936 hours of inactive blogging, hours that were filled with home improvement projects, camping in the woods, a gaggle of reading, and a smidge of blogging apathy. To be honest, I am not sure if the apathy is completely purged from my bones, but I felt it has been long enough, and though I don’t feel I have anything to say, I decided to write whatever comes to mind.
After the spring semester was over, but before I went on vacation, I spent a lot of time working alone in my office, which for the ordinary, well-adjusted person would mean lots of productive time, but which for me meant lots of time to be reflective, introspective, and generally not productive. (I think I need activity around me to function as a kind of white noise to keep my mind from its innate tendency toward becoming absorbed in the riddles of my soul, my general anxieties about my spiritual well being, and the problems of the human condition.) So, in the midst of one of these reflective excursions I was thinking about what it is that makes certain scholars become respected authorities and known leaders in their field. Particularly, I was thinking about well-known composition scholars Peter Elbow and Andrea Lundsford, and as I thought about their work what struck me is that they are deeply passionate about their subject matter. This is not to say that discipline is not involved in their cultivation of mastery and success, nor that other qualities and forces contributed to their developing reputations. Rather, it is to say that in the midst of it all, passion was certainly a critical ingredient in their success. Once this thought struck me, I also became aware of another related thought, that though I do find composition and rhetoric interesting, and certainly a worthwhile field, I do not see myself becoming a composition scholar. In response to all this, I immediately began to inquire what my passion might be, and just as immediate, it became clear that I am most passionate about theology, culture, history, and spirituality.
As an undergraduate I pursued a degree in intellectual history, which allowed me to get my hands on philosophy, theology and literature with an historical emphasis. The first time I pursued a graduate degree, I pursued a Master’s in theology, which was stimulating, sometimes exhilarating, and sometimes frustrating. After I finished the degree in theology the reality came crashing down on me that unless I wanted to go into ministry I wasn’t going to be able to do much with it. As a consequence I decided to pursue another Master’s degree in literature, which through various circumstances gradually, yet informally, morphed into a composition degree that I have yet to complete. So, here I am with my eyes perhaps a little more open realizing that though there are a lot of professional opportunities for those with a composition background, I cannot really pursue this degree nor go into this field with the kind of passion and integrity I believe should be given to higher education.
I have just turned 40, I have a wife, four kids, a mortgage-sized school loan, and I have the insane hope that somehow I can get into a doctorate program to do what I probably should have been doing all along.