Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Room of One’s Own

School has started.  New graduate student orientation was the day after our family vacation and the transition felt…awful.

New day, no routine.  I have been listening to David Brooks’, “The Social Animal: the hidden sources of love, character and achievement” on my drives to and from Syracuse, and sometimes I have to turn it off because I find the text too painful.  He presents advancements in science and social science research to illuminate the human processes of obtaining an education, falling in love, pursuing a career, raising children – the full gamut of human interaction.  He posits the theory that we act out of a deep drive to connect with one another…this as I’m disconnecting from a life I feel is only partially successful (I have a fantastic  family…but why can’t I deeply engage with a group…do most career pursuits seem so thin to me because I don’t have some of my own…where is my confidence, my optimism).  I ache wondering if this endeavor will yield any peace.

Here is what I wrote during the first week of school.  Perhaps it seems melodramatic, but I perceived a big shift in my existence, a passing of some point I can’t return to.

So, my writing:

“I’m not gonna lie.  Without a doubt, this has been the most difficult transition of my life.  The school year officially has arrived.  This last week of August, 2011 is the first full week of classes for Syracuse University students, and that includes me.  I’m having a “what the *&%#$%@” moment.  As in,what the *%$@(#  have I done to myself?  I feel a bit like a snail that has been slowly moving through life, producing the snail secretions to make the shell home that has defined and protected my world.  And now, for whatever reason, I’ve decided to lose the shell and live like a snail unprotected.

 I miss my shell…so much.”

And now Virginia Woolf quoted from the essay referenced in my title.  This is why we need writers in our lives.

“…what happens when Olivia…sees coming her way a piece of strange food – knowledge, adventure, art.  And she reaches out for it, I thought, again raising my eyes from the page, and has to devise some entirely new combination of her resources, so highly developed for other purposes, so as to absorb the new into the old without disturbing the infinitely intricate and elaborate balance of the whole.”

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