The return trip

It is time to reflect, and I am shattered. 2014 has been a very long year for me. This particular chapter in my odyssey has been filled with pitfalls. It has, though, been a good year.

I was just re-reading some old posts – there have only been three in the past 13 months. Read together they are poignant though. They mark a realisation, a turning point, and a resolution to return to where I want to be. And I am getting there, despite debilitating chronic pain for the past five months and other distractions along the way.

In April, I visited friends and colleagues in New Mexico and in Texas. I made new friends, gained fresh insights into old ideas, and refuelled for the onward journey. In June, I spent some time at home with family and friends, seeking the wisdom of mentors, and revisiting places of meaning. By July an article we had been working on for four years was finally published – for me, it put that into the past so I could focus on the present. Another article followed in November – this time, one that hadn’t taken as long, but one that marked new beginnings. And in the same week, we heard that we’d been awarded the funding to commence those new beginnings. This, more than anything else, signalled that I am back on track, heading in the right direction. Meanwhile something that had begun as nothing more than an exercise in engaging with bureaucracy, became a creative project that should flourish in the future with prospects for new chapters.

So I think I am almost back to where I want to be. Yet I have changed. Not unlike Odysseus, I am unrecognisable; I am no longer who I was. Through my struggles along the way, I have learned, grown, become; but I am not home. There will be many more chapters in my odyssey; which bodes well for this blog. I won’t promise to blog more often, or write anything in particular. I simply find myself in a place where I once again have some motivation and some interesting ideas.

And so 2015 has yet more interesting things in store for me, with a few unexpected ones likely to emerge. We’ve a couple of book chapters due out next year. There will be a couple of conference papers, a handful of papers submitted to journals, reworks on papers in review, and some short stories I’ve been tinkering with. Besides those writing projects, I’ll be penning a book proposal based on my last ethnography. And there will no doubt be some intriguing discussions with my research students about what they’ll be writing. Best of all though, there will be new forays into the field with the new research grant.

This is all well and good, Tim, but what about the Toolsetter’s Son project?

Well, it remains stop-start. I’ve been enrolled in a series of monthly writing classes, through which I’ve realised that I am already equipped to write the book, and that the classes are just another form of procrastination. Though my main issue has been my health. With that now improving, and some changes in my life, I’ve carved out a little time and space for the book. It will undoubtedly linger on, but perhaps if I’ve a couple of coherent chapters by the end of next year, I’ll send them off to a publisher.