Monday, January 25, 2010

Tying it all together

Last May I was standing in my box-strewn 1940s studio apartment and looking at the wavy fan of delicate green that is the Japanese maple outside my window, when I was seized by the conviction that the various chapters of my life were somehow beginning to converge.

This may have come from having just moved into a new neighborhood a few days earlier. At ground level Goose Hollow is leafy, mossy, and certain streets look like the nicer sections of Northern California around the Bay Area. I was born in NorCal, have my earliest memories from there, and it's where my family often vacationed when I was growing up in Nevada.

This sense of coming together almost certainly also stemmed from a friend from 2-63 Armor having contacted me a few months prior. He ended up introducing me to Facebook and and putting me in touch with all kinds of people from old platoon in Germany.

Then there is the fact that this took place the day after learning of my WotF win. For the first time in over a decade of writing, there was a major success that drew on all of the lessons learned across that time span.

Interestingly enough, there have been more of these moments since then: Intrusions of certainty that elements and experiences from separate periods are integrating into an altogether new life.

This continuation could be the result of being in school again. Or the might also come from the intensified focus on writing as well as trying to get back into reading science fiction after a nearly fifteen-year hiatus.

Scanning photo slides from my childhood into digital format is a no-brainer source, I suppose.

My academic work is certainly helping to drive this feeling of chapters coming together. Not only is it revisiting places I've been and events I took part in, but learning the history of the Pacific Northwest feels very much like tying the past into the future for me. Whenever I'm on the road or rails, I still get that sense that this is where I'm meant to be.

As far as that future goes, however, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what comes after school. It's only eight months away, after all.

Part of me wants to look for "safe" but boring work as an analyst or government office drone so that I will have financial security. Another part desires to take a significant risk and continue on academically as a means of finding employment as a historian in some capacity.

That is a chancy path as there are typically a dozen-or-more well-educated people fighting for each of those jobs.

As always writing is a priority, but even if things continue to go well it will likely take several more years before I can make a living off it. Science fiction is a poorly paid genre, and I would likely need to crank out some half-way successful fantasy novels to be well off.

Still, it's good to be riding this train of serendipity, and I'm curious where it will take me next. Right now it feels like the oftener I choose to risk, the more I am rewarded.

So, as an expression of convergence, here is my favorite Portland band in South Korea, as filmed by some enthusiastic Korean fans. It's rather cute, especially the serious if off-key singalong taking place in the second video.

(My high school chemistry and biology teacher added me as a friend on Facebook while I was working on this entry. One more level of convergence I suppose.)

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