Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Gulf of Mexico Fishing Boat Blues" . . . or Coming Back from the Grave (and Returning to the Living)

I’m in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico
Working on a fishing boat, how long I don’t know
Trouble behind me, yes I’m hoping so
Finger on my back, make me say
“Whoa, whoa, whoa”

(Bruce Hornsby)

It has been a very odd year. Living on the boat I had the most disconcerting and almost frightening experience of struggling to write and feeling isolated. I loved being on the boat, loved the music at the marina, loved the life I felt I'd been meant to live, thirty years later, or even just right now. What surprised me was that I thought I welcomed that isolation and believed it would enhance my ability to write. What I found was that, even though I continued conducting numerous interviews during those weeks, I was overcome with strange fears that affected my ability to write ("The boat might sink, and I'd lose my computer and all those library books!").

When I returned to AZ to help care for my father as he was dying, I was further decentered by extended periods of sitting and rumination over the meaning of life and the process of death. When he died on the 16th of August and was buried the 19th, I had four days to finish (more like start) preparing to teach my classes, and so right after his funeral I was distracted in a healthy way by 16 hour workdays and concentrated intellectual activity.

In addition, I was privileged to have my proposal accepted by the national American Academy of Religion Mormon Studies consultation. (I'll blog about that experience later.)

Unfortunately, not only have I not grieved my father, I still haven't written any more on my dissertation. And I haven't been writing here on my blog. John and Kaime's generous promptings have directed me back in this direction, however, and my trip to Chicago has reminded me that I have something to contribute to a community of scholars.

I'm back from the grave, though it's no way to know yet what what will look like.

1 comment:

House of Wilcox Rock!!! said...

HaHAH! I found you! This is Becca from the retreat!
I hope you get an e-mail alert when you get a comment!
send me an e-mail silly goose! beccarockswilcox at gmail dot com