Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Troy Record has a columnist, John Gray, who is a really excellent writer. Yesterday he wrote a touching piece about the recent death of his mother from ALS. Unfortunately, the newspaper's website isn't great, and John Gray's columns aren't online. A couple of years ago we were subscribers, but we cancelled due to commuting; there was little time, so the papers built up, unread. I may subscribe to the Record again, if only because of his columns, and also because of a really funny feature they have called "Sound Off." It is a phone number, where readers can call in and leave a thirty-second message that might get in the paper. The results are often hysterical. Sound Off is one thing that they do post online.

On another local newspaper front, my letter was in the Independent. Unfortunately, the letters to the editor are not online. They titled it, "Has questions about our stories." It reads well. They put the "Dr." in front of my name. I always feel a little funny about that, but I have to admit it felt good to see it there. In a lot of ways, the novelty will never wear off. Sometimes I think it is pretentious or tacky to wave around the PhD, but then I remember the years and years it took to get it. I call it by the euphimism "a pleasant memory," because that's the way so much of life, when it works out, is. (When it doesn't, that's another story.)

How could I forget the many nights I was in class until after 10 p.m., then walking on campus after dark, with my trusty pepper spray in hand? Or how tired I was on so many of those days, working full-time and being a student? Rushing to leave the office on time so I could catch the bus from downtown to the campus, and walking, often in the snow or rain, the long distance from the road to the academic buildings, dodging cars, mud, and patches of ice, wearing a suit, dragging my heavy bookbag, my feet wet and freezing, trying not to be late to class again. Struggling to budget enough money to buy the books. Spending endless nights in the PC lab, before I had my own computer, wishing I had the money for a second-hand 286. "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, and if watches were turnips, I would wear one by my side."

Resisting the urge every semester to fill out paperwork for a leave of absence. Missing important events, dinners out, entire television seasons, movies, pleasure reading, creative writing, other hobbies, and beloved sleep to finish a paper. The day, after a night with minimal sleep and a morning spent frantically switching between putting the finishing touches on my final project for class and on a slideshow for work, when I was staffing an academic conference for my job that was being held at a hotel across the street from campus. I had to slip out and run to class to deliver my project in time to make the deadline, and then return to the hotel to resume my duties and all-important dinner-time shmoozing. Realizing that the only way to avoid "ABD" was to take the risk of resigning from my job and returning to full-time school. And I could never forget the endless re-writing and re-analysis involved in completing a dissertation. Yes, I most definitely earned that salutation. Sometimes I just need to remind myself.

I had a little time, so I tinkered a bit with the Annie McSpirit Handmade Soap webpage, and with the Gully Brook Press website.

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