brand new day

It’s the day after my 46th birthday and I’ve decided I need to motivate my writing, so I’m starting a blog. You see I’m on sabbatical and committed to write *something* by semester’s end.

My energies are scattered among various projects and ideas: knitting (a book about text and texture, or some such thing), biography (my mom’s letters to her mother-in-law), autobiography (my own tortured journals, letters, etc.), documentation (writing about stuff–how’s that for big and vague?), and writing about addiction (I’ve been reading lots of Anne Lamott and just started a book about Bill Wilson, who founded AA). My most recent prospectus is something on mom, but I wake up every morning and wonder what I should do.

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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6 Responses to brand new day

  1. Marj Hermansen-Eldard says:


    Anne Lamott, huh? One of my all time favorite writers! I have nearly every book she’s written and I use “Bird by Bird” religiously in nearly every class I teach!

    If you like Anne, I’m sure you’ve probably read Barbara Kingsolver…if not, here’s a list of her novels that I love:

    The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer.

    Gosh, I sure wish all I had to worry about was what I was going to write today…enjoy this time away from the rigors of academe!

    Take care, my friend!



  2. bjmcshane says:

    I know, I sound like a spoiled brat. Oh the torment!


  3. per says:

    Happy B-day sis!!

    I will post a quote that I keep taped at eye level in my office. Don’t be shocked, but it comes from a republican president. However this one, at least some assert, believed the federal government should be more involved in regulating the economy.

    “Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

    Calvin Coolidge
    born July 4th, 1872 – died January 5, 1933
    30th President, 1923–1929 (Republican)

    Ironically, Coolidge presided right before the Great Depression.




  4. bjmcshane says:

    Fascinating…especially the part about the “educated derelicts.” Persistence and determination do seem to rise above it all. Thanks Per!


  5. Chris Gesteland says:

    Happy b-day from me too!

    Ruminating on the woes of our society has me thinking about my place in the world. I know we have talked about the locus of control quite a bit lately – and as I talk with some of these kids at Glendale – I realize that the most poignant and powerful moments come in simple exchanges. As much as I want to reach out and save – I realize that my scope of influence is finite and fleeting. Anyway, I am finding that the brief exchanges give me great thinking material for the drive home. From a morning greeting or tearful problem sharing, I find myself generating the story behind the words. I wonder what the pieces of your journal might be like as a narrative from a number of characters? – the story derived from whatever thought you ascribed to paper?



  6. bjmcshane says:

    Yes. I was talking to someone recently about how when we’re young we think we can change the world and as we age we discover that our sphere of influence is smaller and smaller. That is, we realize that the only ones we can really influence are ourselves. It sucks, discovering our limitations. And yet, it’s empowering to know that we *can* influence at least one person = us. I like your story Chris…reminds me of my daily interactions with students. One thing this sabbatical is helping me do is remember how important those brief interchanges are. I need to pause and cherish them.

    And when I get up the guts to crack open another journal–the first one was a scary experience!–I’ll look into the “character” approach. Perhaps that would give the project a fictional quality, which might make the task less daunting?


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