Saturday, July 25, 2009


There are conceivably so many things to post about: Race in America is on everyone's lips; the semester is a month away with a new president at our university; our nation's president has hit a few speedbumps in his love affair with America; the economy's still bad, but might be getting better; I'm entering my last full year before I put in my tenure file; I received the best course evaluations this year that I've earned in my entire career; even the professional inertia I reported earlier this week has lifted some.

But with all of those big things to write about, I'm finding myself almost constantly focused on a smaller, more focused life these days: sleeping, eating, spending time with my children, with Willow, with our friends who have visited us and our new baby.

Over the past weeks, I've felt a nagging urge to be more productive, to get more done, to accomplish more. But for the most part, I've spent my time in the kitchen, in the back yard, on the sofa: hardly places where one's career is made, where systems of tyranny are dismantled, where change happens.

As a younger man, I really did want to be a Big Deal, and among my worst fears was not to be known, or remembered, or something. I regarded it a failure to be just one of the billions. How silly. The countermanding understanding that our lives are small things in the grand scheme, and that we make of them what we can in the time we have is one that remains hard to swallow at times, but on days like this, it's some consolation indeed.

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