Blank space

We listen to a lot of Taylor Swift in my house, as I am the parent of three “Swifties”. Some of the lyrics get into my head whether I want them to or not (though I am a moderate Swiftie myself). “Blank Space” is one of those songs I like even though I am sure I am not the target audience for it, but her blank space is different than the one I have been experiencing this summer.

I have not been able to write, and haven’t really wanted to write. I have wanted to want to write, but that is about as close as it gets. Part of not wanting to write has been time, but the big part of not wanting to write has been about feeling like it doesn’t matter what is said. I don’t mean this piteously, like, “no one listens to my words, poor me” but rather I feel like I don’t see much evidence in the current world that people are swayed into thinking or acting differently about something because of someone’s written words.

The closer we get to the start of the semester (hello, next week!) I have felt the pull to organize my thoughts into writing more, which seems promising for my teaching if nothing else. I have been developing syllabi and am excited about some of the readings and discussions we will be having. I am hoping to approach my classes with more curiosity and creativity this semester, leaning into that with the comfort of the fact that I have a million semesters (maybe a few less) of solid foundational teaching to support some curiosity and creativity.

At the end of the spring 2022 semester, our seniors gave each faculty a book. They did a great job matching books to people, and the picture below is the one I was lovingly gifted. Love the Fur You’re In: Monster Wit and Wisdom from Sesame Street is going to be a guiding force for this semester, I can feel it.

Here’s to embracing the blank spaces as periods of rest….as something that comes “before”, and as something yet to be determined. Pressing on in the creation of the beloved community!

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