This used to be a blog containing tales from a yearlong sabbatical, that concluded at the end of August 2012. Since that time, this has become a space of salvation, of remembering not to forget that which was learned during that time away… away… away from the irrelevant quotidian whose whispers swell into shouts if we let them. So I keep writing as a way to allow the sabbatical to continue — as an ethos, as a respite into which I can retreat momentarily at any moment, from any place.
When I was a freshman in high school, I had a teacher (Ms. V) who taught my 9th grade geometry class as well as basic and advanced computer science and French. She was also the faculty advisor for the programming competition – yes, there was such a thing and yes I was part of the Pascal programming team. Among the things I knew about Ms. V – other than that she was the first real live person who I knew who rode a motorcycle, that she has gotten a perfect score on her SATs (which, we later learned, she had taken well into or past her college career… but no matter), and that she had a wicked sense of humor which made it seem like she was always having just a little more fun than the rest of us (not entirely unlike Maggie Smith in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”) – was that she had taught (in what capacity, I cannot remember now) in France. This did not surprise me given her renaissance-like approach to teaching, much like her wide embrace of life writ large. But it was one story in particular that she told about this short period of time that has stayed with me. During her time in France, Ms. V had taken a sabbatical. I don’t remember exactly what we were learning at the moment, although it was very likely something on the order of the beautiful intricacies of geometry proofs, which I fell in love with almost instantly. More specifically, this sabbatical – even the word stopped me short as I had never before heard it uttered by anyone in my fourteen years prior to that moment, but her next phrase would cement this word in my mind forever – was spent in Paris. Ms. V had spent her sabbatical on the Seine. Even before I know where my life path may lead, long before I had any conception of graduate school, dissertations, and tenure, I knew I wanted to have a sabbatical on the Seine. To have my face glaze over with the mystery and soft wonder that took over Ms.V’s usually sharp features on that day when she told us about her sabbatical on the Seine – without me really knowing or being aware of it, this notion buried itself deep into my subconscious.
Now, over twenty years later, I find myself at the start of my own sabbatical. Post-grad school. Post-dissertation. Post-tenure. And although it won’t quite be spent on the Seine – apologies for the false build up! – I am determined to live it to the fullest and echo the verve that Ms. V exuded on a daily basis. And while I may not spend the entire time walking the streets of the city I think I was meant to inhabit, I’m also planning to touch the terre in Paris and walk along the Seine at some point during these next twelve months.
So now that the mystery of the name of this site has been somewhat cleared up, I hope you enjoy the tales, musings, and explorations I will report with some regularity – and write back should the spirit move you! There is something about writing and documenting that helps me to make real what can sometimes seem fleeting, unreal, gossamer in its existence. When August 2012 rolls around – much too quickly, I’m sure – I’m hoping to have a year of stories to look back upon and to keep moving me… forward, sideways, in spirals, or however the west wind blows…