Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh hello, lonely bloggy.

This blog is unkempt for many reasons, but I believe the main one is that I am not sure for whom it exists. It's not exactly public because nobody reads it unless I wave my hands around on facebook and sort of awkwardly announce that I've done it, I've written something on my blog. Neither is it exactly private because I keep hoping someone will want to be my blog friend, and we'll write wonderful long posts with the awareness that the other person is reading, and be inspired by each other's work and talk about deep and important things. Therefore I haven't set it to private so I can get down to the business of writing lots of personal stuff, therefore I'm too scared to actually write anything, therefore I don't, therefore nobody reads my blog. So Facebook ends up devouring most of my genius because I know exactly who is going to read what I write there: everybody. Oh well.

Various things that have happened since last she wrote:

* A child was born. Not unto my husband and me, but unto my husband's sister, CA, who is my beloved friend and our matchmaker. The baby's name is Lincoln, and true to the Paul Simon chanson, he was born in the boredom and the chowder; that is, he was born in the heavy, sweet, Maine summer on the most auspicious date of July 7. We spent a week or so cupping him firmly to our chests and hogging him before we had to get back to Indiana. Now we yearn to see our nephew at Christmas. We talk to CA on the phone of course but it is hard to communicate with a baby that way.

*Before that happened, we finished a year as teachers in a lovely rag-tag little school which I am tired of explaining. After that happened, we started another year. It appears we won't be as sad and tired this year, Lord willing, since we're only teaching five classes each and not seven. I'm very excited about all of my classes; in fact I'm almost too excited, because I'm tempted to do a lot of my own study in all of these areas. If I were teaching three or four classes rather than five, the six hours I spent last night (a Friday!) reading Euler's Elements of Algebra and criticism of it would be time well spent, because maybe I could continue to go into it deeply enough to do something about it in my Pre-Algebra class. But really, I could do that with any of the classes I'm teaching, and at any given time I might be listing towards doing that with one or the other. Perhaps I should devote my creative energy to the Art curriculum, as that is the least structured and developed. My freedom to choose and create my curriculum is almost unlimited, and it is an exercise in patience to sternly impose boundaries on myself. 

*Oh, I've read several books. A conversation with a fellow student of iconography one night at the monastery prompted me to check out The Life and Works of Father Seraphim Rose from the church library, and I devoured it like a Harry Potter novel. It seems to me that a lot of Orthodox converts dismiss him once they've gotten to the "being annoyed with other, newer converts" stage, which is where one usually is possessed with the zeal (perhaps not the strength) to do something like read all of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood Press's Elders of Optina series. But I, on the other hand, have triumphantly progressed to the NEXT stage of convert zeal where I say, "No! Don't make fun of stage 1! Instead, become irritated with the second stage of convert zeal and defend stage 1!" I'm not sure what stage 4 is. But anyway I'm tired of tiptoeing around, not getting excited about anything because only new converts do that. I'm excited about many things that Fr. Seraphim Rose said, one of which is the importance of reading the Lives of the Saints. I promptly read the Life of New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia and it was awesome. I have started the Life of Father Leonid of Optina and it is less interesting but I'm going to try to finish it.

I'm also under the spell of Sigrid Undset's quartet, The Master of Hestviken.

*I've gotten in several Facebook debates and certainly alienated some people. It weighs quite heavily on me and I think much evil has come of it, but I also believe I've learned a lot from these conversations. Mostly they occur because I'm irritated with the dang certainty with which everyone states their beliefs as fact, whether I agree with them or not. So it's made me a bit more careful about when I'm stating what I believe to be a fact, when I'm making a judgement based on my faith or other biases, and when I'm speculating. But no matter how careful one is about clarifying in which way one is speaking, if the idea proposed is odious to someone else, one is sure to get an earful. But I am usually drawn into some kind of argument and  I end up having much to apologize for.

*Nothing much else that needs to be recorded. I just wanted to check in and feel comfortable with popping in next time I had something interesting to think about in front of a vague audience.