26 March 2010

Radio Silence

So, I realize that I've been really silent lately.  No book reviews, no updates, nothing. It's nothing personal, you two readers, I promise. I've just really been struggling with my work, so I've been less-inspired to read for pleasure, because it's all starting to blend together.  

A quick breakdown of my problem:

When we moved out to California for Sean's job, it seemed like a great situation: I was just finishing taking classes, I'm not on guarantee for teaching anymore (so my work would be semesterly with no guarantee of the next semester), I can write from anywhere, and Sean's job is a really good one, he had just finished his Master's program, and he was starting to tire of Winter.  Because we're both from California, and 100+ inches of snow is quite the adjustment.  

In reality, it's been even harder to write from home than I could have ever expected, primarily because I'm not entrenched in the university-system, I'm not surrounded by others who are also writing dissertations, and it's been really difficult to get feedback from two thousand miles and two time zones - all things that I just didn't realize were going to be such challenges for me.  I often feel trapped at home, because we only have one car and we live a mile from a road that would even have a bus stop - and public transportation in Orange County is unreliable at best.  

This might not have been such a struggle, but I also don't have a job (not that I haven't been applying and looking) and I often feel like I'm just sort of not accomplishing anything. Like I don't have anything to show for the reading that I do, or for the time that I've been out here. 

I've been in school nonstop since kindergarten, and I didn't take any time off before starting grad school, so I've never really been in such an unstructured environment. It feels like I've been running on a treadmill (with a trainer) for years - even when I'm not really in the mood the belt keeps moving under my feet so I continue to go through the motions and make progress, and there is someone constantly pushing me to keep at it - and, suddenly, I'm trying to run on the road, alone, and it's just way harder to keep running when I don't feel inspired, especially since the only person who knows when I don't pound the pavement is me, you know?  That's the best analogy I can come up with, and I think that it fits.  

Any advice on how to force myself to accomplish more? About anything, I guess, but I'm obviously looking for help in the arena of writing my dissertation proposal.

So, that's why. I'm going to try to start being more diligent. About working. Because then reading for fun becomes more natural. And I've got quite the list of "to-read" books just staring at me.

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