So, a lot has happened in 2013. I finished Dishonored . . .
I played the shit out of Borderlands 2 (including all 4 expansion packs--what a dork!). Personally, I like the Siren.
I published a lyrical essay in the Kartika Review
about the last days of my Japanese obāsan's life + her battle with dementia.
received my contributor's copies of my short story that was published in Fiction International
I defeated the final boss in Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was fucking hard, man!
the first time in my adult life, one of my two fave college football
teams was ranked #1 in graduation rates + #1 in the BCS at the end of
the regular season (before getting their ass kicked by Alabama). The
national championship game may not have been pretty, but I'm still crazy
proud of ND for going 12-0 against four ranked teams. I think this
augurs well for Brian Kelly + Irish fans.
I saw the Chagall mural that literally changed my life as a Chicago teenager (+ also heard the Smiths playing in my head)
experienced a real Winter for the first time in four fucking years.
Here's Zoe captivated (horrified) by Chicago's brutal wind chill
I flew back to LA for my thesis defense, hung out with some great friends + walked around Venice Beach (pictured)
I passed my thesis defense with flying colors (or so my committee chair said)
I turned 39, which really scared the fuck out of me, but at least both numbers are divisible by 3 (my fave number, dude)
I finished my dissertation
+ became a doctor!
finished playing Bioshock Infinite on both medium + hard levels (not
1999-I kept running out of $$$). And maybe, just maybe, I had a small
crush on Elizabeth. I also fucking loved the quantum mechanics
narrative at the end, which was brilliant.
So yes, by
all means, I've had a few seminal moments in my life since the beginning
of 2013, some of them huge, others simply fun + self-defining. But the
problem with getting your PhD (if getting a PhD can be
problem) is that you go from have a clear-cut path for 4-6 years (4 in
my case) with guaranteed funding, amazing conversations in + outside
seminar + a sense of purpose, you get to vaporize a shitload of
life-changing novels (which you can't really appreciate because you're
reading them too fast), evolve intellectually, work with some of the
best fiction writers + scholars in the whole damn world, live in a cool
(+ totally unsustainable) city like LA + exist in a perfectly linear
trajectory for all of grad school.
But now what? I
just went from one of the most pivotal moments in life ("I'm so
awesome!") to being unemployed ("I'm so sad!). I went from knowing exactly
wanted to do with my life to having no idea what I'm doing, from having enough cash
to buy so many books + posthipster clothes my heart could almost burst,
to being gradually poorer, from hoping for the best situation with
academic jobs to considering the crappiest comp jobs you could imagine
at the lowliest community colleges, just to get by. It's something you
don't wanna think about while you're pounding away on your dissertation
because you can't even think
straight when you have a soft deadline
for your thesis defense + a hard deadline for submitting your dissertation
to the Graduate School for formatting. But once you're done with all
that, you look around + you go: fuck, now
what do I do?
get me wrong. I'm an eternal optimist. I believe in people. I
believe in myself. I believe that good things will happen. I could get
a literary agent next week. My second novel could be accepted for
publication by an indie publisher next month. My collection of short
stories could be accepted for publication sometime in Autumn. I could
get an email for an interview for one of the many academic jobs I
applied to, like tomorrow. But the thing is, my life as an aspiring literary fiction writer +
professor-to-be is one big contingency plan, a perpetual
lesson in professional + existential uncertainty. Things can work out. I believe things will
work out. But right now, I have to say it