We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. -Anaïs Nin
According to Webster, neglect means "to leave undone or unattended to especially through carelessness," and though I hate to admit it, nothing seems more fitting for this blog these days. I read a rule once, that when you return from spotty posting to a blog, you should never mention it; returns to things to should go unspoken, as if it were demeaning to condescend to the truth behind inattention. I can't bear that though, so I'm pushing that rule aside to tell you this: things have been shifting around here - changing. I don't mean just the end of a school quarter, although, thank goodness that one's through, or the celebration of one year of marriage, again, nothing to shrug at, instead- instead, I mean big inside changes.
I can't speak for the rest of my classmates, but for me, grad school feels like living on another planet a few days a week. The language shifts, conversation changes, people, normal people (whatever that means) look different, sound different. It often feels like some advance version of the future is running up behind like children on the playground trying its best to scare the crap out of you while you're not looking - big, shocking, frightening reminders that you've chosen this other world, and you, it asks coyly, what are you going to do with it?
I have no good way to answer that question, not yet at least, but I do have a better way of hearing it, and that's where the change comes in - I'm beginning to listen more accurately to what's not being said. There's so much talk of where we'll go and how we'll get there- how to be professionals, how to market ourselves, how to market our interests, that sometimes, sometimes it is hard to remember what those interests were to begin with. And so, in an effort to hear the cries of all those things I can't often process above the future's strong siren song, I've been focusing more on the little whispers of poetry and short fiction, postmodern fables and rhetorical devices (I'm just gaga for those). It is so easy to get lost in the push forward, forward, forward, that I lose myself in the trip, forgetting to branch out, water my roots, and, though it is more cliche than I would like, remember where I came from.
I'm such a believer in signs, symbolic reminders that I'm on, if not the right track, a pretty good one, and one of the best signs I have, I've had for years. The Sun magazine, which I've mentioned on every blog I've owned over the years, has a section at the back titled, "Sunbeams" - it's full of quotations appropriate to the content of the issue. Like clockwork, for, oh, six years or so, these quotations have fit mysteriously, perfectly, into my life at that moment. When Andrew first told me he loved me, that same day the issue of the magazine revolved around love (not necessarily a common theme for them). The same can be said for each issue, and to be honest, it's made me feel a little, for lack of a better term, weirded out at times. This month, I chose that quote by Anais Nin weeks ago, thinking it perfect for this post, but questioning quoting her, considering that you see snippets of her work posted so often. Then, last night at the bookstore I picked up the new issue of the magazine and flipped to the back. There, third from the top, was the quote you see above. I might as well stick with the sappy trend of this post and say it - it felt like it was meant to be.
I really love what Nin is saying though, about the very complex nature of who we are, of all the mingling layers that keep us whole. I've been working at respecting my layers lately, feeling grateful to have them, responsible for their definition.