Sunday, May 6, 2007

Rehearsal vs. performance

I've never been much of a music person. I mean, I like music. I listen to it incessantly. But I don't remember the name of songs or even, often, performers. I stumbled on a couple videos on youtube, but then I found the stash of rehearsal videos.

I'm transfixed.

David Bowie and Annie Lennox. Yum.

Friday, May 4, 2007


There's the question of what it means to desire intensity.

But then there's also the question of what it means to pursue intensity.

I've been pondering lately the nature of taking risks. And thinking about all the ways in which we become risk averse as we get older.

I've been saying I want to be fearless. But I haven't really pushed that, to see what it means. To be fearless in work, in thoughts, in life. And, just to be completely cliched -- fearless in love.

So this is what I see as I look around me and pay some close attention to people who seem a little less jaded than I -- whether because of age, or life experience, or choice. I see a willingness to still engage with intensity, to pursue it actively, to see it as a prize rather than something fearsome.

And then I found myself -- somewhat unexpectedly -- asking myself when was the last time I put myself in a position where someone was actually interested in knowing me. I had a series of boyfriends who were all emotionally disengaged in some fundamental ways. They manifested it in different ways -- sometimes through substances, sometimes through habits of interaction. But I've been gravitating in recent years to people who have numbed themselves to emotion, which makes it *really* safe to engage with them romantically. It becomes a performance of connection, rather than an actual connection. It's a parallel to what I think happens in other venues of life as years past. No passion, please -- we're adults. Too much enthusiasm -- downright unseemly.

Re/discovering that I miss an intensity of connection. But the thought of indulging in that is somewhat terrifying. And, frankly, I'm not at all convinced I remember how to do it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Some new things

I went a few weeks without posting.

Other than the hair, how have I been doing at the 'new things' thing?

* shooting (guns)
* got a ham radio license
* took a turn at the controls of a Cessna 182 (for brief, terrifying moments)
* left a conference early, just because I wanted to
* did some work for the UN (a girlhood dream, the reality of which was a rude awakening)
* DDR obsession embraced

Last weekend I saw a friend. Let's call her Mira. All names changed for the duration, btw. She's about to quit her job. Embark on her own sabbatical. We sat on the boardwalk at the beach and drank beer and talked about life and creating new patterns and curing ourselves of workaholism. She travels more than I do; it was amazing she was in town when I happened to be there. It was serendipity at its best.

one small step

Today I dyed my hair.

One small gesture of rebellion.

As I left the salon, the guy who's been cutting my hair for years finally saw the color. He smiled, said he loved it, said: now that's hair that says, I'm on time off!

It's crazy how substantive a gesture it seems.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Back story

This is a placeholder url.

But here's the back story.

I have a job. A great one. Lots of autonomy. Interesting work. I get to fill up passport pages and learn new things.

But I'm still a little restless.

Through a convergence of much luck and unexpected opportunity and kind people, I've got 18 months to step out of the daily routine of what is admittedly a pretty enjoyable life. I've got 18 months to recalibrate, take risks, and reflect.

Everything can change in 18 months.

I don't know what's going to happen. But I know I've got a couple guidelines.

* At least one new thing a week.

* Most of these things have to be either out of character or things that scare me slightly.

* As little scheduling as possible for the duration of the 18 months.

I don't want to be identified by my job title, or the institution with which I am affiliated. I want to be identified for who I am, and what I do in the world -- not what I do in my work.

There are some institutional ties. A research position at a Large Corporation for 3 months. A fellowship at a Prestigious University next year which will require some onsite time and engagement with their activities. But mostly I want to minimize the influence of institutions and simply live in the world a little freely.

I anticipate disorientation, and a little fear, and considerable uncertainty. Unexpected opportunity and somewhat shocking disappointment. A loosening of professional decorum and discourse. Heartbreak and hope and change. I wonder how many times I will cry. I wonder what boundaries will stretch. I wonder where I will land at the end of this.