Ten Years Online: 2015
My writing perceptively shifts in 2015. Part of that is figuring out what to write about now that I am no longer a contingent faculty member (the main topic and lens for the majority of my posts). Part of it is that the writing wants to go somewhere else, but I have no idea where yet.
I see it in the first post of 2015, reflecting on being, once again, at the MLA. And then the second, thinking about critical faculty development, love, passion, affect. Not being on a 5/4 course load, not constantly worried about money, not having piles of papers to grade, not being in a toxic work environment frees up so much space in my head and in my heart that I am trying to figure out just who I am now. We love the city we now live in; we have friends, we have a social life outside of work, the kids are flourishing.
Sure, we had to make some painful sacrefices, but this was a good place for us. It was an excellent place for us.
Until it wasn’t.
I wrote a piece on reading that has been immortalized in a textbook. My nerd dreams come true and I am invited to join the ProfHacker team as a regular contributor, although my name and picture never appear on the side-bar, but at least I had a username and login for the site. I am learning how to be a faculty developer, and the growing pains of that are not always comfortable or productive.
And so, I go to a conference, an important one, to my mind, one that I keep coming back to, even fives years later. At #dlrn15, it was like my Twitter timeline come to life. I was told by someone that I was the person they knew the best whom they had never met. At least until that day. I loved that conference. I didn’t even know the impact, yet, of some of what I saw that day. I saw a presentation about Domain of One’s Own. And I saw a presentation on a new program, a Learning, Design, and Technology program at Georgetown.
I knew while I was at that conference, that I would soon be starting at UMW. Little more than a year after we moved, we were moving again. Things wouldn’t slow down, circumstances weren’t getting better, I was getting lost again, but as long as I kept moving, I couldn’t tell, not really, not yet.
On paper, professionally, it was a great year. I attended a week-long workshop for faculty developers, I taught a week-long workshop in digital pedagogy, I spoke at conferences, and I published an experimental piece on #FYCchat. EMiC ended. I found a willing publisher to publish my revised dissertation as a book.
When I started 2015, I had no idea that I would be ending it in a different state, in a different job. I had no idea it would be my last one blogging on IHE. I had no idea my son was going to break his arm, that I would be essentially homeless for the first few months of my job, living away from my family. 2015 was a surprise of a year, an unexpected year, an unsettling year. When I got the job at UMW, I got rid of almost all of my side-gigs, wanting to pour my whole self into this new and exciting job.
If there are less words, less things to say about this year, it is because it is still unsettled, not quite far enough away in the past. ADHD time makes this year stick to my brain. It also marks 20 years since another year that has stuck in my mind and in my heart for too long, and I start, as we finally have the space to unpack, to write that year out, to reconstruct it, to make meaning. This is the work that I start to do in 2015. It is not easy work. It is exhasting work.
It takes five more years of work before what I started in 2015 takes a shape of a memoir that maybe will see the light of day (aka bookshelves) soon. That book will have more about 2015, 2016, 2017, up to today. So if these retrospectives seem sparse, know it’s because I bled that wound already for it to start to heal, but the healing isn’t completely done yet.