the recent French election), la plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. And yet, things are different.

As my wife, the Rocket Scientist recently put it: the time for self-reflection is over; now is the time for action. Indeed, but we must retain our mirrors, glance every now and then at windowpanes and puddles.

Today was slow. I'm sick. By coincidence I had my annual physical exam this morning, scheduled to coincide with the Painter's 5-year check up. When I finally arrived at my office, I was thoroughly uninspired.

This afternoon, I checked my mail to find a small package from Amazon.com. Not a book mind you. I've been ordering a few movies of late, to inspire me. Today's package brought The Human Stain, a fine movie, based on the book by Philip Roth. The cast includes Anthony Hopkins and Gary Sinise, two of my favorites.

But why am I watching movies for inspiration? I'm writing a screenplay. It's project #3 on my list. Three tasks I'm working on, well, four perhaps, depending on how you count. That is my work. Quite a treat to be driving again.

I find myself still seeking my ground, wishing to tie my horse to a post, wondering if this tavern is to be home for a while. It's been since February that I've entered the waters of Applied Research Field. In many ways, it feels like home. The screenplay is not a distraction. In a sense it's marketing. The storyline is about the work I wish to do. In fact, for the movie to actual be realized, it will require my company to do a great deal of the work. That's part of the point. I'm enjoying the chance to draw so many of my disparate interests into a single project, and one which points toward so many more.

Nothing is certain. Sometimes, the journey is most of the fun!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

So far behind

I'm so far behind on reading your blogs my friends. Friendship... that's a hard one for me. I'm moved around so much in my life. I've lost more friends, than many people ever know. But I admire those whose friendships last. I'd like to be one of them.

I'm a rather social being, outward, obvious. I have a way of making myself known, and knowing people. To some extent, I think it arose out of my early childhood experiences. I had a terrible time in elementary school, in part because of a bully I thought was my best friend in second grade. I was also almost a year younger than most of the kids, and smaller. Long story. But the upshot is, I learned to navigate the murky waters of cliques by always being a satellite, never in enough to be expelled, never out enough to be ignored. And this technique allowed me to have several groups of friends. But it also kept me somewhat of an outsider.

That sense has lived with me ever since. I've wrapped it up with my self-identity as a secular Jewish American.

All that said, I don't wish to lose the friendships I have developed here. Many of you have been a crucial part of my path from there to here. I've been blogging for nearly a year and a half. Your companionship has been my life raft. But I fall silent a bit lately.

In many ways this silence is a good thing. Beneath the derma of my extroversion, lies a skeleton of self-reflection, quietude. I've been busy lately. Busy with my work. That has been good. I'm not really miserable anymore. Sure, there are slips. But I'm steering again, no longer adrift in the waves without a rudder.

But steering takes more concentration than I've given it. And that takes time away from other things. I hope you will not mind my slowly catching up on your lives, my likely commenting on some posts late in the game.

I am still here. In fact, I'm back like I haven't been in years. As they say in Czech: Drž se, přátele. Jasně, se držím.*

* [NB: This translation can not do justice to the original]
Hold on, my friends. Clearly, I will.