I passed my exams. Hooray!
For me, the exciting part is that I get to go back to writing. I got into this whole grad school thing for the writing. I enjoy the teaching. I like the reading. Seminar classes are fun. But I love the writing. From the research to the bibliography to the blank stare I give the laptop monitor, the writing is what keeps me going. With exams done I look ahead at two more mountains to climb and they are both writing mountains.
First, their is the smaller peak–the dissertation proposal. I’ve been thinking through this project since my M.A. thesis and now I’m finally to the point where I can begin to think through and write down what I really want to do in this dissertation. I’ve written a half-dozen or so seminar papers that are sort of first drafts for future dissertation chapters, but the proposal is a chance to finally think big picture. I can’t wait.
The second mountain, the dissertation itself, is taller, steeper, and I imagine it having a dark cloud and lightning bolts at the top. It’s still off in the distance a ways. I can’t see the top of it–it is hidden by that cloud with the lightning–but I can see it standing tall behind the peak of the proposal. I think it’s best not to stare at it too long or else I might lose my way on the climb up the proposal.
So, now that I’m done with all the reading and examining it is also time to get back to writing not related to school. I’m now writing for three blogs. First, I’m still doing a weekly review of religion over at Religion Dispatches. Second, I’ll be writing more contributions over at Religion in American History. Lastly, I’m now a contributing-scholar for a new blog for emerging scholars called State of Formation. I’ve written two posts for State of Formation. The first post argued that we need to be aware of the ways we construct the term religion. The second post was an attempt to think through the question of what makes religious practice authentic. I’ll post excerpts and links to other blog posts and articles on this blog as they appear on the inter-webs and I might even get around to writing something original for this blog.
I have to say it again. After all that reading, I’m so glad to be writing again.
(Somebody keep this post handy when I’m halfway through a chapter of the dissertation and ready to quit it all and go to brewery school.)