Lessons Learned & Random Ramblings

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When inspiration strikes… December 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 12:06 am

For months now I’ve been trying to send a message to the universe: Pretty please send me something inspiring to write about…

For most of my life I have wanted to be a writer — and a baseball playing princess. The reality is that in many ways I am a writer. I teach writing and women’s studies, I do freelance projects, I blog about things that interest me, I jot down random thoughts in my planner, on post-it notes, on the back of receipts. I am a writer.

However, I have a dream about publishing something significant. I picture myself being asked to do a book signing at my alma mater or at one of the colleges where I teach. I daydream about what could happen. I spend rather ridiculous amounts of time trying to decide who I would thank, what my dedication would be. I imagine walking through the library or the bookstore and seeing my book there.

In order to accomplish this I’ve been searching for inspiration. I’ve asked the universe for an idea, a sign, a really great conversation starter….so far, nothing. But today that changed. I went to lunch with my friend Shane – we were sharing funny stories and as I was laughing about a story we have retold dozens of times I said to him “How did I get here? When did it all come together? How did I become a writing & women’s studies professor? How did I get lucky enough to be & do what I love?”

Years and years ago (more than a decade!) I wrote a very brief sort of quasi-memoir. It was on a lark – a combination of thoughts and stories – some about me and some about people I knew and things I’d seen. I was going through a break-up, living on my own, going out way too often with friends and I amused myself by putting my memories – both good and bad in writing. I am pretty sure Shane is the only one who bothered to read it. He probably has the only copy (if he kept it!) because I definitely don’t have it anymore. Anyways, today as we joked he said to me: “why don’t you write about how you got here?”. He suggested I rewrite about some of the stories of the past and add things that had happened since – but with an updated view, a new perspective – that of a women’s studies professor/feminist. It was like lightning struck. Why don’t I write about that?

I am a teacher. I am a mentor. I am an educator. I am a writer. I am a wife, sister, daughter, friend.  I will soon be an aunt. I am a reader, photographer, yogi, pedicure-lover. Hopefully someday (soon!) I will be a mother. I am a democrat, an ally, an activist, a liberal. I am a feminist. I am not completely sure when I knew that this is where I wanted to be or who I wanted to be but the road to now has been pretty damn incredible. It has been funny and sad, scary and exhilarating, loud and quiet, calm and chaotic. My life has been full of contradictions, it has been entertaining, it has been an adventure. I somehow got here – to the place that I believe I am meant to be – and I am fairly certain that the journey may make other people feel something too – perhaps it will make others laugh and cry, reflect on their own lives and dream about what possibilities come next.

So, I am putting it out there. I am going to try to capture this inspiration – like lightning in a bottle.

According to the silly blog statistics on this site I have about nine readers a day – remarkable considering I don’t post everyday (sometimes I don’t even post every week or every month) and I don’t even think I have shared my link with nine people. It may seem like a small number to most people but from my perspective it means that it is very likely that nine people a day that I don’t know read my words. They hopefully like something that I say because in theory it appears that they come back more than once. Impressive, right?

I am going to make myself accountable to you nine people a day out there and tell you that I plan to write about how I got here – not on this blog, but in an actual book-like draft format. Hopefully I’ll provide blog updates for those of you who are paying attention. Hopefully I will finish a draft at some point in the future and then I’ll figure out what comes next. I am not yet sure exactly what it will look like but I imagine it as a compilation of short stories, of lessons learned, of experiences – both my own and those of the people I know. I picture it as being mostly funny but probably touching at times too. I think it may at times be a bit of an entertaining cautionary tale – a do’s and don’ts of sorts! I believe it can be both hopeful and inspiring. Perhaps I’ll title it something like this: How I Got Here – Becoming a Liberal Feminist & Loving My Life — or some variation on the theme!

Please wish me luck!

p.s. Title suggestions/random thoughts on the topic(s) are more than welcome!

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Making history….UConn Women’s Basketball December 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 2:50 pm

I am pretty sure that most of the state of Connecticut was glued to their television last night. I personally could wait to watch the UConn Women’s Basketball team make history. National coverage on ESPN – bumping a previously scheduled men’s basketball game – is nothing to sneeze at!

How incredible are the UConn Huskies? 89 straight wins – an NCAA Basketball record. Pretty damn amazing. It is so frustrating to me that critics insist on diminishing their accomplishment instead of giving them the credit that they so richly deserve. I am just fine with the argument that the women’s record should speak for itself as should the UCLA record. I am ok with the argument that you shouldn’t necessarily compare the two. I am NOT ok with dismissing what the women have accomplished as part of the argument against giving them sole credit for the record.

As far as I am concerned if a group of people can win 89 croquet matches in a row – nearly half against “ranked” opponents – they deserve to be recognized for the accomplishment. Croquet, checkers (as Jim Calhoun mentioned), swim meets, tennis matches, basketball games — each of them would be remarkable.

If Greg Wooden, John Wooden’s grandson, could attend the game and talk about how much his grandfather would have loved to see what the UConn women accomplished why should anyone have the right to dismiss or diminish what they have done – the legacy they have built? In a great article on the EPSN website Greg Wooden even discusses how much his grandfather loved the UConn women’s game and their emphasis on teamwork. It is well worth checking out the link and reading the rest of Wooden’s comments.

This UConn team has not only won 89 straight games – they have won in spite of injuries, in spite of those rooting against them and in the never-ending national spotlight composed of equal parts supporters and detractors. They have won all of this season’s game with three starting freshman. They have won for three straight years without scandal. In the current college sports climate there is a new story daily on the ESPN bottom line about players taking inappropriate benefits, coaches breaking NCAA rules about recruitment, college students behaving like idiots – none of that happens to this team. Not only are they incredible basketball players but they are also talented students and most importantly good people. They are women that deserve respect, not criticism, and I hope that as they continue to make history that is what they get.