September 11th, 2013

Receding Over the Horizon

For quite some time now, I've been contemplating different things I might write here, both to restore some of my diminished self-esteem -- having a regular presence here was very important to me, for eight years -- and to update those of you who still remember me and are curious how I've been faring. But that portion of the day when I used to compose my LJ entries, the hour or two before midnight, has been so thoroughly colonized by the tasks left over from the rest of the day that I just can't justify spending the time writing more than a paragraph. And only posting a single paragraph here seems silly at this point.

Anyway, I suppose I've said all that before. The difference of late is that I have had more reason to return to LJ. First, some major things have been happening on the family front, both with Kim's parents and mine. Few of them are good, but they still deserve acknowledgement. Second, Skylar started high school last month, which I am still struggling to comprehend, and is managing its stresses and strains quite well so far. Third, and most pressingly, I ended up being assigned to teach a course -- this was very last minute -- on the "examined life", for which I quickly put together a syllabus that would make the sort of writing that most of you have been doing here for however many years exemplary.

Today in class, alongside our ongoing discussion of Henry David Thoreau's Walden -- which, truth be told, has been more of a lecture by me than the sort of spirited back-and-forth I prefer -- I felt obligated to mention 9/11, like most other Americans. In preparation, I went back over some of the posts I've made here to commemorate that date and, as usually happens when I go into calendar mode, ended up reading through a bunch of other entries, an exercise that did not make me sad, as it had previously since I stopped posting regularly, but inspired me, rather, to revive my passion for "life writing", whether here, somewhere else or both.

No matter how inspired I get, though, there remains the problem of time management. Given how little of it I have free these days, the only way I can hope to do more than dream is to become a lot more disciplined with my "down" time. Right now I have mostly been using it to read, which is inevitably rewarding, but also very time-consuming for a post-dyslexic like myself. I would hate to give up the pleasure of immersing myself in fiction, yet know that making headway on my other projects pretty much demands it.

I just realized that I've made it four paragraphs into this entry without actually talking about 9/11, which must be a record for me. Even though I revisited what I'd written for the anniversary this morning and felt twinges of sadness, it's clear that, while I will never forget that terrible day, it has finally made the passage from the present to the past. I am now able to place it in a historical context where it's not simply a pure epistemic break, but a significant point on a continuum that can be traced back several decades and is still with us today.

I also have resisted the urge to post one of the photos I have used to make the anniversary more visceral in the past, like that shot of Skylar in the baby backpack on Kim, with the twin towers looming grayly in the distance or one of the ones we took when Mark Bingham visited us at our old house in Vallejo. These photos are still extremely important to me, but I am content to keep them to myself. I hope that constitutes the right sort of progress.