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turtles on Jamaica Pond (May 2014)

turtles on Jamaica Pond (May 2014)

Here in Massachusetts we’re looking forward to a three-day weekend in honor of some exploitative white explorers, some indigenous first peoples, and of course small, swift boats on the Charles.

Our plans include a lot of napping and reading. Maybe some long walks, used bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops.

In the meantime, here are some things I’d like to write blog posts about at some point:

1. I’ve been reading sociology books on home education lately — Kingdom of Children and Home is Where the School Is — and would like to write a post about unschooling at work (what does it look like to bring the values and structures of the unschooling ethos into a workplace?) and unschooling at adulthood (can you have a family that practices “unschooling” when you’re not raising kids? spoiler: I think you can).

2. What do we mean when we use the word “professional” (as in, “that was so unprofessional!”). I’m really coming to hate how its deployed as a variation of tone policing. Hanna says we should call it a “weasel word … except that would be maligning weasels.” So what do we mean? Are we speaking of assumed share language and areas of expertise? Upper-middle-class white behavior? No inkling of a personal life? No anger, joy, or sadness? No messy, inconvenient bodies? I think we all mean different things, and I think — particularly as word-centric information workers we should start using words with more care and specificity instead of just using the professional / unprofessional code.

3. On a related note, labor, the professions, and unionizing. In some recent discussions I’ve been peripherally involved it, I’ve noticed that “professional” labor gets juxtaposed with “unionized” labor (the para- or non-professional staff) in some library spaces. As someone whose been thinking a lot about the unionization of “creative class” workers lately (i.e. adjunct faculty) I wonder about the history and utility of that division, and whether professional organizations might serve their members better, in these days of contingent work, if they evolved to be more like unions in some respects.

4. Has anyone written a manual for how to get involved in one’s neighborhood as a quiet person (aka introvert)? Because holy rabbits I haven’t the spoons right now. I keep reading about gentrification and anti-racism and how to become an integrated part of one’s community but, seriously, most days I can barely muster the energy to say “hi” to the couple who share our back porch and smile at the neighbor out walking his dog. The idea of using precious weekend hours, when Hanna and I mostly want to curl up together in blessed silence to read a stack of books or doze, to attend church, participate in a rally, take notes at a community meeting — I just … can’t. Right now. And I’m not sure how to think/act ethically about my place in the community in light of that pretty indelible part of who I am.

5. Writing for myself, writing for others. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the various types of writing (and, relatedly) reading I do. How important is it for me to share that writing, or thoughts about reading with others? What kinds of writing feels private and self-sustaining versus public and in danger of withering for want of others’ engagement? What kind of writing / reading is most fulfilling for me right now, at this point in my life, and where can I do that kind of writing / reading?

Hope all of you have a restorative weekend, no matter its length or purpose.

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