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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2003 - 1:11 p.m.

It’s been a bad week for the online writing, but the lull has been necessary. Sometimes, it’s turning out, the journal is counterproductive. I don’t want to bore everyone for too many consecutive days…I want to relate funny incidents instead of investigating why I’m grumpy and confused…and sometimes things need to stew prelinguistically, unannounced until they attain solid form in my head. It’s been a week of stew.

Mmm…Prelinguistic Stew.

The decisions that have been murking around wordlessly in this case are related to My Future. Sometime in the past month I finally stopped stressing out about what to do with myself. And as soon as I gave up, the murk started turning out answers. You really do like this school stuff, Eva, even in the midst of another shitty semester, it said. You want to submit an abstract for that pragmatics conference, don’t you. Linguistics isn’t just an incidental field, one of many you could have nerdily stumbled into…you have a specific passion for it, and you want to keep doing it. If you get a research professorship somewhere, you won’t have to teach English 101 over and over again – you can teach linguistics and write papers. All these thoughts finally shoved aside all the other head muck and presented themselves like wiggling little Golden Retriever puppies, real and new and in need of immediate attention. Holy shit, I just had babies. They will be around for a long time.

The mumblings were also confirmed yesterday when, giving up for the moment on earnest discussions of things like Gender and War, I declared a Linguistics Day in my classes. I was jumping around the room as I talked, so excited, able for once to answer all their questions with satisfying answers, furiously writing on the board. Students from both classes emailed me afterwards to say how much they’d enjoyed the discussions. I love linguistics, and I can teach it. So I’m going to.

Also, I finally am getting over this particular complex I have about finishing projects and actually enjoying the process of scholarship. Before my thesis, I’d never liked research – certainly that told me I wouldn’t be happy in academia forever. But I’ve finally got things of my own to say, and it makes all the difference in reading other people’s work. And I seem to have finally gotten it through my head that I finished my thesis AND did a good job on it. I can pull this off. I usually think of myself as smart but not driven, interested in lots of things but not for long enough to finish them. That’s turning out to be untrue.

Exhilarating as this is, it brings up a whole new bucket of problems. All of a sudden I’m not certain I’ll leave L someday – maybe we’ll stay together. But he just bought a house. And I have to go get a PhD somewhere big and intimidating. I’ve always intended to leave this place, but now it’s real and definite…and at the same time there’s something else real and definite between L and me, something I don’t know how to write about here. So that conversation is hesitantly moving closer. We hint at it, mention it briefly and then immediately change the subject. I told him last night about all this stuff I’ve figured out. Ack.

That’s enough introspection for one day. I am typing this with a squishy, henna-filled bag on my head. I’ve been thinking of letting my natural gray (I believe it’s euphemistically called “ash brown”) hair grow out, but I have to dye it this one last time for my Halloween costume. L and I decided to dress up as our friends M and D. This will involve, on my part, a Kiss T-shirt, Keds, and curly red hair. L will wear a fake blond beard, glasses…and somehow we’ll get his hair to look blond. We will both drink a lot of (ew) Miller Light. It’s not the most fabulous idea ever, but it’s all we’ve got.

And I’m listening to the brand new Shins record. Everything’s new today. Also, the sun is coming out. Also, the cat is impersonating a fluffy gray circle on my lap. So things are generally very good.

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