I spent most of today on the interstate driving from Louisiana to Georgia so I could spend Mother’s Day weekend with my mama, Big Suz. I love road tripping with Richard because I enjoy his company and having someone to talk to, but I don’t much mind road tripping alone because it gives me a chance to catch up on podcasts. Today, I listened to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text almost the entire way. I have been rereading the series to stay ahead of the podcasts; I am currently reading the sixth book (Half-Blood Prince) and listening to episodes from the fifth book (Order of the Phoenix). As usual, Casper and Vanessa (the hosts) had plenty of great things to say, but one thing that struck me in particular was something Vanessa said in the episode on Chapter 10, “Luna Lovegood,” through the theme of humility. (The relevant quote is below, but the full transcript of the episode is here.)
It would be really great of me to become
obsessed with how to be a great ally in conversations about race. I care about that, but I have not gotten obsessed by it and read six books about it. And instead, what I do is wait to be inspired into obsession, when really I should be choosing my obsessions. I’m so good at being obsessive; why not direct that power? I saw A Star is Born and within six hours, I read two articles and listened to two podcast episodes about it. I should do that with things I care about but that aren’t necessarily, like, as shiny.
As Vanessa describes herself, I am also quick to become obsessed with things. After The Drive-By Truckers released “The Wig He Made Her Wear,” I wanted to know all about Mary Winkler, so I read news stories and ordered The Pastor’s Wife by Diane Fanning. (I didn’t stay interested long enough to watch the movie.) Last year after I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, I wanted to know more about the OKC bombing and decided to order a book about it from Amazon. After some internet research, I finally settled on The Unfinished Bombing by Edward Linenthal, but I still haven’t finished it. Earlier this year, I wanted to know more about Hurricane Katrina after facilitating at The Journey. I read articles, looked at pictures, and read an eBook, but other than making a small donation to the Ninth Ward museum, I’ve failed to do anything that might actually create some change or help New Orleans heal. (Yeah, New Orleans still hasn’t fully recovered.)
I have been part of numerous conversations this year about interests, passions, and dissertation topics as well as how all of those things can (and many believe should) overlap. I’m now two semesters into the doctoral journey, and what I thought I’d like to write my dissertation on has already shifted slightly, which I don’t think is a bad thing. Multiple people told me this would probably happen, and I think I’m shifting toward things that aren’t (to put it as Vanessa did) “as shiny” but are important. I certainly have the obsessive piece down, and while my fanaticism can be irritating at times, when it comes to a task like a dissertation, I think it’s definitely a positive thing. So, I’m going to work on channeling my obsessions toward something meaningful for me professionally. I recognize that I’m already dedicating a lot of time and energy to studying, and plenty of my time goes to training for and running races, but Vanessa really inspired me to carefully choose the other things I dedicate large chunks of time to and to follow through once I do find myself dedicating time to new obsessions. It was a good message to hear on this rainy Thursday.
Something that made today great: Gas station snacks! Coffee, Diet Mountain Dew, and candy bars...yum!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am