I Am Alive!


Chicana activist at the University of Iowa (1970s).

Hello everyone! Yes, I am alive! And I’ve been ignoring my blogüita for way too long. That’s what happens when you return to campus from a research sabbatical: Teaching, service, and just getting through another semester become the primary forms of procrastination on your writing. Who’s got time to blog?!

I wanted to say thanks to the many readers who left me notes of encouragement and asked me where I was and to please come back.  One of the highlights  is this note from llasa001:

Don’t leave me alone out here like La Llorona’s ghost children, haunting the internet with late-night Google searches: “chicana phd,””chicana dissertationnnnnn??”. Come back, come back, and we will wreath you in roses or marigolds, whatever’s your thing. I know how to do Frida braids, even!

llasa001, you had me at “La Llorona”! Truly, thank you to everyone who wrote to me; each of these comments were much-needed, gentle pokes in the shoulder that said, “Hey, quit ignoring your blog.” Believe it or not, I was always listening, and now I’m back and recommitted to Daily Weekly [ahem] Yearly Chicana.

Life has been good. Teaching, my passion in life, keeps me very busy, especially since we teach more courses at my university than faculty do at other places. Recently, a grad school friend who just changed schools was complaining to me about his busy first semester teaching two classes. Two classes? See this? I am playing the world’s tiniest violin for him. I absolutely love my students, though, and find so much meaning in my line of work. Maybe it sounds corny, but the students teach me as much as I teach them, and it’s a privilege to work with them. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when they drive me crazy because of the in-class texting or on days when I’m trying to get them really excited about something and all they give me is deadpan faces and the sound of crickets. More often than not, though, most teaching days are absolutely great.

I am currently up for tenure and promotion, so much of this past summer and early part of fall was spent assembling all the required documentation for that process. The result was two fat binders filled with seven inches (fourteen pounds) of paper. Why so much? A large portion of the file was comprised of student evaluations, and because I often teach a large lecture course and my university only recently transitioned to electronic evaluations, I had to include each and every student comment page. For the record, I sincerely apologize to the many trees that sacrificed their lives for my tenure quest. In any case, so far it’s all good news on the tenure front, but I won’t have official word for a few more months.

My other exciting development is that I am engaged! Thus, wedding planning has recently moved to the front burner of the Stove of Procrastination. Just a couple of years ago, in the aftermath of my divorce, I publicly swore that I never would get married again. Forever. For reals. I was over it. Then I met the most amazing, generous, smart, funny, tall and handsome man…and what’s that saying about the word “never”? Something like, “Never say ____”? Hmm, I can’t seem to remember. Anyhoo,when he proposed, there was only one answer: Hellz, yeah! (Btw I may never live down my actual first response to the proposal: “Are you serious?!” which was uttered not sarcastically, but with happy incredulity.) We are getting married at the end of the year in his hometown, which is halfway across the world from where we currently reside. I never imagined I would be traveling to this country, let alone getting married there! But you never know what wonderful surprises life has in store for you.

What’s missing from this update? Oh yeah, my research and publications. They are happening, very slowly. S U P E R . . . S L O W . . . L Y. Right now I’m working my way back to a daily writing practice. I’ve just started reading Patricia Goodson’s Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing. Her book is based on the principle of “writing with POWER,” by which she means (1) writing that moves and inspires readers, and (2) taking control over your writing process. The central idea is that when you practice writing more deliberately and slowly, your brain creates more myelin (protection around the nerves), which then leads to stronger writing skills. She also addresses the importance of conceiving of yourself as a writer, for that’s what professors are, first and foremost: Writers.

When I say that I just started reading Becoming an Academic Writer, I mean very recently: I’m still on Exercise #1 of 50. Nevertheless, it’s working so far: The first exercise has given me a structure for finding time to write and–just as importantly–actually showing up for said writing time. Woo-hoo!

Which leads us back to this blog. I am working my way back to regular postings here. Again, the topics for the most part will center the following:

  • the rewards and challenges of writing and teaching in general field of Chicana/o Studies;
  • representations of Latina/os in the media; and
  • the trials and tribulations of being a Latina academic.

If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see addressed on the Daily Chicana, please leave a comment at any time. I’m listening, I promise.


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4 thoughts on “I Am Alive!

  1. YOU CAME BACK! I knew the candles would work. Thanks for the shout-out, and for the update. And congratulations on all the new developments! I also recently discovered Goodson’s text, and have read selected chapters that I plan to apply to my writing. . .once I too re-start my daily writing practice. At the time of my comment I was struggling with completing the prospectus. It has since been turned in and approved, and I have a skeleton of Chapter 1 of the diss.
    Would love to hear your thoughts on this article by Kelly Ward and Pamela Eddy in The Chronicle about the dynamics of the call for women to “lean in” to their careers in terms of women in academia.
    Look forward to hearing more about how your work is going–maybe in The Monthly Chicana? Or if you go by the Aztec calendar you can post every 20 weeks!

    • Thanks so much! Congratulations on getting the prospectus written and approved…and now you’re working on the diss itself–that is wonderful! Please update me as your work progresses.

      I’ll have to check out the article you mention. In the meantime, please keep the comments coming. They really brighten my day! :)

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