If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near, as it were your own?
It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
Grateful Dead ¤ Ripple ¤ American Beauty
As some of you know I am not doing so hot again.
Before I go any further, let me say “Thank you!” to those of you who check in with me, make me laugh and remind me that those I care about also must face their own demons. I think (hope) you know who you are.
There are so many reasons for my current situation; many are old and highly persistent. Many will never be mentioned here.
I am sick, again. Now many people in the world are facing far more serious health issues than I am. But, nonetheless, this almost constant low-grade ill feeling for the last year and a half or so has become tiresome, in multiple ways. It is also actively interfering with any attempt to actually get back in better shape so that I could generally feel better. Viciously circular, ’tis.
It is also that time in “the cycle.” Spring is, or at least used to be, much worse. A few of you are aware of why that is and I’ll leave it at that. But this past Spring went quite well; even dreadful expectation didn’t make it too bad. Oh, there were small issues, no doubt, but my hard learned coping skills were enough.
This time I’m not so sure. I still noticed the onset of “symptoms” and I have begun implementing those skills. Check. But something is different.
I’ve had a few realizations recently that have affected me deeply. One will never be talked about here but it is something which I absolutely cannot stand about myself. Perhaps it can change as it is a fairly recent phenomena.
The other has been building over time but has only recently found full expression. It, too, was fairly devastating for a while. I have since realized that, although true, it was only one side of the story. The other side, which I had been telling myself and many others, is also true.
Despite my continuing education being a way to avoid facing much about the state of my life, it still serves all of the more positive reasons that I have espoused. And those reasons will serve my patrons, my employer, and myself quite well.
In the meantime, I am about through with “school.” Although my education does not match most of those who have been (somewhat rightfully) complaining about the state of LIS education in the blogosphere, and elsewhere, it is starting to grate on me. In my case, it is not the content of LIS or any other discipline. It is school. Although I have an amazing department and set of professors and instructors who almost never give busy work or meaningless assignments or other kinds of assignments to be derided, I nonetheless could care less about doing most of my assignments.
I simply want to read and to discuss what I’ve read with folks who have also read and care about the issues involved. I don’t care if they agree with me either. Just make me think. Of course, I also want to spend time with people who think somewhat along the same lines as I do so that we may jointly attack issues and problems of merit.
Friday I turned in a midterm that almost had something along the lines of “I simply do not care” as answers for a few of the questions. I managed to do a little better than that because I am a big boy and do, on some level, care. This is not to say that I think any of the questions are meaningless, unimportant, or even busy work. I know that they are important and meaningful questions, and I greatly appreciate and respect that fact. But, personally, I could care less if tic-tac-toe can be modeled as a DFA or not. Nor do I particularly care why, and how many states it might require. Important? Yes. Meaningful? Yes. But those questions are for theorists of computer science to answer. And that person is not me.
Now I know (or at least feel) that that attitude is wrong. I especially feel bad since the person who almost received such an answer is the one who wrote and presented me with an award at my MLS graduation. I feel as if I am letting him down. I do not like that at all. But the mind leads one into painful territory when it goes into self-preservation mode.
So it is definitely time to get out of full-time school. Thankfully (God, I can’t believe I just said that), I am almost there. I have hopefully (awaiting confirmation) moved my Python class back from 4 to 2 hours meaning I won’t have to do a final project. So I have a few more small programs to write and a small final, I think. This leaves me a tad freer to keep reading what I am interested in, particularly towards my CAS project topic.
Of course, I will need to do my bibliography for Dr. Krummel. Now I’m pretty certain that I won’t want to do that either. But I’m fairly certain that I can motivate myself since it is pretty important towards making progress on my CAS project.
After that it is just my CAS project in the Spring. I am going to try and sit in a class or two, though. Allen Renear is teaching a class on Ontology development and Kathryn and Pauline Cochrane are having a seminar on Subject access.
590OD’s description is not in the catalog yet, but here’s the one for 590SA:
An advanced topics seminar in subject access that covers a range of topics including aspects of the traditional bibliographic canon, Hjorland’s philosophical challenges to universal subject access, ongoing discussions at the Library of Congress about Library of Congress Subject Headings, experimentations with hybrid folksonomic and taxonomic approaches, as well as case studies of how enhanced subject access can increase ROI in business and industry.
