Friday, June 27, 2003

5:34, and I feel like I’m really too drunk to enjoy the possibility that I stayed up all night having conversations within conversations with Sean from Cali, Doug from NY and Dave from Canada, eh? Or that I was truly capable of contributing to such conversations about topics that really are important to me. The sun rising outside my window reminds me that once this experience is over, the cycles of this world will continue, years after I’ve said goodbye to the friends and colleagues that have sharpened me and my intellect here.

Living in this dorm brings to mind living in Central/Eastern Europe: at random times throughout the day, the electricity and water are cut off with no explanation. I remember scheduling my showers in L’viv under such conditions, not knowing if I would indeed be able to wash the shampoo from my hair--before I finally shaved it all off, that is.

I’ve liked--for the most part--the interactions I’ve had with my fellow Slavists at this program. Despite the numerous inferiority complexes that sprout like mushrooms each morning, I (for the past few days) have actually been able to converse with fellow scholars and academics about life from my own perspective without (I hope) sounding too provincial or common. My fear, of course, is that I will be exposed as some kind of hack—a fear I remember quite vividly from the time I was at the autobiography conference in Beijing in 1999. My class background is always there to remind me that perhaps I have in several ways managed to deny (though to ultimately be fair, move beyond the limitations of) my socio-economic station into which I was born.

Monday, June 9, 2003

Since joining the working poor five weeks ago, I've been anxiously awaiting today when I would finally be able to return to my music, studies, writing, and my life. As if being a product of America's public education system didn't already tarnish my mind, serving an inner city elementary school as a teacher for the past five weeks certainly did away with any ideal notions about how this country educates its (poorer) citizens. I did what I could do, and now I will move on/beyond. So help me . . . .

This Sunday it's "All aboard!" for me: I'll board the Amtrak Texas Eagle at 16:30 in Dallas and arrive Monday in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois, where I'll participate in the Summer Research Laboratory on Russia & Eastern Europe at the University of Illinois from June 16 - 30. During this time, I'll be attending seminars, lectures and conferences as well as developing a project that I hope to get published this autumn. Afterwards, Stephen and I will meet up and spend a week's vacation in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Upon my return to Texas, I'll be in high gear, working nonstop on the next big phase. So help me . . . .