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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Dissertating; Catching up with Liz; the Zoo; Jobs 
17th-Jun-2007 01:09 am
Strider/All that is gold...
Dissertating. My life is about dissertating. I'm still having fun with it, with about 100 raw pages written now, but it's such a huge thing, and I'm writing the easiest, quickest part of it right now. I got a huge, annoying curve ball thrown at me last week, though. I received an email last week from the Department which had been just been told by the Graduate School that they were missing my Doctoral Dissertation Outline. Gale, who runs our Department, found that she did not have a copy of it and contacted me. I had not given it a thought after working on it through September and then turning back to my classes after taking care of Fr. Golitzin's requested corrections in October. I printed out another copy immediately and passed it to Gale. Where the original is is anyone's guess. So I thought this was all finished in October but now – after I've already started the dissertation – I'm receiving all sorts of emails from my Dissertation Board with tweaks, corrections and questions. Total pain. I mean, they're good points: I just thought that was all done. So I'm having to backtrack and go through some of the planning stage again, while also writing, and while also trying to polish a few articles for publication. Oi.

Still, I've made a little time off. Wednesday evening had me strolling up Farwell Avenue after stopping by Collector's Edge on my way to dinner at the Twisted Fork. Along the way, I was shocked to come across the police taping off the sidewalk on the bridge over the bike path, about two blocks south of the Fork, or south of North Avenue. Stretched out on the pavement below was a sheet-covered human body, with other police below questioning people sitting on the grass. As I was meeting a former student who was now working for the Journal-Sentinel, I gave her the heads-up on the incident, which she phoned in to her editor. She didn't have to run off, though, because there was a regular police-beat writer who would be assigned to the story. I never did find out what happened: the Journal-Sentinel site is always bafflingly-organized, to me. But I had a fun time catching up with Liz Challice and especially hearing about her five-month backpacking/train-hopping tour of Europe after she had left her disappointing newspaper position in her native southern California. We ended up sliding across the street to a pub called Paddy's with a great enclosed courtyard and continuing our talking and drinking over there until some late hour.

Thursday evening saw me back at the zoo with the Lloyds and Harrises, but this time with a lot more of the animals still out in the evening. Little Renée (who had her third birthday party today, which was my typing break) and Anna were in great form and eager to chat about anything we saw. And it's just a fun way for the adults to talk: rather than getting one or two conversations going where we drift apart into two groups, everyone just sort of kept mixing and matching, moving from one small conversation to another. It was a great way to catch up with everybody and talk a little bit about everything. We got closer to a rhino than I've ever been, saw an immense king cobra, listened to the girls babble insanely about the huge fish from the Amazon while Owen gloried in his new-found communication of purposefully pointing at things, and I heard a great bellow of a snort from one of the hippos floating in their waterhole. Worth the price of admission alone.

The first job posting for a tenure-track position for the Fall semester of 2008 has just been announced. So I have to try to get enough dissertating done this summer that I can be a reasonable candidate for that. Applications are due in October, though, which seems like tomorrow. This one's at the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit school, and they're more of a Religious Studies program looking for someone who's really a theologian, so as to try to gain some strength in Theology itself, rather than the more social-sciences approach. So that's attractive. I've also been tipped for a position at the University of Scranton – again, a Jesuit school – this time around the Poconos of Pennsylvania. For something I've been aiming toward for these last few years, it's strangely mind-blowing to think this type of thing is already coming up....

Oh, and I tweaked an older entry after receiving some photographs from Andrei that illustrated it....
17th-Jun-2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
That IS an annoying curve ball -- did you not get tweaks and corrections before, or is this a new set of tweaks? Either way, it is rather discombobulating. Are the articles bits of dissertation or other presentations? *is endlessly nosy*

Good lord -- job postings already? It feels far too soon -- is your job cycle like ours, I wonder...

Poconos! Should you end up there -- even for just an interview -- you should see if you can find time to visit the Orthodox monastery/seminary St. Tikhon's. It's the oldest of its kind in the country, and it's about a half-hour north of Scranton.

And that last shot in the older entry is, bar none, my favorite photo of you ever.
28th-Sep-2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
And I tripped across this again, where I've been long been curious and amused, but never really asked why that last is the case.
28th-Sep-2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Perhaps because it's a rare shot of you wholly unaware of the camera... or nearly so.
28th-Sep-2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense. In that respect it's a much better photograph that I might otherwise describe it.
28th-Sep-2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Well, as I have said elsewhere, it's not a terribly wonderful shot, it's the pose that makes it.
28th-Sep-2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
Oi! I hadn't seen that you had played with that!
28th-Sep-2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's not something I think I made much of.
28th-Sep-2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm kind of tickled by it! I'm having dinner with her (among others) tonight: maybe I show it to her and see if I can understand her reaction without her Mom translating for me. (Excited Renée-speak can get difficult.)
28th-Sep-2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
*laughs* "kind of"? I hope Renée likes it...
28th-Sep-2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, everyone likes seeing themselves in a picture – at least, outside a blackmail scenario.
28th-Sep-2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
And WHY, pray tell, did you trip across this again (and for that matter, not speak the curiosity/amusement what, three months ago?)