Hey! This is the first time I actually read the course description (as it matters not to my desire to sit in) and see? See? Hjørland. I need to be there. Of course, all the other clauses are good enough justification, too.
Some of you may be wondering why in the hell I’d want to sit in on more classes if I am fed up with school. Fair enough. But I said sit in, as in unofficially audit. I know Allen is fine with it. I am hoping Pauline and Kathryn will be. I can go and listen. I can prepare if I want to. And I can participate once in a great while when I can no longer sit on my hands and/or keep my mouth shut.
Besides, I’ve had several Ph.D. students, past and current, tell me that it is best to keep oneself somewhat engaged in something that interests you once you get to the full-time writing.
There is still the unspoken question about actually writing my CAS paper. I’m pretty sure that I’m OK here. Sure. I’d prefer to just read and discuss. But another of my problems is that I have almost no one to discuss with (in a manner conducive to my style of discussion. Not to dismiss those who gratefully continue to attempt discussing with me in this venue and by email). Despite the fact of writing very little for my classes while pursuing an education in LIS, I do well remember writing lengthy papers on complex topics. Grappling with one (or a few) main text and a few supporting or peripheral texts and working through some serious analysis and synthesis to produce something that one could be proud of is something I remember fondly from not too far back in the past [See the stuff under Sociology].
The thing to be proudest of was often the immense amount of learning that took place and not necessarily the actual product that was written. The actual writing of the paper only serves to focus the work of analysis and synthesis and, thus, the learning. And that can be a very valuable means to do so. It also serves as something for the professor to use as a judge of the learning that has taken place, but that is primarily a requirement of our educational system and not of learning proper.
So, assuming I can keep such experiential knowledge in mind, I think I can write my paper just fine. I may have few hopes, but this is an important one, and I am looking forward to it.
My plan at the moment is to keep reading and hopefully thinking about the issues. I was taking some notes but need to get better about it. I also need to enter more of my readings into Zotero and not just here.
From what I’ve read so far I need to pick out what I consider to be key texts and do the above with them if I haven’t already, along with writing some draft annotations. I need to identify what others seem to be potentially key and prioritize them. Some of what I have been reading has been driven by the 2- or 3-week loan periods with no renewals that a few lenders are imposing. Grrr!
As for my Python class, well, I just don’t know. I tried lots of things earlier today to get my 3rd program working. While I was able to get lots of assorted error messages, I was unable to get anywhere. Having tried so many different things I am now more confused than I was when I started. If I was ever on the right road I have no idea now. This one isn’t due until Monday afternoon so we’ll see.
There are avenues of help available to me but none of those really work for me. The effort to implement them is simply too great for me in my present state. They’d be a royal pain in a normal state. Now….
I do know I dropped a class as late as 11 Nov. once.
I haven’t had much time since getting back from ASIS&T to do what I should in this venue. I have lots of comments to get to, lots of emails—personal, school-related and professional—to attend to, and other ways in which I haven’t really treated others as well as I’d like, discourse-wise, over the last few weeks.
Lots of things to say/do but far too broken to say/do them. I hate being here and I do not like that person who incessantly whispers in every corner of my mind when I am. And, no, I am perfectly sane. I am well aware that that person is me.
I can no longer hear my own voice
nor am I holding it near
Perhaps they are better left unsung
I told you something was different this time. I do not know exactly what that is … but the fact that I’m using this song to illustrate something negative is breaking my heart. It is not the only positive touchstone that I have lost touch with.
Perhaps this whole post was best left “unsung.” Maybe so. But recently Kirsten reminded me that I, too, had been doing more self-censoring than I intended. Depression is rampant in our society and yet we do not talk about it. In the meantime, we get drug ads that convince people that “If you just took this pill you’d be fine.” Well, that is pure bullshit! “What is it about our society that is causing this level of depression?” is a far more important question in my mind than is designing some pill. But I’ll leave that battle alone for now in the interest of actually accomplishing something.