Friday, September 13, 2013


Somehow, the whimsical post of a cat on a Roomba in the dark has remained as the most prominent post on my blog for far too long. I just checked the date on it--I guess a month isn't too long, really, if you use an appropriate time scale like the age of the universe.

So, in August, I left my old job as Senior Writer at a university to become Director of External Affairs at a non-profit that is attempting to build a really big telescope. The transition was made over Labor Day Weekend. I didn't have the foresight to include time off in between, just as I didn't have the foresight to include even a day off between my Ph.D. and postdoc, and just as I didn't have the foresight to include time off between my postdoc and my writing job.

Something I noticed whilst ending my shower last night is that I no longer divide my life into a series of big events. Instead, experiences now flow one into another for me, almost in an unemotional way. I've been feeling unemotional lately. I can't quite figure out why. I'm not ambitious the way I was at, say, 25. I don't feel driven by any hidden forces. Life seems random, and that makes me random. I'm floating. Is it because I'm older and have a new view of the world? Why does so little excite me? Does that sadden you, reader?

Details of the new job: I have more responsibility and more fear and more money and more time, thanks to my commute time decreasing from 3 hours round trip to about 40 minutes. The extra time has meant that I come home before Peanut is fully awake form his nap after an afternoon with the dog walker. I get to open the door and catch him shaking himself out and sort of limp over to me instead of his usual race to greet me. I enjoy that. I've been working out. I've been cooking more. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to take French lessons, or ceramic classes, or cello lessons, or violin lessons, or piano lessons, or oboe lessons, or martial arts classes, which I started and then discontinued. Or I could focus on fiction again, which I'm sort of tempted to do. But really, my not writing had little to do with time availability and more to do with passion. In other words, I could take a class and also write.

Given my new job, I've been learning a lot more about telescopes and a little more about the universe. That is something that is exciting me. Really, I used to imagine space as nothing but blackness with little Christmas lights hanging about. I am looking forward to knowing much more about what's out there. And, hey, if we find an alien, I will be really proud.

I'm also amused by the idea that I came from a nanosystems institute looking at molecular switches to a telescope company looking at galaxies. If I survive this job, I should have a fine understanding of the scale of things, eh?

Look over to the right, I did finished reading two books, and they were thick books! I don't really promote either of them, but they also weren't bad.

What's Peanut eating? Lychee.


  1. Congratulations on the new job! More responsibility is generally a good thing, and a shorter commute is always a good thing.

    I found that after I left school for good, I had a short holdover period where I still thought of things in terms of sharp divides, but it faded in the working world where those are nor as frequent or regular. Since my kids were born, the last truly seismic event, there's just a flow of years that carry me along.

    I also very much go in cycles with the writing and not writing. It seems there's a strong inertia to both states.

  2. Thank you, Jabez! I'm enjoying the extra time for sure. That's interesting that you tie school to the sharp divides. I realize that one of the reasons I took the new job was because I needed to see what life was like outside of a university. I have spent so much of my life in schools.

  3. Congratulations! Wow, a 3 hour commute! Well, good for you for having more time.

    I know what you mean about not having divides anymore. I think my last divide was the vacation I took in 2011. I've always needed something to look forward to, otherwise, like you, I'm just living a life.

    But hey, go you. Galaxies, aliens, stars, hurtling asteroids. Sounds like fodder for a new story.

  4. Hi Robynne! I'm comforted to know that I'm not the only one who has lost my life's dividers! And you remind me that my last division was probably when I was living in France for 6 months. It was an emotional time in my life, and it was really good for me to get away from everyone.

  5. Adam and I have been watching all these universe/space documentaries on Netflix lately, and it's fascinating. The things I didn't know about black holes! The things I didn't know about stars! We're all just made out of stardust! So cool. Anyway, I'm excited about your new job, and I hope you keep us updated on how you're liking it.

    I do hope you keep writing, as well. My life is beginning to get to that divider-less stage, but not quite yet. I think having a kid makes it harder because her life is so full of divides that they seep into my space too. Is this just something that happens as we get older? Good question. All I know is that three years ago, losing a publisher like I just have would have brought me to my knees. Now that it has happened, I realize that I didn't even stumble. No divides. Just go with the flow. :)

  6. Congratulations on the new job!

    And Oh my God! I hear you!! I did the exact same thing- no time off between PhD and postdoc..And somewhere in between I fit in a [Exhausted much?] And I hear you about the floaty thing as well- though last week I convinced myself to feel ambitious again..:D

    ooh- space and all is exciting!!

    Your writing is lovely- so I hope you keep that up.

  7. I hope you love the giant telescope and that the giant telescope loves you. Big events might be overrated; I'm trying to have a much more even-keeled approach to life. I'm also trying to live without ambition or desire, aside from the desire to be a good human. That "good human" part is tricky, though. I'm trying to simplify it. I'll let you know how that goes.

    I hope you keep writing. Your writing is different from mine and is always full of surprise and delight. And sometimes violence, which is also okay in fiction. I am trying to figure out what fiction is for right now.