Perhaps I will not keep this post up for very long. It may not be of any great interest to anyone else but since I have not contributed anything at all in some time, I thought I could at least contribute this.
I am between classes. Later this month I will begin to teach again (more's the pity) and I will have less time for frivolity (if you call endless laundry frivolity). I also am not engaged in any writing or in any preparations for conferences or presentations. Truth be told, I'm not at all sure what to do with myself although I'm sure there are a few people on Quaker Quaker blogs and forums who would dearly love to tell me!
It is increasingly clear to me that I am in a period of germination and only hope that I have fallen on good soil. Following a very clear path throughout my life from childhood until my recent completion of my terminal degree (which feels as ominous as that sounds), I find that I no longer truly know what I want to be when I grow up. It reminds me of our dog who was so chagrined when he actually caught the cat and discovered that it had claws.
On the plus side of my own growing meandering pointlessness as a human being, I have been able to spend some time with some readings that would otherwise be left neglected. I pick them up much as someone might in a waiting room. While I exercise, I read the Friends Journal dedicated to marriage and relationships from cover to cover including a good portion of the advertisements (many of which indicated to me that the Friends seriously need to reevaluate what they mean when they speak of simplicity and equality!) When I completed that journal, I brought in my copy of Woolman's Journal and am working through that. Within the same volume following Woolman's Journal is Penn's. Losing weight with weighty Friends! You can keep your yoga.
This week I completed a biography of Lucretia Mott and reviewed some of my earlier notes on her ministry. I began reading the college library's copy of the biography on Martha Coffin Wright and ordered my own copy (something I ought to have done much earlier given the biographers' and their subject's close connections to my own community and research).
Last night and early this morning I made it 100 pages into the Journal of Elias Hicks (who writes, as C.S. Lewis might say, "in the grand style of the Calormenes" and was therefore simultaneously dull beyond belief and hilarious) and then setting that aside, I began reading the letters of Paul and Amicus just predating the Hicksite schism. I'm 145 pages into that volume which infuriates and fascinates in turn. Did you know the darn thing is over 500 pages long?!!! Sheesh.
I launched into Barclay a long time hence but did not make it much past the introduction. Perhaps I am not ready for it. I have also noticed that I have a shelf full of John Fiske's work (1899) including comments on the Friends. Perhaps I'll check that out too now that I've noticed it. Still, I have multiple articles saved from academic journals to my computer that I have yet to read. There is no shortage of material.
There is very little organization in my reading program. In fact, it isn't programmatic at all. I read what I have on hand. I like to reread favorite volumes and intersperse my old favorites with new materials. I'm also reading other things too and will certainly be adding biblical studies, ancient history, feminist theory, art history, and African American history to my piles of books in progress as the semester picks up again. One never knows what marvelous connections will be made by not having a plan. I like to think of it as a process of grafting or hybrid-breeding. Or serendipity.
I do like to know what other people are reading and about what they are thinking so if you have a mind to, let me know. I'm pretty much just lurching and lurking about these days and hunger for connections. A casual comment can ignite a passion. One never knows when that will happen.
So anyway, here I am. Doing my thing, whatever that is. I am not writing. I am not teaching. I am just reading. And waiting.