“…and so good a continuer”
“I would my horse had the speed of your tongue and so good a continuer.” — Much Ado About Nothing
I would that I could communicate with you all without arbitrary abstractions, such as letters on a screen! and that I were so good a continuer as to keep up with this blog more frequently. Alas, we are human and language, even if it’s sluggish, is our current tool of communication. I will try to communicate to you what I’ve been thinking about recently instead of inundating you with pictures (although those are also included).
For the sake of most of you (Americans), I’ll get the most obvious albatross out of the way: the election. Yes, I’ve been thinking about the election. I have been able to keep the existential worry out of my system because I have been an observer at a distance. Despite my connectedness via the internet, my literal distance has created an illusory cushion between me and the shitshow that is current politics in the USA. I have also been able to process it differently because people here ask me questions that aren’t often asked (of me) in the USA: how did Trump get a nomination? what is the electoral college and how does it work; also, why? why are there only two parties? (People also ask if I have guns or a ranch when I tell them I’m a Texan.) This has allowed me to reconsider our system and whether it has any value. I’m contemplating that last bit as thoroughly as I can.
The election leads me to something else I have been thinking about recently: being uncomfortable. I have been trying to be more comfortable in uncomfortable spaces. What does this mean? I started to get comfortable in Austin in the last couple of years and now that I’m in a place of discomfort, I can see that the conservatory blinds were gradually squeegeeing up my eyeballs and I slowed in looking for opportunities for growth. I am challenged in multiple ways here, almost daily: interactions in another language, teaching is something I’ve never done before, my roommates are international and have different cultural customs, the weather is as cold as I’m used to it ever getting in Austin (and it’s ONLY October!), as examples. Each of these can be greeted with [Hedgehog Prickles of Resistance] or with curiosity and openness. I am trying my best to keep my wits about me and my eyeballs wide open.
For those of you who are curious, this is what my eyeballs have been reading of late:
Although every book I read serves some purpose in my life, the Gardner book has been particularly useful recently. I am writing more than I ever have, consistently, in my life. Those of you who know me well know how important this is to me. It’s becoming easier to talk about, to engage in, and practice. Being a part of ISFiT (I discuss the organization in an earlier post) in a journalist capacity has also helped me cultivate a consistent practice of writing.
Teaching is another activity that fills quite a bit of my time. I’m not sure teaching is difficult, but teaching well is very difficult. I’m helping in two university academic writing courses, which is a good place for me because I know a bit about the subject. I also spend some of my time at a local high school. I’ll teach about the American election (and will include this article to encourage empathy, and this video to encourage Nerdfighteria) in the upcoming weeks.
Eating - another highly recommended activity. I want to do a post with a food focus, so hold out for that. In the meantime, here are some photos vaguely food-themed:
The last thing I’ll include (before a bunch of photos that I’m too lazy to put into any order) is a playlist. I used to make mix CDs for my mom when I was in high school because she was curious what I was listening to. I started listening to a miscellany of music when I got here, so I made a new playlist for her (available here on YT) and will keep adding to it.