It’s ridiculous how long I’ve let this blog languish, un-updated. Last time I posted it was to talk about fall in the Blue Ridge; now summer is hard upon us (after one of the worst winters in memory – I swear, it was like being back in Michigan again, what with all the snow we got, not to mention the busted heat pump that had us huddling around space heaters and the woodstove for a month). At least for the first month I had a good reason not to post, as I was hard at work writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. November was a long time ago, however. (I “won” NaNo, by the way, writing 50,029 words of a murder mystery set in the special collections department of an unnamed university, though a lot of the settings and characters were drawn from my experiences at WMU. It’s a mess of a first draft – and not quite completed – but it might be salvageable someday.)
Since my last post, a lot has happened, and not much has happened. I did, finally, graduate from WMU in December, and have a diploma as proof. Now in addition to being a Master of Theological Studies, I am also a Master of the Arts in Medieval History. Or Mistress, if you prefer. Unfortunately, I remain unemployed, despite my best efforts. There’s not much call where I live for people with my skill set, and I’m pretty much stuck here until my son graduates high school and/or goes off to college (he may take a gap year, something that’s uncommon in the US but I am encouraging him to consider).
Speaking of the genetic offshoot, he’s presently undergoing behind-the-wheel training so he can get his driver’s license this fall. Presently presently, however, he’s studying for end-of-year exams and mentally girding his loins for an accelerated precalculus course he’ll be taking online over the summer, with the goal of being able to take AP Calculus next school year. He’s quite the math whiz, my boy. He’s been getting lots of mail (snail and electronic) from colleges, and I’ve been trying to help him sift through them (and, on occasion, adding to the pile with recommendations of my own). Currently Carnegie Mellon is his top choice, with Macalester a very close second. Finally, last month he ran the Blue Ridge Half-Marathon. When we moved here last fall he reluctantly joined his school’s cross-country team – they don’t have a track and field team – but had such a wonderful coach that he fell madly in love with long-distance running, and after the success of the Blue Ridge Marathon he’s eager to try another.
Despite my lack of gainful employment, I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve been reading a lot – fiction mostly, in a variety of genres, though my goal for 2010 is to read more works in translation and more works by non-Western authors, with non-Western settings – and have started a blog for book reviews (it’s gotten off to a slow start though, for many of the same reasons why I haven’t posted here in so long). Recently I went through my collection of scholarly monographs and other academic books and pulled a bunch I’d been meaning to read (or re-read, in some cases) and am now working through that stack as well; currently I’m reading Lisa Bitel’s Women in Early Medieval Europe, 400-1100. I seriously considered submitting a paper proposal for the SEMA meeting in November but couldn’t get my ducks in a row in time – I do plan to attend, as it’s just down the road from me, and maybe I can get those ducks to line up so I can submit a proposal for next year’s Medieval Congress (after three years of being right there, it felt weird not to be in attendance this year, though I’ve loved reading everyone’s write-ups). I hope my reading will open my eyes to new lines of inquiry, either for scholarly purposes or more creative ones.