Not that I'm not as guilty of rereading old posts, etc.
28th-Sep-2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
I couldn't say as to why I didn't see fit to say anything then. As to the other, I was backtracking to link an old post to an entry of kesil's to which I had just responded.
28th-Sep-2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
I read that post through friendsfriends -- it maddened me.
28th-Sep-2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Mine? His? What? Why? Huh?
28th-Sep-2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
His. My most recent post was in some sense a response thereto, though not exclusively so.
28th-Sep-2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
Huh. I completely had not put those together when I read them. Even though I probably read them a minute apart, I wondered what had provoked you....
28th-Sep-2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's been a slow boil and that was just the catalyst for a minor explosion... several of our new students are Romanticists (and you may recall how I feel about the Romantic worldview)
28th-Sep-2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Long story short, [Erg – not too short, after all] you (and no one else) can see a back-dated entry listed on July 13 where I posted our correspondence of the 13th-15th under the topic of "What's Been Going On." I was re-reading those, also, late last night because I've realized in the last week how difficult it has been for me to forgive Jen for what happened in July. That is, not for the break-up, which really is neither here nor there, as I perfectly understood in May that such things sometimes don't work out. But it's the cultivation of friendship, through the dating period, and then afterward as she was so gracious in walking through that period with me, only to return in July and then tip her cards and reveal all this spite, that I am still struggling with.

I've had friends who went through situations like this, where they had gotten involved with someone who was great on the surface, or who presented a great face when they were "on," but I guess I can't believe that something like that could happen to me, or that I could have gotten involved with someone like that. Especially when it seemed that one of the things we were committed to – honesty with one another – could be so violated that it seems in the end I was only dealing with a façade of a person. It retroactively robs me of the earlier time, wondering whether all these experiences were only a mask and not the person I thought I was with, or who I thought was the object of love. I don't know: I just cannot understand how a person could be like that. And so it is the betrayal or denial of friendship, of integrity, that still wounds.

As I think I said to you at the time, it would have been an easy matter to simply say that she felt uncomfortable being friends, and we could have parted with goodwill. The shocking bigotry of denying the possibility of friendship with someone who had different beliefs not only seemed a denial of the future, but also of the past. The need to cast me into a Fundamentalist role is understandable given her history, but is also a shocking repudiation of honesty in a way I just cannot understand, other than as the "sabotaging" that justifies one in taking a strong course of action. Arguably, I could be doing the same casting job here, but in the face of an equally-shocking rejection of authentic communication, I'm left wondering whether this was in fact her true face all along. And that, like I said, does the horrible violence of taking everything I thought was good – the vast majority of all our time and interaction – and leaving it looking insincere. The later, hostile writing that you and others pointed to just ends up reinforcing that impression.

And so, I'm having a hard time forgiving not just a betrayal of friendship as such, but what feels and looks like a retroactive murder of all that had seemed good before it: that I was used, and that everything I offered and surrendered in the name of love was not only disrespected, but abused. And again, this from someone I tried to treat with the height of respect and love. I just cannot fathom one person doing this to another – at least, not a person that I could have thought of as a partner in love.
28th-Sep-2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
Ojala, Mike. I think the time for dissection has really passed, perhaps? This seems worryingly ... unhelpful. But of course, what do I know.

It's so odd -- April is so recent and yet so long ago.

I'm horribly pleased, I have to say, that she recently was served with her own medicine. This is unkind, of course, but...
28th-Sep-2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
I know this seemed to come out of nowhere since in the same way that I wouldn't journal publicly about the constant great joys of being in love, I also wouldn't publicly paint on ongoing report of my disbelief and pain of this kind of scenario. Of course it is past time for it to go away, and on a number of levels it has. I've dated some since then, though nothing has really taken. I realize there's this aspect to it all lingering that I know isn't just unhelpful, but wrong. What I described as a lack of forgiveness on my part was exactly that: me realizing a certain incapacity (at least "yet," I hope!) coming out of my anger and hurt that is something I have to deal with, for me.

While she seemed to have to reduce any moral concerns or language on my part to simply moralizing, you can understand that it has much more to do with integrity: in myself, in relationship to her at the time, and always and especially before and with God. I have to be honest that I cannot fulfill the contract right now: "as we forgive our debtors," and that's only concern I have left. The only love I need to have toward her anymore is simply that of compassion in letting go and forgiving, and I can tell that I'm not really there, and that that is, at a certain level, dangerous for me. That's what I was trying to articulate to you.
28th-Sep-2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm aware it doesn't come out of nowhere, and that of course there are things that one elides over in a semi-public chronicle (as true of me as you).

I guess I find myself in a ... parallel situation of sorts, and have found it's better for both current peace and long-term healing to just try to be indifferent rather than think about it, as I cannot "talk out" my anger with this person, because we are not in that sort of interaction, never were and never shall be. And that is a judgment on my part of another human being, which at times worries me.

And I know that a much better person than I would have been able to do more, with more kindness and forgiveness, and it reminds me painfully of my limitations. It is, as you say, an incapacity, and a galling one. I cannot forgive either at the moment, and so I try merely not to do active harm.

Blither blither. Oddly enough, I just stepped away from writing this to apologize to someone for snapping at them yesterday.
17th-Jun-2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the job search.
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