04 November 2010

Explaining myself

It’s been a hectic week, therefore, I have not blogged. Lots of writing and reading, but in a new sort of productive way. I have never written and read like I did this week. So efficient. My document, a bit of writing about Evangelical hermeneutics that will be a part of my literature review, was open on my computer and I was moving seamlessly between the document and my reading. I quoted Foucault without effort and stitched in a paragraph about Bakhtin and voice as though I knew something about it. Yesterday, I had a supervision meeting were I talked through the main points of the writing and felt like I was making compelling, nuanced critiques of other work and that my supervisors were pleased with the progress I had made. Now, to return to the books and finish it up: another 4,000 of the thesis likely done. 4,000 + 3,500= 7,500 words, or 7.5% of the thesis.

I went back to the writing I had done earlier this summer to see if I might be able to cull some words to help me in this text. It seemed so thin to me suddenly, like I had only done a very surface-level analysis. At the time, I felt like I was reaching so deep. Deepness, I suppose, is also relative.

I had some friends from Romania here on Monday and Tuesday, missionaries I had met while I was an Evangelical myself some eight years ago now. We have kept in touch all these years, and they came and stayed with us for two days. Unfortunately, I was writing, something I can’t seem to stop when it starts, but we managed a couple of good conversations, a careful dance I’m getting better at–telling the truth about what I believe in a non-oppositional manner. My belief need not be seen as oppositional to your belief, a stance they both hold as well, so we had very useful conversations. What it made clear to me, more than anything, was how substantively different I am now from when I was 20, when I saw the world through the eyes of faith. It also reminded me that I prefer my current epistemological position, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Of course we look at who we are now as the ideal: we know so much more than we did.

I saw a job posting that was perfect for me (near Nagoya where Yoko is from), but started in the Spring of 2011. As is my custom when these things come up, I e-mailed the contact anyway to check on the possibility of the job being delayed or a similar one coming up in the future. I also just want to advertise myself. Anyway, I worked for about an hour on this e-mail, carefully wording everything, but the response I received made clear that my efforts were more-or-less a waste: all that had been communicated was that I was interested in the job. They did want me to apply, but I sent another careful e-mail saying that I didn’t think I could, but thank you and please let me know if the position goes unfilled.

The real Japan versus how I idealise my time there. A friend reminded me that the advertised position (‘Associate Professor in American Studies’ in this case) and what you end up doing could be quite different. Still, the pay is accurate, as are the teaching hours, so it is not a complete mirage. Remembering the whole experience, however, is something I would serve me well.

When I’m writing, when my research is successful, I feel less of the pressure to think about the future. The writing is all I need. Unfortunately, the muse is absent more than present and will be gone again by next week when I finish drafting this bit and move onto the less satisfying work of coding data.

Finally, the pregnancy is going so much smoother this time. At this point the last two times, Yoko was sleeping for several hours during the day and sick most of the time. Maybe that’s to come, but it could be, my mother tells me, a sign that the baby is a boy, as there is something chemically that makes a boy easier to carry than a girl. Or it could mean nothing: L tells me of a friend for whom this was the opposite. Well, I say, find meaning where you can.